2-headed baby turtle thrives at Massachusetts animal refuge

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A two-headed diamondback terrapin is weighed at the Birdsey Cape Wildlife Center on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Barnstable, Mass., where the two-week old animal is being treated. The turtle is alive and kicking — with all six of its legs — after hatching recently. (Steve Heaslip/Cape Cod Times via AP)

BARNSTABLE, Mass. (AP) — A rare two-headed diamondback terrapin turtle is alive and kicking — with all six of its legs — at the Birdsey Cape Wildlife Center in Massachusetts after hatching two weeks ago.

A threatened species in the state, this turtle is feeding well on blood worms and food pellets, staff at the center say. The two heads operate independently, coming up for air at different times, and inside its shell are two gastrointestinal systems to feed both sides of its body.

The turtle originally came from a nest in West Barnstable that researchers determined was in a hazardous location and needed to be moved. After hatching, turtles in these so-called “head start” nests are sent to different care centers to be monitored before their release in the spring, The Cape Cod Times reported.

Center veterinarian Pria Patel and other staff members will continue to monitor the turtle, which they nicknamedMary-Kate and Ashley Olsen after the twin child stars. The staff is hoping to perform a CT scan to learn more about its circulatory system.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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