A rare mutant turtle born with two heads is kept in a wildlife shelter in Shangrao, China has been defying the odds by surviving for more than three months.
- Rare mutant turtle born with two heads had survive for three months and counting.
- The red-eared slider can’t be released in the wild as it may not survive and create chaos turtle gene pool.
- The two headed turtle kept in a plastic tank in a wildlife shelter in Shangrao, China.
The red-eared slider needs to stay in the rescue center and it will not be released into the wild as it may not survive on its own and the fact that its rogue genes might lead to unwanted effects in the turtle gene pool.
Wildlife rescue shelter staff member Tu Jun said: “It is a red-eared slider, but its probability of survival is very low because of the mutation.”
The two headed turtle kept in a plastic tank where the public can visit it and despite the freakish mutation, hatchling appears to show full of life.
“It eats the same thing [as other turtles], but the chances of regular owners keeping it alive are slim,” Tu added.
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Jian Jianping, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Biophysics, said: “The mutation was likely caused by some environmental factor, and depending on where exact the mutation occurred in its body, it generally won’t live as long as regular turtles.”
The red-eared slider is native to the southern United States and northern Mexico, and is considered an invasive species in China and other countries in the world due to their popularity as pets.
Apparently, another two head slider turtle – nicknamed Michaelangelo was born last year in Thailand from a turtle breeder.
Somjai, the owner of Michaelangelo has been breeding turtles to sell for several years but this is the first she encounters a two head.
She said: ‘’I have had a lot of turtles but this is the first time I’ve had one like this. I knew about them but had never seen them. I breed turtles to sell and a lot of people have been interested in this but I think we might keep him as he’s very special.
‘’People think that turtles are slow but no, just look at the video of how fast he goes.’’
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Two-headed turtles have been born before but they are considered rare and a number of them are kept in museums. However, it is a question whether this kind of turtle can fulfil its species’ regular lifespan of 20 to 30 years.