Staff at the Sunshine Serpents conservation and enducation center in Lakeland, Florida recently received two incredible two. After incubating seven Honduran milk snake eggs, they were stunned when nine baby snake heads emerged on hatching day. One of the eggs contained twins and another contained an awesomely rare two-headed snake that’s also an albino.
Owner Daniel Parker, a University of Central Florida biologist, said: ‘I did a double take. I couldn’t believe what I was looking at.’
Biologist Parker says two-headed snakes have been documented to live as long as 20 years in captivity. With two brains giving commands to a single body, he says the snake, which isn’t venomous, would have a difficult time surviving in the wild.
The odds of a two-headed snake being born are 10,000 to one. We hope that both heads on this bicephalic beauty get along well. At least they’ll never be lonely.
Photos by Daniel Parker.
Field Herping Tip: Artificial Cover
Artificial cover (AC) is often used by snakes, as well as other reptiles and amphibians, as places to hide and thermoregulate. One can attract many animals by laying out AC, such as wooden boards, pieces of tin, plastic tarp, within their optimal habitat. Placing AC over rodent burrows in sun exposed spots proves to be quite productive for snakes.
1. Coast Gartersnake (Thamnophis elegans terrestris) under a piece of plastic tarp I laid out.
2. California Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae) and Pacific Gophersnakes (Pituophis catenifer catenifer) underneath a large wooden board.
3. Western Yellow-bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor mormon) underneath wooden board I placed near grassland. Note the rodent burrows.
Garter Snakes of the San Francisco Bay Area
1. Coast Gartersnake (Thamnophis elegans terrestris)- San Mateo County, CA
2. Santa Cruz Gartersnake (Thamnophis atratus atratus)- San Mateo County, CA
3. Diablo Range Gartersnake (Thamnophis atratus zaxanthus)- San Mateo County, CA
4. California Red-sided Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis infernalis)- Marin County, CA
5. San Francisco Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia)- San Mateo County, CA