A rare two-headed snake has hatched at an exotic pet shop in Devon.
The western hognose snake hatched at Exeter Exotics pet shop last month.
Shopkeeper Alicia Johns told the BBC she was “shocked and in disbelief” when she realized it had two heads.
Ms Johns said the snake should have hatched in its egg as twins, but the embryo did not split – resulting in the animal having two heads instead.
Bicephaly is the scientific name for snakes with two heads. Reptiles with this head tend to have shorter lifespans than other snakes.
Ms Johns told the BBC: “It’s fascinating, but sad nonetheless. If we ever felt that he had gotten to the point that he was no longer well, or that he was uncomfortable or in pain, then we would re-evaluate the situation.”
The snake isn’t for sale, but the shopkeeper said she’s currently open to naming suggestions for any head.
Speaking of the Art Western hognose, Ms. Johns added: “I just love her. I love that they’re quite vivacious and quite cheeky.”
“They’re not always good for beginners because they emit that little hiss to say, ‘Leave me alone,’ they’re pretty vocal.”
The reptile is commonly found in North America and lives in grasslands, prairies, and rocky, arid terrain. They are usually very light tan-brown in color with dark brown markings along the body and some larger brown markings around the head.
Last week, Exeter Exotics posted an update on the reptile on Instagram and said it is doing well so far.
The caption read, “So many people have been asking us how the Two Headed Western Hognose is doing and we are pleased to report that he appears to be doing well so far.” The head on the right prefers small ones, after Sardines-scented heads and will take them off yourself if you hold them out to him.
“The left head is interested in food, but we think the throat may be a little narrower on this head as it seemed to have trouble being offered food beforehand.
“Hopefully this will improve over time as the snake grows…maybe it just needs to eat smaller chunks of food. It’s strange to see the left-hand head doing the chewing motion of eating while the right-hand head eats,” the pet store’s post said.