Geneva's two-headed tortoise turns 20 years old


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Janus, the two-headed Greek tortoise that lives at Geneva's natural history museum, has set a new world record by celebrating its 20th birthday!

Janus is a Greek tortoise

Janus is a Greek tortoise
© walterluger/123RF

Named after the Roman god with two faces, Janus was born in Geneva's Natural History museum on September 3, 1997. While Greek tortoises are known for their incredible longevity - upwards of 125 years - Janus's condition meant that in the wild he would not have survived for long. However, the incredible care and dedication of his caregivers at the museum meant that Janus not only survived, but thrived eventually becoming the museum's, and to an extent Geneva's, beloved mascot.

By turning 20 years old Janus became the oldest two headed tortoise to have ever lived! However, it should be pointed out that the records previous holder only lived to the age of four, meaning that Janus has been breaking his own record for the last 16 years!

According to Janus's dedicated caregivers, he owes his long life to strict regiment, which includes daily baths, weekly UV sessions, a diet of lettuce and tomatoes and no sexual activity. His terrarium is also specifically designed to make sure that he does not come to any harm, it even has special sand to make it easier for him to move.

According to the Tribune de Geneve, Andreas Schmitz one of the researchers who has been looking after Janus, refused to answer whether the tortoise would be preserved after its death, instead saying: "For the moment we are not thinking about that. Instead we are focusing on another question: on the cake, should we put 20 or 40 candles?"

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Editorial Team
Posted on 10/09/2017
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