A rare two-headed baby turtle has been adopted by Virginia Living Museum after it was discovered in the wild by a member of the public. The reptile was kept in the aquarium and has created a stir in the museum's lockdown live steams. It suffers from a condition known as bicephaly or polycephaly and might have grim chances of survival into adulthood, according to experts.
Herpetology curator Travis Long was quoted saying that even with the best care that it can be given, there are many health hurdles for an animal with this condition. Further, he said, the creature's chances of reaching adulthood were 'not great' as he could tell from experience for the many turtles that he had cared for in his career. As little as just one reptile among a thousand might have a chance of survival as they grow in the wild, as per reports. Long reportedly said, at times, this rare condition in turtles could hardly even be detected until the animal got older. The medical condition could also lead to several health challenges, such as the weakly developed internal organs, Long added.
According to biologists, in polycephalic animals, there are two brains, one in each head and the animal share control of the organs and limbs, though the specific structure of the connections varies in animal with this condition, reports confirmed. Also, as per studies, creatures face challenges of survival beyond a few months.
A variety of genetic and environmental factors can give rise to bicephaly, Long told a leading media outlet. It is an incredibly rare circumstance that happens during the formation of the embryo. Essentially, twins are formed inside of an egg – much like what can happen to human embryos inside of a womb, he added. Further, he explained, that instead of the embryo splitting all the way, something halts the process, but the cells continue to develop until there are conjoined twins. Long warned that the creatures like the rare turtle must not be cared for by the individuals on their own.