A two-headed diamondback terrapin tortoise, now living in an American animal refuge, is a rather unusual turn of events. The prognosis for animals affected by bicephaly can be grim. However, the duo is still alive and well with six shared legs as well as a common shell that they share for more than two months after hatching.
The heads are independent and the animal welfare centre reports they operate independently. “are eating, swimming, and gaining weight each day”. They look a lot like conjoined human twins. X-rays show that they are trying to navigate their environment. Rare anomalies can be caused by both genetic and environmental factors.
“We have been observing them moving and swimming showing they each have control of three legs. A barium study revealed they each have separate gastrointestinal (GI) tracts. The right side appears to be slightly more developed but they are eating and digesting food. A supervised deep water swim test showed that they can coordinate swimming so that they can come to the surface to breathe when needed,”View a Facebook post by Birdsey Cape Wildlife Center of Massachusetts.
The twins were born at a Barnstable nesting area that was protected by researchers. Normally, turtles from nests like these are sent to care centers and monitored before they are released.
Many people have been expressing concern over the turtles online. They hope they can overcome all odds and live a long, healthy life. “I hope they live a long life with care maybe remain under care of the wildlife center. Beautiful and precious,”One Facebook user wrote it.
“Will they ever be able to be separated?”Have you ever wondered what the other?
Although reports suggest that the pair were nicknamed Mary-Kate or Ashley after the Olsen twins’, netizens have many other suggestions. “They should be called Bert and Ernie (or Berta and Ernestine). Or Laverne and Shirley or Bonnie and Clyde”Two users agreed. Another user lamented the fact that they were not named ‘Zak’ and ‘Wheezie’, the conjoined twin dragons featured in Dragon Tales animated children’s series.
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Published at 12:08 PM IST on Wednesday, October 13, 2021