HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (Local) — Meet Squirt and Crush, a two-headed sea turtle hatchling found Tuesday on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. The bicephalic hatchling was discovered during a nest inventory, the Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island said in a Facebook post.
“We thought we had seen it all during this very busy season on Sea Turtle Patrol!” the poster wrote.
This type of mutation is not usually a result of environmental issues such as temperature or human disturbance, but rather random genetic occurrences, the group’s leader, marine biologist Amber Kuehn, told The Island Packet.
“This mutation is more common in reptiles than in other animals but it is still very rare,” according to the post. “As with other live hatchlings found during a nest inventory, this hatchling was released to the ocean.”
Although the loggerhead sea turtle was found (and released) alive, it’s likely not to be viable very long.
“It couldn’t really swim,” Kuehn 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.”
The turtle’s names come from after two characters — Crush, a green sea turtle, and his son, Squirt — in the 2003 animated feature film “Finding Nemo.”
“Good luck to Squirt and Crush!” the post concluded.