2-headed baby turtle thrives at Massachusetts animal refuge

BARNSTABLE, MASSACHUSETTS (AP) – A rare two-headed diamondback terrapin turtle is alive and kicking – with all six of its legs – at the Birdsey Cape Wildlife Centre 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 said.

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.

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.

A two-headed diamondback terrapin is weighed at the Birdsey Cape Wildlife Centre on October 9 in Barnstable, Massachusetts, where the two-week-old animal is being treated. PHOTO: AP