For as long as humanity has understood the concept of physical mutation, a surefire sign that something has gone screwy in nature is when something is born with two heads. Unless you’re some kind of horrifying deep sea creature, you’re only supposed to have one head per body, as most living creatures aren’t really built to facilitate anything else. Nevertheless, sometimes nature throws us a curveball, this time in the form of a double-header of a turtle.
Animal researchers working in West Barnstable, Massachusetts uncovered a diamondback terrapin turtle nest in a potential hazardous area, and decided its occupants needed to be relocated somewhere safer. When they checked the nest, though, they didn’t find one turtle or two turtles, but one-and-a-half turtles. This strange turtle has two heads, with a total of six legs, each head controlling three. The turtle isn’t a single creature, but rather something more akin to a pair of conjoined twins; each head is its own thinking, breathing, eating animal.
A rare two-headed turtle is being cared for by the veterinary staff at New England Wildlife Centers.
The cute diamondback terrapin hatchling, found at a protected nesting site in Barnstable, has two heads and three legs on each side. ? https://t.co/jqMhssHSie
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) October 12, 2021
The turtle was transported to the Birdsey Cape Wildlife Center for protection and study, where its heads have been nicknamed “Mary-Kate and Ashley.” The twins seem to be in good spirits despite themselves, enjoying a diet of worms as they reach a healthy weight. The center staff were surprised by how mobile the twins are, as in spite of controlling their individual legs separately, they are entirely capable of swimming, even coming up for air individually. Unfortunately, nobody is quite sure when or even if the twins can be safely released back into the wild, but they are content to care for them for as long as necessary.