Janus, the two-headed tortoise, has made headlines as the world’s oldest of its kind. The tortoise Janus was named after the Roman god of beginnings and endings, as its two heads symbolize the duality of life.
Janus Is A Greek Tortoise, A Species Known For Their Longevity
However, even for its species, Janus is remarkably old. It is estimated to be around 25 years old, a significant milestone for a two-headed tortoise.
It is rare for a tortoise to be born with two heads, making Janus a unique specimen. However, being born with two heads also comes with its ᴄʜᴀʟʟᴇɴɢᴇs.
Janus, who has two ʜᴇᴀʀᴛs, two pairs of ʟᴜɴɢs, and two distinct personalities, would not have sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇᴅ long in the wild as he cannot ʀᴇᴛʀᴀᴄᴛ his head into his shell to seek shelter from ᴘʀᴇᴅᴀᴛᴏʀs.
But at the Geneva Natural History Museum, where he hatched in 1997, Bourgoin and her team of carers – who believe he is the world’s oldest bicephalic tortoise – can cater to his every need.
Despite These ᴄʜᴀʟʟᴇɴɢᴇs, Janus Has Lived A Relatively Healthy Life
Janus’s two heads are connected to a single body, meaning both leads must coordinate to carry out everyday functions.
For instance, while one head eats, the other has to support the body. Janus must be fed twice, as both heads have separate ᴅɪɢᴇsᴛɪᴠᴇ systems.
The Tortoise Has Been Under The Care Of The Museum Of Natural History In Geneva, Switzerland, Since Birth
The museum staff ensures that Janus receives medical attention and a proper diet.
The tortoise is under constant sᴜʀᴠᴇɪʟʟᴀɴᴄᴇ in case he ꜰʟɪᴘs ᴏᴠᴇʀ, which could be ꜰᴀᴛᴀʟ, and sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇᴅ a ʙʟᴀᴅᴅᴇʀ sᴛᴏɴᴇ operation in 2020.
His heads need periodic ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛ with ᴠᴀsᴇʟɪɴᴇ to sᴛᴏᴘ them from getting sᴏʀᴇ when they ʀᴜʙ together.
His two personalities also generate different moods and tastes that can occasionally lead to ᴄᴏɴꜰʟɪᴄᴛ, for example, over which direction to walk.
Janus’s longevity has been attributed to its species, diet, and excellent care. Greek tortoises have a lifespan of around 50-70 years, which means that Janus has plenty of life left in it.
The museum staff provides Janus with a balanced diet of vegetables and fruits, which helps keep the tortoise healthy.
Janus Has Become A Significant Attraction For Visitors To The Museum Of Natural History In Geneva
The museum staff has set up a special enclosure for Janus, where visitors can observe the tortoise up close. The chamber provides Janus ample space to move around and engage in daily activities.
Janus, the world’s oldest two-headed tortoise, has captured the world’s attention with its unique appearance and remarkable longevity.
Janus’s story is a testament to the resilience of animals and the importance of proper care. It is a reminder that there is always something new to discover, even in the animal kingdom.