Rare 2-Headed Snake Discovered in Florida After Family's Cat Brings Creature into the House
A two-headed snake has been found in Florida after a family's cat brought the rare animal into their home.
According to a report from LiveScience.com, Palm Harbor resident Kay Rogers discovered the two-headed reptile a month ago when her cat Olive dropped the animal on her living room floor. Rogers told ClickOrlando.com that she and her family thought that the snake was injured when they first found it before her daughter discovered that it had two heads
"Originally I thought my daughter was kidding when she said that," she told the outlet. "Then I saw him and was amazed, I had never seen anything like that."
The family named the snake "Dos" — Spanish for "two" — and Rogers later described in a Facebook post that the animal's biggest issue was eating.
"We are trying lots of things but he has trouble coordinating his two heads," she wrote.
The family then contacted staff at The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Research Institute, who agreed to help them out with their newfound discovery.
"We are actively working with a biologist from FWCs research department for a more permanent placement but so far he’s doing well with us," Rogers added at the time, referring to the Florida Wildlife Conservation. The group later brought the animal to their facility.
FWC experts identified Dos as a young southern black racer, a nonvenomous snake that is found commonly in the southeastern United States, per the Florida Museum.
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According to the institute, the condition — known as bicephaly — "is uncommon but happens during embryo development when two monozygotic twins failed to separate, leaving the heads conjoined onto a single body."
They added in their own Facebook post that each snake head was able to move its eyes, neck, and tongue on its own, but "not always in the same way."
The group also noted that two-headed snakes sadly struggle to survive in the wild as their separate brains make different decisions. This can affect them when they are trying to eat or attempting to escape from harm's way.
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In 2018 a two-headed viper made its way onto a property in Virginia before a bicephalic baby rattlesnake appeared in New Jersey in 2019.
But the two-headed southern black racer marks the first appearance of a two-headed snake for the FWC.
"It's the first two-headed snake that I've personally seen, though I've observed it in turtles before," Jonathan Mays, a herpetologist for the Florida Wildlife Conservation's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, told CNN.
According to LiveScience.com, bicephaly can appear in many types of animals, not just snakes.