Two-headed tortoise born in Gelderland; A Netherlands first
A two-headed tortoise was born in Putten, Gelderland, reports veterinary clinic AniCura Stroowaert in Oud-Beijerland. Based on a CT scan taken on Thursday morning, the tortoise has one heart and one gastrointestinal tract. And that is favorable for the animal’s life expectancy, according to AniCura.
Sorte, as the owner christened the animal, is a spurred tortoise. The reptile was born last week Monday at a hobby breeder from Putten. Sorte (Portuguese for ‘luck’) has two heads, four front legs, two hind legs, and two tails. The CT scan also showed the animal has two cervical vertebrae and two windpipes. If Sorte’s entire body had consisted of two systems, the reptile would have had twice as much risk of disease and, therefore, death, explained veterinarian Anton Fennema of AniCura. The fact that the animal has one heart and one gastrointestinal tract increases the chance of a long life. It is not yet clear whether Sorte is male or female. The tortoise weighs 34 grams.
According to AniCura, this is the first time a two-headed tortoise has been born in the Netherlands. A two-headed tortoise was born in Belgium a few years ago, but otherwise, it is quite a unique phenomenon, AniCura said. Owner Ruben van Schoor of Putten: “It is extraordinary that as a hobby breeder of tortoises, I have such a specimen. The most important thing is that Sorte is and remains healthy. Of course, I do my best to ensure that.”
Veterinarian Sandra Vink of AniCura: “In the wild, a two-headed tortoise would never survive. If one head wants something different from the other, the animal can’t function. With a hobby breeder who takes good care of his tortoises, that is not a problem. There it gets food and drink.”
The animal can eventually weigh about 100 kilos and live to be 150 years old. “That is also why you should think carefully if you consider a tortoise as a pet. They need good nutrition and a lot of space,” Vink said.