CAPE COD — At first look the small feeding tank seems to carry a few diamondback terrapin hatchlings within the brightly lit examination room on the Birdsey Cape Wildlife Heart. The animal is a threatened species in Massachusetts.
Look nearer and this explicit turtle is way rarer, it was born with two heads and 6 legs, known as bicephalic. Heart veterinarian Pria Patel has been monitoring the terrapin because it arrived two weeks in the past — and to date it’s doing effectively.
A barium research confirmed the animal has two unbiased gastrointestinal techniques to nourish each side. The heads work independently for coming to the floor to breathe. Employees on the heart says it’s feeding effectively, totally on blood worms and meals pellets.
The animal got here from a “head begin” nest at Sandy Neck in West Barnstable. A “head begin” nest is one researchers transfer as a result of it’s in a harmful location. As soon as the eggs hatch they’re despatched out to quite a lot of locations the place the animals are cared for over the winter after which launched in late spring.
This uncommon specimen will proceed to be watched and when it reaches 4 weeks previous the Heart’s crew hopes to get a CT scan to be taught extra in regards to the animal’s circulatory system and extra details about the 2 tiny terrapins sharing one shell.
One turtle, two names: Rare two-headed baby sea turtle found alive on North Carolina beach