Janus, the world’s oldest two-headed turtle, turns 25

By Sudouest.fr with AFP

Janus, a two-headed tortoise who lives at the Natural History Museum in Geneva, celebrated his 25th birthday. Even in captivity it’s a feat

Janus, the oldest two-headed turtle in the world, was treated to edible flowers for her 25th birthday from the Geneva Museum of Natural History, where she lives peaceful days. Janus – like the eponymous two-faced Roman god – has two heads, but also two hearts, two pairs of lungs and two stomachs.

In the wild, Janus’ lifespan would be extremely short. Indeed, the turtle does not have, like its one-headed congeners, the space to retract its two heads in its shell and the first predator to come would quickly make a meal of it. Even in captivity, reaching the age of 25 with such a malformation is extraordinary, underlines the director of the museum.

Two healers take turns day after day to give Janus his daily bath, meals and exercise. Recently, the male Greek tortoise had to be operated on for a stone in his bladder. An unusual operation that was the subject of a presentation at a symposium. Janus was hatched 25 years ago in the institution’s animal facility, from an egg lent by a private individual. He agreed to leave it at the museum after it hatched in exchange for the promise of good care.

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