Australian coastal carpet python gives birth to two-headed snake in Wodonga

By @vitthernandez on
Two-headed Snake
Reptile and amphibian shop owner Stefan Broghammer holds a Royal python which was born with two heads, at his shop in Weigheim near Stuttgart July 4, 2011. Reuters/Michael Dalder

The Greek mythological creature amphisbaena describes an ant-eating serpent with a head at each end. An Australian snake breeder hatched on Saturday a baby snake, but there was something unusual about the creature.

The baby coastal carpet python has two heads, in effect a Siamese snake, because both ends are on the same end and the animal has a tail. The two-headed python is the result of the pairing of a five-year-old female snake that breeder John McNamara owns, and a male owned by another Wodonga breeder, Ben Robson, reports Victoria Harbor Times.

McNamara explains the Siamese snake was the result of two yolks that were not properly split, similar to the case of how human Siamese twins are developed. He made public his new pet to find a veterinarian who could help him determine which head is the dominant one, what reaches the stomach and what organs and other body parts are conjoined and could cause complications.

To find which is the dominant head, the first feed is vital, says Dr Ben Phillips, a bio-scientist and senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne School of Bio-Sciences. He says the survival of the snake would depend on how well everything is integrated inside.

Dan Damblett, a ranger with Hands on Wildlife Townsville, says he has heard of double-headed rat snakes that survived for two decades. However, in other cases, similar snakes lived for only a few days.

Phillips explains that because snakes are not really that clever, if a mouse is throw to a two-headed snake, one head will grab the rodent’s head and the other the rat’s back, but it would also try to eat each other, reports Border Mail.

He adds that any animal with two heads is fascinating “because there is a sense of them being separate entities and the same.” And that has happened in naming the python because McNamara views it as two and gave the snake the names Katana and Wakizashi. However, his daughter sees it as one and gave the unique animal the moniker The Twin Destroyers. The names that McNamara gave the twin heads are names of short Japanese swords used by samurais. 

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