WATCH: North Carolina Breeder Shows Off Two-Headed Albino Milk Snake

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo By Karine Aigner for the Washington Post Magazine)

Quite an unusual animal to show, a North Carolina snake breeder revealed the latest reptile in his possession. A two-headed Honduran albino milk snake. 

WGHP-TV reports that Jimmy Mabe of Farmer, North Carolina stated that the snake has two heads that share one set of lungs and a stomach. He also explained that both of the reptile’s heads appear to be functional. “The right side is a little more aggressive than the left,” he said. “So it wants to bite me more.” 

Mabe further explained that the snake’s two heads are still trying to figure out how to co-exist. “They do have a different mind to go in a different direction than the other,” he continued. “They can’t always be fighting over which way to go.” 

Mabe then shared that the public will be able to see the unusual snake at the Repticon Show, which will take place at Charlotte’s Cabarrus Arena on October 15th and 16th. He added that the whole thing wasn’t anything he planned. “It’s just luck. [Snakes don’t take up a lot of space, and they don’t carry any diseases.” 

Two-Headed Snakes Are Rare But Not Unheard Of

According to National Geographic, although two-headed snakes are rare, they are not unheard of. In a March 2002 article, it was revealed that scientists were able to study a two-headed reptile and how the unusual mutation impacts the creature’s ability to both hunt and procreate.

Speaking about two-headed snakes, Gordon Burghardt, a herpetologist at the University of Tennessee at the time, stated that he and his team hear about this kind of reptile every so often. However, he said that the chances of the animal surviving in the wild are nil. “Just watching them feed, often fighting over which head will swallow the prey, shows that feeding takes a good deal of time,” he explained. “They also have a great deal of difficulty deciding which direction to go, if they had to respond to an attack quickly they would just not be capable of it.” 

James Badman, who was with Arizona State University at the time, said having snakes having two heads would be a “hindrance” in the wild. “It would be much harder to catch prey.”

National Geographic further explained that two-headed snakes are considered to have an anomaly and this is not considered evolution. The reptile also typically occurs in the same way that human Siamese twins do. An embryo begins to split into identical twins. However, it then stops partway. This leaves the twins joined. It was noted that among human conjoined twins, 75 percent are either stillborn or die within 24 hours after birth.

However, no one actually knows how long two-headed snakes can survive. Van Wallach, who was a researcher at Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, added, “There are no statistics available since the majority of two-headed snakes cannot survive long after birth in the wild.”