A mutant turtle with two heads has surprised rescuers by surviving for three months.
The red-eared slider was handed into a wildlife shelter in Shangaroo City, in China’s Jiangxi province, where it will remain for the rest of its days.
Despite impressing shelter workers with its will to live, officials say the turtle will not be released into the wild. They believe it will not survive on its own, as well as posing a risk to the turtle gene pool if it breeds.
The semi-aquatic turtle hails from the southern United States and northern Mexico, and is considered an invasive species in China, where it is a popular pet.
Shelter staff member Tu Jun said: “It is a red-eared slider, but its probability of survival is very low because of the mutation.”
For now, the turtle is being kept in a transparent plastic tank so the public can come and take a peak.
“It eats the same thing [as other turtles],” Tu added. “But the chances of regular owners keeping it alive are slim.”
Fortunately, the shelter believes the turtle can live a long and happy life in captavity. However, Jian Jianping, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Biophysics, doubts it will live the 20-30 years expected of normal turtles.
“The mutation was likely caused by some environmental factor,” he said. “And depending on where exact the mutation occurred in its body, it generally won’t live as long as regular turtles.”
However, Diprosopus is not just confined to the animal kingdom. Earlier this year, a baby in Indonesia was also born with two faces, as a result of he and his twin not seperating properly in the womb.