Conjoined Turtles With Two Heads and Six Legs Discovered in Turkey

University researchers have taken in a pair of conjoined turtles after they were found by a tourist in Turkey.

The turtles were found in Pamukkale, a region known for its thermal spring waters.

They have two front limbs each and their own heads, but the rear part of their body is joined. They share two hind legs and parts of their shells.

They also have a single digestive system, according to Eyup Başkale from Pamukkale University's department of biology.

The conjoined turtles came into the biology department's care earlier this month. They were initially handed in to the General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks, according to the Daily Sabah newspaper and the Anadolu news agency.

Başkale and colleagues are aiming to keep the animals alive because he does not believe they would survive in the wild.

"So, we have created a habitat similar to the natural habitat in the lab," he told Newsweek. "The general condition of the turtles, which have been under observation in our laboratory for about two weeks, seems to be good.

"They can feed on their own and move actively. Progress of measurement and weighing are being evaluated by researchers."

Başkale added that the turtles, of the Testudo graeca species, have put on weight.

According to the Encyclopedia of Life, the species is classed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

This is not the first time that a pair of conjoined turtles has been found.

In October this year, conjoined turtles with two heads and one body were reported by the Birdsey Cape Wildlife Center, in Barnstable, Massachusetts. X-rays revealed that the turtles had two separate spines that fused together further down the body.

The center wrote in a Facebook post: "Animals with this rare condition don't always survive very long or live a good quality of life, but these two have given us reason to be optimistic!

"It is impossible to get inside the heads of these two, but it appears that they work together to navigate their environment."

The center added that the turtles seemed to be bright and active and were eating, swimming and gaining weight.

In 2016, marine biologists in Italy were able to separate two conjoined twin loggerhead turtles. One of the turtles had died, but the other survived and was released into the Mediterranean Sea after the separation.

Conjoined turtles
The conjoined turtles. The animals have been taken in by Pamukkale University in southwest Turkey. Eyup Başkale / Pamukkale University