There are two types of people in this world; those who love snakes and those who don’t. But regardless of which group you identify with, a recent discovery in Virginia is sure to stimulate some interest.
In a Facebook post shared this week by the Virginia Wildlife Management and Control, we learn how a Woodbridge-based woman happened upon a rather peculiar discovery in her neighbor’s garden: a two-headed copperhead snake.
Image Credit: J.D. Kleopfer/Facebook
Concerned by her finding, the woman allegedly reported the animal to local authorities, and it didn’t take long before experts arrived at the scene to remove the snake from the premises.
"Wild bicephalic snakes are exceptionally rare because they just don’t live that long. Too many challenges living day to day with two heads," explained animal specialist J.D. Kleopfer from Virginia’s Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
"We’ll provide an update when we are confident of its survival. It has a tough road ahead, so keep your fingers crossed."
Two-headed animals aren’t unheard of, but they can be extraordinarily rare. They share much in common with Siamese twins, in which a developmental mutation results in two animals being conjoined at birth.
Despite the famous phrase “two heads are better than one,” that’s not the case here. Two-headed animals often have a harder time surviving in the wild because both heads have minds of their own. As such, one head wants to do one thing, while the other head wants to do another; this can be particularly problematic when it comes to feeding.
“Thanks to the Wildlife Center 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,” Kleopfer added.
“With a little luck and care, we hope to eventually donate it to a zoological facility for exhibit. It’s currently being cared for by a private reptile keeper with lots of experience in breeding and rearing vipers.”
Now that the snake is in safe hands with a reptile expert, it will no longer have to hopelessly fend for itself amid all the implied challenges that come with having two indecisive minds attached to the same body. With a little luck, it should live a longer life than it would have if left alone in the wild.