Animal Facts Reptiles

Two Headed Snake


Dare you to ask this guy if he’s been drinking. He’s kind of crazy, it’s like a reverse bobble head, and it doesn’t seem to affect him at all when he move side to side. I wish I could be that sturdy. Now, I wonder if it would have the same effect on snake below. You would really need to have some good teamwork skills.

To me the thought of a two-headed snake is terrifying, but still interesting in its own right. This phenomenon is rare, but does happen. It’s called Polycephaly, it happens with both humans and animals. It occurs when the embryo begins to split into identical twins, but then stops before the birth. Or in a snake’s case, before the egg is hatched. With snakes this occurs at the rate of about one in 10,000 births.

The old saying, two heads are better than one doesn’t apply in this case, as each of these heads have their own personalities and needs. As a snakes hunting capabilities rely highly on their scent, if one head smells dinner the other might not be on the same page; therefore, making it harder for one head to react quickly.


Snakes are very competitive in nature, so when one head finds food the other might try to fight him for it, to the point where they’ve been known to swallow their sibling if the other has prey in its mouth. They’ve also been known to kill each other during this process, either by aggressive behavior or trying so hard to separate that they inadvertently kill themselves.

With these types of situations depending on where the separation occurs will help the snake’s likelihood to survive. If it occurs close to the head, neither will have the opportunity to independently hunt. Even if they share the same stomach and have the same hunger needs, they will not collectively work together in order to sustain one body.

Snakes with this condition have been known to survive in captivity for long periods of time, but that is rare and they usually only survive around 2 years. In Arizona State University one lived for nearly 17 years, but in the snakes in the wild like this one might not be so lucky, so the researchers say anyway.

On the other hand, how would researchers know if they don’t have the ability to study them? Meaning be careful the next time you go hiking, has running into one snake is bad enough, but running into one snake with two heads would equal double trouble.


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