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Two-headed tortoise gets her close-up in Kiev

March 5, 2012 |  2:18 pm

A two-headed turtle Testudo horsfieldi at the National Museum of Natural History in Kiev, Ukraine

Every day on World Now we choose an amazing photo from around the world. Today we did a double take at this shot of a two-headed tortoise on display in Ukraine.

The animal also has two hearts, six legs and a single intestine. "Strictly speaking it isn't a tortoise with two heads, but rather two conjoined tortoises," zoologist Yuri Yuravliov told the Agence France-Presse.

The unusual creature was born in captivity. “Animals with this type of pathology are only rarely born and don’t survive in natural conditions,” Yuravliov said.

Dmitry Tkachev, who organized the Kiev exhibition where the tortoise is on display, told Russian state media that the two heads cannot see each other.

“Each has its own character, so they often want to crawl in different directions,” he explained to Ria Novosti, the Russian international news agency.

It isn't the only reptile with two heads out there: A Geneva museum has exhibited a two-headed tortoise named Janus after the Roman god with two faces.


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-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles

Photo: A man displays a two-headed Testudo horsfieldi tortoise at the National Museum of Natural History in Kiev, Ukraine, on Monday. Credit: Efrem Lukatsky / Associated Press