This long-necked freshwater turtle was affectionately named “Polly”, short for Polycephaly, a condition of having more than one head which is derived from the Greek term ‘poly’ which means ‘many’.

Polly was rescued from a pond at the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney by volunteer Linda Wilson as Rangers were very concerned for her welfare. She is part of a bale that has resided in the Garden for around ten years and was losing weight because she was having difficulty eating.

Image: Lynleigh Greig

Just like “Pollyanna” from the 1913 novel by Eleanor H. Porter, Polly was taken into care by Sydney Wildlife’s Northern Beaches reptile coordinator Lynleigh Greig.

Similar to a scene out of “Dr Pimple Popper”, our volunteer vets discovered Polly wasn’t a two-headed turtle after all! She actually had a massive abscess possibly caused by a fish hook lodged in her mouth.

Fast forward three weeks post-treatment and Polly’s got her appetite back. She’s eating really well now and couldn’t get enough blood worms into her little mouth. Plus, she’s looking much prettier!

In a ‘happily ever after ending’, Linda returned Polly to the main pond in the Gardens. She took a quick look around and enthusiastically dove out of sight – back into her murky realm.

So, please fish responsibly to avoid causing injuries to wildlife like Polly.

Our volunteer vets treat native birds and animals for free, but to contribute to our costs to rehabilitate Polly and other sick, injured and orphaned wildlife, please head to


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