IMAGES A Big Month for Two-Headed Animals

A Big Month for Two-Headed Animals

January has been a busy month for two-headed animals. But then, maybe it's supposed to be -- after all, the month is named after the two-headed Roman god, Janus.

Earlier this week, January saw its third two-headed calf born in an Armenian village. It's currently being fed artificially and according to local veterinarians, it has characteristics of both sexes.

According to reports, owner Ramon Torres said the calf came out legs first and appeared normal until the baby's two distinct heads got stuck inside. A vet was forced to cut open the cow to safely deliver the calf, which unfortunately led to the mother's death.

The two-headed creature didn't last much longer. The owner claimed to have "sacrificed" the animal.

"I almost cried," said Todd Ray, who has 22 live two-headed animals on display at his Venice Beach Freakshow. "You rarely see a cow born with two heads separate like that. They killed probably the rarest animal alive. It had a stout look -- that animal would've made it. I would've bought that man a house for that cow."

The month's first two-headed calf was born on Jan. 2 in the Republic of Georgia and made headlines around the world. Both heads have been accepting milk fed from a bottle.

Days later, a two-headed, seven-legged camel was reportedly discovered in Saudi Arabia. The mother was in labor for two days before a veterinarian delivered it stillborn by cesarean section. Its owner, Hassan Fahmi, said it was the strangest case he'd ever seen in camels.

That same week, in Swink, Colo., a conjoined-twin lamb entered the world. Like the camel, it was delivered by C-section. The baby ewe had a total of eight legs, three eyes, four ears, two tails, one nose and one mouth. It survived for only four minutes.

And though never actually born, last week two two-headed shark embryos were uncovered after being hidden away in a private collection. They've been preserved in jars since their discovery off the coast of Argentina back in 1934.

Granted, the two heads that depict Janus represent the past and future -- looking back on the previous year and looking ahead to the new one. But might there be something to so many unusual births this month?

According to Leonard Sonnenschein, president of the World Aquarium in St. Louis, two-headed animals aren't as unusual as one might think.

"There are often two-headed cows, goats, camels, llamas and sheep, but very few are born alive," he said. "Most that are born alive only live two or three days."

January might see a greater share of those births than other months.

"Being that spring is the birthing time for many ungulates, I don't find it odd that two-headed stillborn ungulates are more likely to be prematurely delivered due to the fact that they are at risk and therefore mothers generally do not carry them full term," Sonnenschein told AOL News.

Sonnenschein's aquarium has cared for numerous double-headed creatures over the years. In 2006 it boasted 11 living twin-headed animals. Currently it has three, plus "We" -- a preserved two-headed rat snake that resided there for eight years.

We has been succeeded by a live 4-foot-long, two-headed carpet python named Us. It's joined by a two-headed, eight-legged red-eared slider turtle and a two-headed musk turtle. The noggins on the latter are a perfect 180 degrees from each other, reminiscent of the Pushmi-pullyu from "Dr. Dolittle."

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