Angelica Burguan strokes the shell of Januswhispering to him as he hurries to his ‘home’, with his two heads to rub against each other.
Janos, about to celebrate his 25th birthday, has too two hearts, two pairs of lungs and two separate personalities. It would not have survived in the wild since it cannot withdraw the two heads into its shell to avoid being preyed upon by predators.
But in Natural History Museum of Geneva, where his egg was hatched in 1997, Burguan and her team make sure to meet his every need. As they believe, it is the older two-headed turtle in the world.
Janos is eating only organic salad and has a daily massage and bath with green tea and chamomile. For exercise, he regularly goes for a walk – sometimes after music – and he also has his own, specially made for him, skateboard.
“I think it’s because we care about him so much and are devoted to him that he’s still with us today,” Burguan said.
Janos is a Greek turtle named after the two-faced Roman god. This weekend the Museum will throw a party in his honor.
But his life is not always easy. He is constantly monitored to ensure he doesn’t tip over – which could be fatal – and in 2020 he underwent surgery to remove gallstones. His heads periodically need Vaseline treatment because they rub against each other and the skin hurts.
The his two personalities sometimes they have different moods and preferenceswhich leads to… conflict, for example, when they want to go in different directions.
“The right head is more curious, more active, has a stronger personality. The left one is more passive and likes to eat,” Burguan said, explaining that one head prefers endives and the other carrots.