Rare Two-Headed Snake Discovered by Florida Family

by Jennifer Shea
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A Florida family got a rare gift from their cat, who likes to roam outdoors: a two-headed snake.

Florida wildlife officials are now taking care of the snake, a southern black racer, the Associated Press reported.

Two Heads, One Snake

Bicephaly, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, is the phenomenon of having two heads on one body. And it happens when two monozygotic twins fail to separate as an embryo.

“Both heads tongue flick and react to movement, but not always in the same way,” the FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute said in a Facebook post. “Two-headed snakes are unlikely to survive in the wild as the two brains make different decisions that inhibit the ability to feed or escape from predators.”

An Unusual Pet

The snake turned up in Palm Harbor at the home of Kay Rogers and her family. Rogers’ 13-year-old daughter Avery found the snake on the carpet where the cat had left it. So she put it in a plastic container, WFTS reported. 

“We went and got like a habitat setup for it,” Rogers told  WFTS. “I was talking to a couple different reptile specialists and they were kind of helping me through what to do with him like getting him a heating pad and trying to feed him.”

Southern black racers are common in Florida, according to USA Today. They do not carry venom but they do bite in self-defense. Their diet mostly consists of frogs, lizards and smaller snakes.

Rogers and her family were happy to turn the snake over to Florida wildlife officials. In the meantime, they had been caring for the snake as a pet. 

“He was really an easy pet,” Rogers said. “[We] really just wanted to kind of see him thrive and have people that would take care of him and give him the best chance. I know, well my daughter’s research shows they don’t live well in the wild at all. I know captivity was the best hope for him.”

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