The World’s Oldest Two-Headed Tortoise Celebrates Her 25th Birthday

If you know anything about certain types of tortoises, you realize they can live a very long life. Perhaps it is not that big of a deal that a tortoise is celebrating its 25th birthday, but this is no normal tortoise.

The event took place on September 3, 2022, in Geneva at the Natural History Museum. The museum shared photos of the tortoise on Instagram.

That tortoise, named Janus, was on hand to eat some treats and celebrate the day with some humans, including Angelica Bourgoin, Janus’ keeper.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this tortoise is not the fact that she is 25, but it’s the fact that she has two heads. In fact, those heads are fully functional and have their own personalities.

In order for Janus to move around, the heads have to work with each other. One head controls one side of the body and the other head controls the other side of the body.

In the end, she tries to move as well as she can, but there are some coordination issues because the two heads are not always in agreement. Sometimes, they want to go in opposite directions.

According to Reuters, in 1997, Janus was brought to the museum as an unhatched egg.

Imagine their surprise when the tortoise was hatched and he had two heads! At the time, they were still staffed to handle animals, as they had qualified personnel and an incubator.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Perhaps they would have released Janus into the wild but when they discovered her unique predicament, they felt that she would be safer if she was kept in captivity. After all, Janus didn’t have enough room to fit both heads into the shell, so she had no way of protecting herself.

Since being at the museum, Janus has done quite well. As Euronews notes, she is cared for with baths and massages and she even gets to go for a walk. The fact that she is now turning 25 is nothing short of amazing.

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