Edisto Beach State Park sea turtle patrol workers in South Carolina stumbled upon a two-headed loggerhead sea turtle hatchling during their routine check-in. The rare specimen was also joined by two other hatchlings, the patrol workers found.
According to WXII, officials are saying that two-headed hatching has been found in South Carolina before, but this is the first time one has been spotted in Edisto Beach State Park. They also clarified that the hatchlings coming out with two-heads is due to a genetic mutation.
The Edisto Beach State Park shared a message via their Facebook celebrating the find and highlighting how rare it was.
“Edisto Beach State Park sea turtle patrol had a very rare find during a routine nest inventory,” the post read. “Three to five days after a sea turtle nest shows signs of a major emergence, we dig down to determine the success of the nest by counting the hatched eggs, unhatched eggs and on occasions also find live hatchlings. While performing an inventory this past Wednesday, patrollers and volunteers found three alive loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings still in the chamber, but one hatchling, in particular, stood out because it had two heads!”
The post continued, “This two-headed hatchling is the result of a genetic mutation. Other two-headed hatchlings have been found in South Carolina in past years, but this is a first for the patrol team at Edisto Beach State Park. After a few photos, this hatchling, along with the two others found, were released into the ocean.”
All of the hatchlings that were found were released back into the ocean.