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Do Two-Headed Snakes Really Exist?

Niki Acker
By
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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Two-headed snakes do exist, but they are rare. These snakes are actually conjoined twins, or sometimes, a fully formed individual with a parasitic twin that only consists of a head. Though they are a rarity, they are more common than other animals with two heads and are sometimes on display at zoos or in traveling animal side shows. Some museums have preserved specimens of two-headed snakes.

Snakes with two heads do not have a long life expectancy, particularly in the wild. Each head has a brain and, usually, some control over the shared body, and the two cannot communicate with each other. Movement is therefore difficult, as each head may try to travel in a different direction, and in the worst case scenario, the heads may fight or try to eat each other.

Some two-headed snakes share a stomach, while others have a stomach for each head. In one with separate stomachs, one of the heads may die if it routinely loses fights over food. Even if there is only one stomach, the snake may not be able to capture prey if the heads are competing for food.

Despite these difficulties, some two-headed snakes have been known to live up to 20 years in captivity. Thelma and Louise, a two-headed snake that lived at the San Diego Zoo in California, had 15 offspring during her lifetime. Researchers have theorized that the inbreeding of snakes for zoos and pets may lead to an increased incidence of snakes with two heads, but this is very difficult, if not impossible, to verify, as it would entail getting an idea of how often these snakes are born in the wild. The fact that they would not live very long makes the task even more daunting.

In 2000, a two-headed snake named We earned a bid of $150,000 US dollars (USD) on eBay, but the site's policy against the auction of live animals prevented the sale. Instead, Nutra Pharma Corporation adopted the snake in 2006 to aid in their study of the pharmacological benefits of snake venom.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Niki Acker
By Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a All Things Nature editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range of interesting and unusual topics to gather ideas for her own articles. A graduate of UCLA with a double major in Linguistics and Anthropology, Niki's diverse academic background and curiosity make her well-suited to create engaging content for WiseGeekreaders. "
Discussion Comments
By anon52693 — On Nov 16, 2009

can the snakes have sex?

By anon265 — On Apr 20, 2007

do we have two headed king cobra?

Niki Acker
Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a All Things Nature editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide...
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