Experts from the Edisto Beach State Park’s Sea Turtle Patrol made an amazing discovery during a survey of sea turtle nests on the North Carolina coastline: a tiny turtle with two heads.
The wildlife biologists were on Cape Hatteras National Seashore, in North Carolina’s Outer Banks when they came across the double trouble turtle on the beach earlier this week.
Biologists from the patrol posted news of their amazing discovery on Facebook: “Are two heads really better than one?! It’s not every day that park biologists find a two-headed sea turtle!”
The baby Loggerhead was in good general health, and biologists assessed it to have “good flipper function” so it was released into the wild.
“There are many genetic deformities sea turtles can exhibit, but this one was experiencing good health and had good flipper function once in the water,” the scientists wrote.
They did concede, though, that it was “unlikely it will survive as long as some others”.
Two-headed animals can occasionally occur in nature. Two-headed cows, in particular, seem to be born with alarming regularity.
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Earlier this year a Macedonian farmer was stunned when one of his cows gave birth to a two-headed calf.
Sasho Gjorgjievski from the Veterinary Clinic Filipov, who delivered the calf, said that the calf’s vital signs and organs were “functioning well”.
However, the vet added: “Most animals born with such anomalies rarely live very long.
“As it grows, its needs will change and the question will be whether it can survive. However, nothing is known yet and we hope it will live longer.”
In some rare cases even humans can be born with an extra head. Last year, a two-headed baby was born in Uzbekistan.
Dr Dilshod Rakhmonov told local media that “using medical language, these are Siamese twins” – but he then referred to a single child throughout the press conference.
“This is a very rare, one in 200,000 or 220,000 cases,” he said.
“Such children can live a long life, they can live up to the age of 30 or 50.”