There are many rare and unique-looking animals in the world that are always fascinating to see, but an animal with two heads is something truly hard to believe.
While it may seem like something out of fiction, animals like snakes and turtles can sometimes be born with two heads. It’s rare enough that it still surprises us when one turns up.
And recently, one young turtle hatchling caused a sensation in South Carolina after being found with the unusual condition.
According to a Facebook post from South Carolina State Parks, the Edisto Beach State Park sea turtle patrol was doing a routine nest inventory when they happened to spot something “very rare.”
While checking which turtle eggs had successfully hatched on the beach, they found three loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings — and one immediately stood out: it had two heads!
While a two-headed turtle is not unheard of in the area, it was a first-time sighting for this turtle team.
“This two-headed hatchling is the result of a genetic mutation,” the post says. “Other two-headed hatchlings have been found in South Carolina in past years, but this is a first for the patrol team at Edisto Beach State Park.”
In 2019, another two-headed turtle was found in Hilton Head Island:
Turtles like these are born with two heads as a result of an incomplete splitting of an embryo, according to ABC News. It’s the same process that leads to conjoined twins in humans.
But while the expression says “two heads are better than one,” that’s sadly not true for these creatures: the reality is that the condition reduces their chances of survival. Very few turtle hatchlings go on to survive into adulthood, and a genetic abnormality like this makes the odds even slimmer.
“The odds are heavily stacked against hatchlings making it to adulthood, and unfortunately those odds are even lower for individuals with congenital abnormalities,” said Erin Weeks of the state’s Marine Resources Division, according to The Island Packet.
“We are not aware of any records of two-headed adults.”