Rare two-headed snake named after Batman villain

Planet Earth: Iguanas try to outrun snakes in thrilling moment

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In a rare, one-in-100,000 mutation, a two-headed snake has been born in Australia. Hatched in captivity, the carpet python was taken to “The Unusual Pet Vets” in Jindalee, Queensland, after emerging from its egg to reveal its strange nature. The snake was soon named “Two-Face”, much like Batman’s partially-disfigured nemesis Harvey Dent, Gotham City’s district attorney turned villain. Unfortunately, much like Two-Face in the 2008 film “The Dark Knight”, the snake did not survive very long after receiving its nickname.

Veterinarian Dr Josh Llinas said: “The snake was hatched in captivity and was initially thought to be twins in the egg — but when it came out of the egg, it was apparent that was not the case.

“It is not known for sure how this happened, but it is thought it was destined to be twins that did not fully divide.

“All other individuals in the clutch were normal, so it is not expected to have been an issue with the incubation.”

Just as it is extremely rare for snakes to be born with two heads, unfortunately it is rarer still for such unusual specimens to survive for long.

Dr Llinas continued: “In this case, the challenges would be basic ambulation difficulties due to the severe spinal changes and the position of the heads.

“There would be difficulty eating as this species is a constrictor which would have lead to issues. It would have been difficult for any food to pass past the insertion point of the second head.

“There were two hearts and one was a lot smaller — it was being compressed by the larger heart, and it was suspected it would have failed in the near future.

“A number of tests were performed and the snake was unlikely to live with a good quality of life. Which was why euthanasia was performed to end and prevent suffering.

A postmortem analysis of the specimen revealed that — in addition to having two heads — the snake also had two brains, lungs, stomachs, gall bladders and hearts.

However, both shared a single kidney and set of intestines — and they had but one testicle between them, unlike normal snakes, which sport two.

According to the veterinarian, each head functioned independently of the other.

However, it was the left head that appeared to be dominant and ultimately determined in which direction the creature moved in.

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Another two-headed snake — this one a species of garter snake — was found in Nebraska, in the USA, back in September last year.

Scientists refer to the condition of having more than one head as polycephaly.

Polycephaly has been seen in various animals — including cats, cows, goats, pigs, sheep, mice, birds and turtles.

The condition has also been seen among humans.

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