A rare two-headed turtle is alive and thriving, surprising scientists

Photo Credit: PopSci

A diamondback terrapin turtle hatched a couple weeks ago with two heads, a condition called bicephaly. The two-skulled, six-legged reptile was brought into a Massachusetts wildlife center, and while it currently seems healthy, veterinarians are continuing to closely monitor its health.

The hatchling looks like a pair of conjoined twins, with two independently moving heads poking out of its green shell. When the turtle splashes around in water, each skull comes up at different times to breathe, and each head controls its own set of three legs. X-rays also show that hidden inside the shell are two distinct gastrointestinal tracts—though they partially share a spine. The Birdsey Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, MA, has a terrapin program, so the two-headed reptile was brought in on September 22, shortly after hatching at a protected terrapin nesting site in Barnstable.

The Center introduced the little guy in a recent Facebook post.

“When they came in, wow—it knocked us on our butts because we’ve never seen a bicephaly animal or turtle before,” Katrina Bergman, CEO of the New England Wildlife Centers, told The Washington Post.

Read more here PopSci

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