Stories tagged reptile

Jun
20
2007

Eyed up: A handler recently displayed the newly hatched Beal's four-eyed turtle at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. There are only 18 known Beal's four-eyes in captivity. (Photo courtesy of Tennessee Aquarium)
Eyed up: A handler recently displayed the newly hatched Beal's four-eyed turtle at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. There are only 18 known Beal's four-eyes in captivity. (Photo courtesy of Tennessee Aquarium)
I’ve lived most of my life with glasses, but thankfully have never been called “four eyes” before. It must be a termed used solely in comic books and bad movies.

But the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga is quite proud of its new four eyes, a rare Beal’s four-eyed turtle, which recently hatched. Don’t get all panicky, it is not some genetic mutant freak turtle. It only has two actual eyes, but also two white spots on the top of its head that look like another set of eyes.

It is now one of only 18 four-eyers known to be in captivity in the U.S. and Europe. Years ago, the species were fairly common in the wild in China but its population numbers have dropped due to low reproduction rates.

I never knew such a rare turtle existed. But now I’m thinking –- here at the Science Museum of Minnesota, we have a pair of preserved two-headed turtles on display in our collections gallery. Aren’t they the “real” four-eyed turtles?