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Two-headed turtle at Virginia Living Museum dies

It's extremely rare for two-headed turtles to survive, even when taken care of by people. But Twix lived over two years under the care of the Virginia Living Museum.
Credit: Virginia Living Museum

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The Virginia Living Museum said one of its turtles died from natural causes last Thursday.

The museum in Newport News made the announcement about Twix, a two-headed, juvenile red-eared slider turtle, on Wednesday afternoon through a Facebook post.

Twix was rescued from Suffolk in March 2020 and came to the museum as a hatchling. The red-eared slider is native to the Midwest but the species has spread to different parts of the country through the pet trade.

The turtle was born with a condition called bicephaly, meaning it had two heads. According to the museum, each of Twix's heads came with its own individual personality and appetite. 

While this condition is relatively common for reptiles, it is extremely rare for them to survive, even when taken care of by people. In the wild, Twix would have only lived a few weeks, but the herpetology team at the museum kept it alive for two years.

Hundreds of people on Facebook responded to the museum's post about Twix's death. One person commented: "Thanks for all you did to give him a long, happy life! He was so cool!"

It is with a heavy heart that we share the passing of our two-headed, juvenile red-eared slider turtle, lovingly known...

Posted by The Virginia Living Museum on Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Several of the comments commended the work of the museum to keep Twix alive. Another person said: "My daughter and her friends loved seeing Twix when we visited a few weeks ago. Thank you for giving Twix, as well as the other animals at the VLM, such compassionate care."

The museum showcases habitats, wildlife and plant species found in Virginia, ranging from the Appalachian Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. For more information, visit the museum's website.

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