Cape Cod — At first glance, a small feeding tank appears to contain two freshly hatched diamondback terrapins in a brightly lit laboratory at the Birdsy Cape Wildlife Center. This animal is an endangered species in Massachusetts.
If you look closely, this particular turtle is much rarer and was born with two heads and six legs. This is called bi-cephalic. The center’s veterinarian, Pria Patel, has been monitoring terrapins since arriving two weeks ago. So far, things are going well.
Barium studies have shown that animals have two independent gastrointestinal systems to nourish both sides. The head works independently to come to the surface to breathe. Center staff say they eat mostly chillori and bait pellets.
This animal came from the “Head Start” nest on the Sandineck of the Westbahn Stable. The “favorable start” nest is where researchers move because they are in a dangerous location. Once the eggs hatch, they are sent to various places to care for the animals during the winter and released at the end of spring.
This rare specimen will continue to be monitored, and upon reaching 4 weeks of age, the center’s crew hopes to take a CT scan to learn more about the two small terrapins that share one shell with the animal’s circulatory system. is.
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Massachusetts two-headed, six-legged diamondback terrapin
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