Baby sea turtles are some of my favorite creatures on the entire planet. When I was a kid, I was at Turtle Beach one afternoon on south Siesta Key where I grew up and happened to be there right as some marine biologists/field scientists from Mote Marine were digging up one of the sea turtle nests and releasing those baby sea turtles into the water.
They let me help dig and carry the sea turtles to the water in a plastic bucket and I got to swim in the waves with the baby sea turtles as they made their way out to sea…where they were statistically likely to get eaten by a shark or fish but it was still one of the absolute coolest beach memories from my childhood.
Now, had I seen one of these two-headed mutant baby sea turtles from Hilton Head then I probably would think back on that day very differently. According to the Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island Facebook page, it has been ‘a very busy sea turtle season’ on Hilton Head. They claim they’d ‘seen everything’ until this.
What they found was a baby sea turtle with TWO DAMN HEADS. This is a VERY rare condition that presents itself in reptiles, hence why we’ll occasionally see images of a two-headed cobra snake hit the Internet. They nicknamed the two heads Squirt and Crush after Finding Nemo characters and shared a picture across their social media channels which has since gone viral.
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We thought we had seen it all this year! This bicephalic Hatcling was discovered yesterday at an inventory. He was healthy and strong however could not crawl so was released into the water. Many animals have been born with two heads, but reptiles are more likely to be polycephalic than any other type of animal. Well wishes Crush and Squirt! #twoheadsarebetterthanone #shellshocked #twiceasnice #seeingdouble #crush #squirt #twoheadedturtle #2headedturtle #bicephalic #polycephalic
Just in case you can’t see that, their caption reads “We thought we had seen it all during this very busy season on Sea Turtle Patrol! Yesterday on patrol during a nest inventory this bicephalic hatchling was discovered. This mutation is more common in reptiles than in other animals but it is still very rare. As with other live hatchlings found during a nest inventory, this hatchling was released to the ocean. Good luck to Squirt and Crush!”.
The life of a baby sea turtle is a ROUGH one. It’s estimated that 90% of hatchlings survive and make it out of the nest but ONLY 1% of those babies go on to reach sexual maturity and are able to breed. Tiger sharks, Mahi-Mahi, birds, all of these apex predators LOVE an easy meal and baby sea turtles provide exactly that.
The road ahead for this two-headed baby sea turtle will be a challenging one but there are a lot of people out there who are rooting for Squirt and Crush. (h/t Fox News)