Two-Headed Tortoise Believed To Be Oldest Of Her Kind Is Turning 23

by : Lucy Connolly on :
New Photos Of Two-Headed Tortoise Released Ahead Of 23rd Birthday Next MonthPA Images

A two-headed tortoise is about to turn 23 and – to celebrate – our timelines are about to be blessed with brand new adorable pictures of the creature.

The Greek tortoise, called Janus, was born in the Museum of Natural History in Geneva, Switzerland, on September 3, 1997, from an egg that had been placed in an incubator .


Named after the Roman god with two faces, Janus has unsurprisingly become one of the main attractions within the museum, with the tortoise also being the museum’s mascot.

two-headed greek tortoisePA Images

Although many animals born with two heads in the wild usually die at a young age, Janus has beaten the odds and is actually thought to be the oldest of her kind.

Despite the animal’s relatively old age, stunning new photos show Janus being positively pampered in the museum, with the tortoise even being treated to a bath every day and some tasty snacks.


Janus’ carer, Angelica – who has been taking care of the tortoise since 2013 – even takes her out onto the roof of the museum if the weather permits, where a grassy area has been created especially for the animal. This allows Janus to sunbathe and stretch her legs to her heart’s content.

two-headed greek tortoisePA Images

However, it’s necessary for Janus to follow a strict regime – including her daily baths but also weekly UV sessions, a diet of lettuce and tomatoes and no sexual activity – as her malformation makes her extremely fragile.

To aid this routine, from today, August 11, Janus will be getting transferred her new home – a brand new terrarium – as her old home became unsuitable due to security reasons.


Pierre-Henri Heizmann, who took care of the move of Janus, told EN24 News it was necessary to remove the thermal loads in her old home – the lobby near the cafeteria – and instead place them in the terrarium.

two-headed greek tortoisePA Images
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And while Heizmann emphasised it is ‘not [the museum’s] vocation to take care of live animals’, there was never any question of transferring Janus to a zoo.

The tortoise is entitled to the care of two animal keepers at the museum, who take turns at her side throughout the week, because she was born there.


Happy birthday, Janus!

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Animals, Nature, Now, Switzerland


EN24 News
  1. EN24 News

    Animals – The public will see Janus, star of the Museum of Geneva again