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February 25, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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A two-headed Central Asian tortoise has gone on show at the natural science museum in Kiev where visitors will be able to observe the different eating habits of each head over the next two months.

"Strictly speaking it isn't a tortoise with two heads, but rather two conjoined tortoises," Yuri Yuravliov, a zoologist, told AFP.

"The female has two heads, two hearts, four front legs, but only two hind ones, and one intestine," he explained.

The five-year-old tortoise has a heart-shaped shell, about a dozen centimetres (4.7 inches) in width, according to an AFP journalist.

The two heads are quite different, even in their feeding habits.

The left one is more dominant and active, "prefers green food, while the other prefers more brightly-coloured food -- carrots and dandelion flowers," said Yuravliov.

The tortoise, a species that can live 50 to 60 years, was kept from birth by a Ukrainian in his home, he said.

"Animals with this type of pathology are only rarely born and don't survive in natural condition."

AFP

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