“We thought we had seen it all!”

By Meghan Overdeep
August 29, 2019

Now here’s something you don’t see every day!

The Hilton Head Island Turtle Patrol shared a photo of a loggerhead sea turtle hatchling that emerged from its nest on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, with not one, but two heads Wednesday.

“We thought we had seen it all during this very busy season on Sea Turtle Patrol!” the group’s leader, marine biologist Amber Kuehn, wrote alongside the photo on Facebook (below).

The turtle hatched on the beach and was reportedly alive when volunteers released it into the ocean.

Kuehn told The Island Packet that the double-headed, or bicephalic, turtle is the result of a genetic mutation. Although bicephalic hatchlings are more likely to occur in other reptile species, these types of mutations have been documented in sea turtles on Hilton Head before.

“It’s not common, but it’s not anything to raise a red flag about,” Kuehn said.

The Turtle Patrol named the creature Squirt and Crush after two turtles from Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo.

“Good luck to Squirt and Crush!” the Facebook post concluded.

Sadly, although the turtle was alive Wednesday morning, Kuehn told The Island Packet that it’s unlikely to survive for very long.

“It couldn’t really swim,” she said. “One head governed one side (of the turtle’s body) on the front, and other head governed the other flipper. They weren’t working together.”

We’re rooting for you!

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