Jun
20
2007

Hey four eyes! Rare turtle hatches in Tennessee

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?

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

mdr's picture
mdr says:

Last night, Jack Hanna was on the David Letterman Show with a live two-headed turtle. Very, very strange!

posted on Wed, 06/20/2007 - 1:51pm
Thor's picture
Thor says:

Who was strange? The turtle or Jack Hanna? I've seen Jack on the Late Show before and he can get pretty weird himself, particularly when he brings predatitors and prey out on stage at the same time. Dave is never amused.

posted on Mon, 06/25/2007 - 11:29am
Liza's picture
Liza says:

OK, so it's not a two-headed turtle, but We, the two-headed snake from the World Aquarium, has died.

Most two-headed snakes only live a week or two; We was 8.

(Follow the link above for a wicked cool picture.)

Side note: The World Aquarium is inside St. Louis' famed City Museum, the absolute coolest museum in the world. If you ever have the opportunity to stop in and check it out, I highly recommend it.

posted on Thu, 06/21/2007 - 1:58pm
Vamp's picture
Vamp says:

i see turtles all the time including giant tourtises but a live 2 headed? is that possible? or is a tv hoax? well i have been known to like weird things so i guess i could believe a 2 headed turtle.............maybe.

posted on Wed, 01/23/2008 - 12:09pm

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