Freaky mutant turtle with TWO HEADS shocks residents in China
- Red-eared slider was born three months ago and now lives in captivity in Jiangxi
- Mutation was likely caused by a genetic abnormality or environmental factors
- Experts say it cannot be released into the wild as it might pass on the rogue gene
A strange turtle with two heads has shocked residents in south-east China.
The mutant turtle, said to be a red-eared slider, was born three months ago with the deformity and is currently living in captivity in Shangrao city in Jiangxi province.
Experts say the turtle cannot be released into the wild as it is unlikely to survive on its own and might pass on the rogue gene.
The mutant turtle, said to be a red-eared slider, was born three months ago with the deformity and is currently living in captivity in Shangrao city in Jiangxi province
Footage filmed on Saturday shows the baby red-eared slider moving around normally in a plastic tank at a wildlife rescue shelter, with each flipper moving and all eyes blinking.
The species is native to the southern United States and northern Mexico and is commonly kept as pets in different parts of the world.
Jiang Jianping, a researcher at Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, told Beijing News that the mutation was likely caused by a genetic abnormality or other environmental factors.
Seeing double: The baby red-eared slider moves around normally in a plastic tank at the centre
The mutant turtle is not expected to live as long as regular turtles, experts say
Two-headed turtles have been born before but they are considered rare and a number of them are kept in museums.
‘It probably will not live as long as regular turtles,’ Jiang said. Normal red-eared sliders can live up to 30 years in the wild.
The chances of any single hatchling surviving are extremely low, with anywhere from 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 10,000 infant turtles making it adulthood, according to statistics from the United States Sea Turtle Conservancy.