Any 25th anniversary is cause for Party. But it was even truer for Janus, a two-headed Greek tortoise who marked the Milestone year on September 3, 2022. The resident from the Natural History Museum in Geneva, Switzerland, is now considered the oldest two-headed turtle in the world. The museum celebrated the special opportunity with a day-long party filled with fun events, which included taking pictures with the “boy” whose birthday it was.
In the wild, Greek tortoises (Testudo graeca) can live up to 200 years in their natural state habitat. However, two-headed turtles, such as Janus, generally do not have to survive as long as. Unlike normal turtles, reptiles are unable to retract their two heads in their shell, which makes them highly vulnerable at predators.
Janus, who has spent his whole life in the museum, faces no such danger. But life is not without challenges for the two-headed turtle who also has two hearts and two pairs of lungs. Each head controls the front and back legs on its side of the body. This can lead to confusion when the two heads decide to enter different directions. Angélica Bourgoin, Janus’ main caregiver, says: “The right head is more curiousmore awake, it has a much louder sound personality. The left head is more passive and likes to eat.”
To make matters worse, the two heads frequently rubbing against each other, resulting in skin sores. Janus also has trouble getting back on his feet when he accidentally turns around. If left on their backs for too long, turtles can get sunburned, dehydrated,and even die.
Luckily, Janus has a staff dedicated to ensure a long and healthy life. The pampered turtle receives a daily massage and bathed in green tea and chamomile extract the solution. He eats a special diet of organic fruits and vegetables stays active with walks and rides on his Customs Skateboard. Bourgoin even talks to the turtle and plays soothing music to wake him up sleep! With such loving care, the two-headed turtle will continue to to break many more discs for longevity.
Happy birthday Janus!
Resources: Nerdist.com, Institutions.ville-geneve.ch, euronews.com