Rare Two-Headed Wolf Snake Discovered In Indian Forest
The rare serpent was discovered by wildlife enthusiast and photographer Rakesh Mohalick in the Dhenkikot forest range of Keonjhar wildlife sanctuary in Odisha.
The newly born non-venomous snake measures 14cm long and has two fully formed heads, with four working eyes and two flickering tongues. Each of the heads work independently, which sadly means such creatures rarely live very long in the wild.
They also tend not to be warmly welcomed by humans, as in many cultures they are viewed as a portent of disaster - though it seems a little late for portents of disaster at the moment, doesn't it?
While two-headed snakes are very rare, they do occur naturally through the same process as conjoined twins from monozygotic twin embryos, with two-headed animals termed as bicephalic or dicephalic.
In 2018, a woman in the US was given a fright when she chanced upon a venomous wild two-headed snake while doing a spot of gardening.
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Rather than screaming and running a mile like many of us would have done, quick-thinking Stephanie Myers, from Northern Virginia, managed to safely capture the copperhead snake and take some snaps of it, which she posted to Virginia Wildlife Management and Control's Facebook page, asking: "What are the odds to find a two-headed snake?"
The post soon came to the attention of herpetologist John D Kleopfer, who highlighted its slim chances of survival in the wild, adding that Stephanie may have saved its life by finding it.
In a post, Kleopfer wrote: "This two-headed copperhead was found in northern Virginia. Wild bicephalic snakes are exceptionally rare, because they just don't live that long. Too many challenges living day to day with two heads.
"Thanks to the Wildlife Centre of Virginia we were able to determine that the left head has the dominant esophagus and the right head has the more developed throat for eating. With a little luck and care, we hope to eventually donate it to a zoological facility for exhibit."
Unfortunately though, despite the best efforts of viper breeder Cooper Sallade - who even tried force feeding the two heads - the snake died after a few months.
Speaking to Wired, Cooper said: "Since the snake had such an incomprehensible amount of media attention, there was a lot of pressure on me to keep that thing alive.
"If it had been a snake that was born in my collection, I wouldn't have told anybody about it. Honestly, I would probably have euthanized it myself, because it was so hard for the snake, just being alive."
Enjoy the rest of your day folks.
Featured Image Credit: Jam Press