Magdalena is not just a normal tortoise, the animal has two heads and five legs.
The reptile belongs to Roman Gresak from Zilina in Slovakia, who thought of a fitting name, “We call her Magdalena: one head is Magda and the second one is Lena”, Mr Gresak explained.
According to zoologists Magdalena‘s unique case is comparable to the case of Siamese twins. During the pregnancy the embryos didn’t separate correctly.
Each of the heads has its own nerve system and the tortoise has got two brains, which work idependently from each other. The question remains how the systems are connected within the body and which functions they share.
The tortoise would hardly survive in the wild though because other tortoises would exclude her from their collective.
Having two heads and five legs can also sometimes be a burden. “The second head sometimes doesn’t allow the tortoise to know where to go,” Mr Gresak said.
But one direction is already clear for Magdalena, the tortoise is heading for stardom. The Slovak press has announced that, similar to Paul the Octopus which predicted the Spanish win in soccer World Cup, Magdalena has been chosen to tip off the Ice Hockey championships, which take place in Slovakia this year.