South Africa: A rare two-headed snake has been found

A rare example of a snake with two heads was discovered and recovered in the town

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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South Africa: A rare two-headed snake has been found

Incredible discovery in South Africa. In fact, a rare example of a snake with two heads was discovered and recovered in the garden of an house. It would be an egg-eating snake suffering from biicephaly. The animal was found in Ndwedwe, in the KwaZulu-Natal province, about 60 km from Durban, in the backyard of a man.

To protect him, the man decided to put him in a container and called snake expert Nick Evans. Evans together with his wife Joelle and mother Elaine founded in 2015 the KwaZulu-Natal Amphibian & Reptile Conservation, a reserve dedicated to the protection of these animals.

The snake in question is a Dasypeltis. Dasypeltis species have various colors, ranging from brown to black, from green to gray. They are non-poisonous snakes, possess a good sense of smell and touch, but very bad eyesight, with which they seek food.

They are able to feed themselves by finding their source of calories, eggs, thanks to the tongue and a particular dimple at the height of the head.

South Africa: A rare two-headed snake has been found

These snakes have undergone particular physical modifications that allow them to swallow birds' eggs.

They are snakes of modest size, the diameter of which does not exceed three centimeters. Along the chin there is not the usual crease present in other snakes, and the skin on the sides of the mouth has exceptional dilatory capacity.

The teeth are small and few in number, and are found only in the back of the jaws. The bones of the jaw are welded together, while those of the jaw are much more mobile. But the most notable peculiarity of these snakes are the cervical vertebrae: they have protrusions in the lower part that emerge directly into the esophagus and are covered with enamel; in this way these structures resemble real teeth.

Bicephaly is an unusual but not very rare malformation. It would affect approximately one new born for every 10,000 snakes. It is no coincidence that cases have been observed both in the wild and in captivity. Normally these unfortunate individuals do not survive for long, precisely because the two heads involve difficulties in moving, feeding and defending, making them particularly attractive prey for predators.

Pics by Nick Evans