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A Pair Of Two-Headed Sea Turtle Hatchlings Discovered On Grand Cayman Islands

October 25, 2017



A turtle intern and her team of researchers with the Cayman Islands’ Department of Environment happened upon two, live, double-headed sea turtle hatchlings last week in what was described as very rare occurrence. 

two-headed sea turtle

Lucy Collyer/Facebook

This two-headed sea turtle was found on Grand Cayman Island. It was released back into the ocean.

"This is a rare condition that these hatchlings have," Lucy Collyer, lead turtle intern with the DOE told The Sun News.

The condition is called polycephaly, and actually occurs with some frequency in the reptile world. 


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“I have been working on turtle projects for 10 seasons now and my fellow interns have worked on multiple seasons also, and this is the first time that we have collectively witnessed a live two-headed hatchling, let alone two in one week,” she said. “We all have however, come across dead ones.”

 

Posted by Lucy Collyer on Thursday, October 19, 2017

Collyer, who is working toward her Ph.D and is in her seventh year with the DOE, said that only 0.1 percent of all sea turtle hatchlings survive to become adults, so the prospects for a two-headed sea turtle are even more remote, considering the extra challenges it will have to go through. 

“So it is uncertain as to whether these hatchlings will survive,” she said. “Only time will tell as to whether they will survive.”

Both two-headed sea turtles were released into the ocean. 

Two-headed reptiles are rare but not uncommon. Snakes seem to be the most visible two-headed herps, though there have been instances of two-headed bearded dragonlizards and other turtles that have survived into adulthood.

Would there be a moral dilemma if these little guys were raised in captivity? Could they even survive in captivity? 

 

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