Seeing double: Rare terrapin hatches with two-heads

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 15 Oct 2021, 12:47PM
The two-headed diamondback terrapin hatchling. (Photo / New England Wildlife Center)
The two-headed diamondback terrapin hatchling. (Photo / New England Wildlife Center)

Seeing double: Rare terrapin hatches with two-heads

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 15 Oct 2021, 12:47PM

A rare two-headed diamondback terrapin turtle is alive and kicking — with all six of its legs — at the Birdsey Cape Wildlife Center in Massachusetts after hatching two weeks ago.

A threatened species in the state, this turtle is feeding well on blood worms and food pellets, staff at the centre say. The two heads operate independently, coming up for air at different times, and inside its shell are two gastrointestinal systems to feed both sides of its body.

A two-headed diamondback terrapin is weighed at the Birdsey Cape Wildlife Centre on October 9, 2021 in Barnstable, Massachusetts. Photo/ AP

A two-headed diamondback terrapin is weighed at the Birdsey Cape Wildlife Centre on October 9, 2021 in Barnstable, Massachusetts. Photo/ AP

The turtle originally came from a nest in West Barnstable that researchers determined was in a hazardous location and needed to be moved. After hatching, turtles in these so-called "head start" nests are sent to different care centres to be monitored before their release in the spring, the Cape Cod Times reported.

Centre veterinarian Pria Patel and other staff members will continue to monitor the turtle, which they nicknamed Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen after the twin child stars. The staff is hoping to perform a CT scan to learn more about its circulatory system.

- AP