The birth of a rare two-headed tortoise has left experts baffled.
The African spurred tortoise was hatched under the care of Ruben van Schoor in the Netherlands on August 1.
According to Pen News, the tortoise was nicknamed Sorte and is even rarer than experts first believed.
While uncommon, it’s not unheard of for conjoined animals to be born with two heads. Essentially, two bodies end up connected but they have separate organs and body parts.
Since Sorte was born with two heads and four front legs, her owner assumed she was a conjoined twin which means she likely wouldn’t survive long.
However, further examination revealed she’s not a conjoined twin at all and she could live a full, normal lifespan!
According to The Mirror, reptile expert Sandra Vink explained that the two-headed tortoise was “very rare” and quite lucky to not be conjoined. She said:
“As far as the owner knows, it’s the first one in the world. It is very uncommon. We’ve found few cases in media. Usually they do not have long to live.
Often the animals have a complete second organ system, also with two hearts, and they are very sensitive to diseases. It has a good chance of surviving because it looks like it has one heart, one gastrointestinal tract.”
She went on to explain:
“This means it’s actually one animal with two heads. If it would have been a Siamese twin, it would have a bigger chance of getting sick and if one of the parts would die, the other would too. This is what we have seen through the CT scan – so good news for Sorte.”
Vink believes Sorte will be able to live a long and happy life. She’s active and eats well and her owner is quite attentive and caring. Accidents aside, Sorte should be able to live out an average lifespan which could be some 150 years!Whizzco