Two-Headed Turtle, A Rare Pair Named Thelma and Louise, Welcomed At San Antonio Zoo [VIDEO]
A two-headed turtle hatched at the San Antonio Zoo in San Antonio, Texas on June 18. Zookeepers wasted no time naming the two-headed turtle, christening the female twosome after the 1991 Oscar-winning road movie duo Thelma and Louise.
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Unlike their silver screen counterparts, however, the two-headed, amphibious Thelma and Louise won't be road-tripping with Brad Pitt anytime soon; the rare pair will go on display at the San Antonio Zoo on Thursday.
Texas' two-headed turtle is a Texas river cooter, a species of freshwater turtle native to the creeks, lakes and rivers of the Lone Star State. The Texas cooter is a relatively large turtle, with adults reaching between 7 and 10 inches in length. Its shell is covered with alternating yellow and black blotches, and its skin is black with white or yellow stripes on the neck, legs and tail.
CBS News reports that Thelma and Louise aren't the first two-headed pair to find a home at the San Antonio Zoo. A two-headed Texas rat snake named Janus also lived at the zoo from 1978 until the snake's death in 1995.
The technical term for having two heads is polycephaly. The word is derived from the Greek stems poly, meaning "much," and kephali, meaning "head." Two-headed creatures, which captivate onlookers for both their novelty and oddity, are a thing of mythology as well as reality. There's Cerberus, the fabled three-headed dog in Greek mythology who guarded the entrance to the underworld; Shesha, the multi-headed snake who accompanies Lord Vishnu in Indian mythology; and then there's the three-headed giant in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."
Real-life two-headed animals are a rarity in the animal kingdom, but not so rare that they're unheard of. IBTimes TV reported earlier this month that a two-headed kitten was born in Oregon. Named Deucy, the kitten was rejected by its mother and, sadly, died shortly afterwards from complications.
According to Pravda, two-headed tortoises and two-headed snakes are the most common polycephalic animals in nature.
Just for fun, here's a video, courtesy of YouTube user geeksquad4ever, of a two-headed turtle fighting:
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