Conjoined Twin Turtle

July, 2008

Members of the Holden Beach Turtle Patrol found a unique baby among the hatchlings in the first nest that hatched on our beach in July. One of the babies that emerged during the "boil" was a conjoined (or Siamese twin) turtle. It had one shell but two heads. We believe this is the first conjoined turtle to be found in North Carolina. There have been reported incidences of conjoined turtles elsewhere in both sea turtles and fresh water turtles, but none that we know of in North Carolina. There is a report of a conjoined Green Sea Turtle living in a sea turtle education center in Mexico that is 10 years old.
After talking with our program coordinator it was decided that this turtle should be treated like all the others in this nest. The conjoined turtle walked down the turtle "trench" and went to the ocean like all of the other hatchlings. We were later instructed that in the future if we find such a unique turtle in one of our nests we should conduct the coordinator of the sea turtle protection program in the state before releasing the hatchling into the ocean. At that time a decision will be made whether the turtle should be released or taken to the sea turtle hospital or the aquarium for an undetermined amount of time. Staying at the hospital or aquarium will allow it to grow before being release and this may give it a better chance of survival despite it rare condition.
We hope that this special turtle is growing along with the other turtles in nest #1 from 2008 and we'll see her back on Holden Beach in 20 years or so.

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