Mutant two-headed animals are very much a popular subject in more fantastical fiction, but scientists can tell you that, although extremely rare in nature, some animals in the real world have been born with more than one head. In fact a fairly recent event covered by The Daily Mail can verify this freaky wonder for the skeptics.
In Yulin, China last August 11, a local snake breeder who identified himself only as Huang discovered an unusual baby Chinese Cobra in his farm. Judging it to have hatched only 10 days before his discovery, Huang notes to the People’s Daily Online that the mutant snake, despite having not eaten or drunk anything since he found it, has continued to grow steadily and thrive.
The unusual Chinese Cobra starts fairly normal from its tail, only to have its body split in two three-fourths of the way, with the diverging “necks” ending in two fully functioning heads each with their own brains, that more than once attempted to bite and swallow one another according to Huang.
Hoping to keep the two-headed reptile alive, Huang had the cobra transferred from his snake farm to the Nanning Zoo in the care of its venomous snake specialists. However Nanning Zoo keeper Li Keqi does not have a clue on whether the young snake will survive for long, especially since it has yet to be observed eating and drinking despite its stable condition and growth – it had shed its skin once after being taken to the zoo.
Snakes are one creature in the animal kingdom that has the highest (yet still low overall) probability of developing the condition known as polycephaly, or being born with more than one head. The life span of multi-headed snakes on record has been pretty random; some survived only for a fewmonths, while a certain two-headed rat snake had the good fortune of lasting two decades. If Huang’s Chinese Cobra can get so lucky, it could grow to a length of about 1.2 to 1.5 meters, twin heads and all.
Photo Credit to www.people.com