Two-Headed Timber Rattlesnake Neonate Found In New Jersey
September 6, 2019
Herpetologists with Herpetological Associates of Burlington County in New Jersey discovered a two-headed timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) that has two fully formed heads, four eyes, and two tongues attached to a single body. The snake, also known as a cane break rattlesnake, or banded rattlesnake, is a neonate about 8- to 10- inches long. The reptile was found in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens area and was taken in by Herpetological Associates.
It is hoped that the snake will be able to eat normally.
"It appears the head on the right side is the more dominant one and the other head will just kind of go along, but every once in a while the other head will want to go in a different direction,” Dave Schneider told 6ABC Philadelphia.
The next step is to try and feed the snake, named Double Dave, and to see if it has a functioning digestive system/
“We’ll try with the more dominant head first and get down and swallow the prey normally, and then eventually we’ll get it x-rayed to see what is going on internally does it have two stomachs, Dave Schneider said.”
The snake will stay at Herpetological Associates. Hopefully it can live out a longer life then it would have in the wild.
The timber rattlesnake is a heavy bodied snake that is known to be passive and slow moving. In the eastern United States, the snake can be found in forests, meadows and rocky hillsides, while in the southern part of the country, the snake inhabits tall grasses. Issues facing this species includes the snake fungal disease, agriculture, habitat destruction, and human development.
Two-headed snakes are rare but not uncommon. They are said to live a shortened life in the wild due to the fact that they have two heads, which may inhibit their defenses when faced by predators.