Can I have a pet turtle duck?


  • Naomi Lester University of Leicester


TV programme, Biology, Genetics, Turtle Ducks, Avatar, The Last Airbender


In the TV show Avatar: the Last Airbender, the turtle ducks are one of the fantastical creatures introduced. Through combining genes from mallards, Anas platyrhynchos, and green sea turtles, Chelonia mydas, it may be possible to produce an animal that looks similar. This article explores what additional research might be needed before a real turtle duck exists.


Welch Ehasz, E. (2006) Zuko Alone, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Season 2, Episode 7. [TV episode]. Nickelodeon Animation Studio. First broadcast May 12th 2006.

Vandermeulen, J. (2008) Female Mallard, All About Birds. Macaulay Library. Online photograph. Available at: [Accessed: 18th January 2024].

Asman, P. & Lenoble, J. (2010) Green Turtle Chelonia mydas. Online photograph. Available at: [Accessed: 30th March 2024].

Lavretsky, P., Hernandez, F., Swale, T. & Mohl, J.E. (2023) Chromosomal-level reference genome of a wild North American mallard (Anas platyrhynchos). G3: Genes Genomes Genetics, vol. 13, pp. jkad171. DOI: 10.1093/g3journal/jkad171

Fukuda, T., Eitsuka, T., Donai, K., Kurita, M., Saito, T., Okamoto, H., Kinoshita, K., Katayama, M., Nitto, H., Uchida, T., Onuma, M., Sone, H., Inoue-Murayama, M. & Kiyono, T. (2018) Expression of human mutant cyclin dependent kinase 4, Cyclin D and telomerase extends the life span but does not immortalize fibroblasts derived from loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), Scientific reports, vol. 8, pp. 9229. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-27271-x

Wang, Z., Pascual-Anaya, J., Zadissa, A., Li, W., Niimura, Y., Huang, Z., Li, C., White, S., Xiong, Z., Fang, D. & Wang, B. (2013) The draft genomes of soft-shell turtle and green sea turtle yield insights into the development and evolution of the turtle-specific body plan, Nature genetics, vol. 45, pp. 701-706. DOI: 10.1038/ng.2615

Gilbert, S.F., Loredo, G.A., Brukman, A. & Burke, A.C. (2001) Morphogenesis of the turtle shell: the development of a novel structure in tetrapod evolution, Evolution and Development, vol. 3, pp. 47-58. DOI: 10.1046/j.1525-142x.2001.003002047.x

Vincent, C., Bontoux, M., Le Douarin, N.M., Pieau, C. & Monsoro-Burg, A.H. (2003) Msx genes are expressed in the carapacial ridge of turtle shell: a study of the European pond turtle Emys orbicularis, Development Genes and Evolution, vol. 213, pp. 464-469. DOI: 10.1007/s00427-003-0347-3

Nagashima, H., Shibata, M., Taniguchi, M., Ueno, S., Kamezaki, N. & Sato, N. (2014) Comparative study of the shell development of hard-and soft-shelled turtles, Journal of Anatomy, vol. 225, pp. 60-70. DOI: 10.1111/joa.12189

Hirasawa, T., Nagashima, H. & Kuratani, S. (2013) The endoskeletal origin of the turtle carapace, Nature Communications, vol. 4, pp. 2107. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3107




How to Cite

Lester, N. (2024). Can I have a pet turtle duck?. Journal of Interdisciplinary Science Topics, 11. Retrieved from