A two-headed cobra has been born in China. Such anomalies among snakes are rare but they do happen. As far as anyone knows, this is the first incidence of such an occurrence with a cobra.
The owner of the snake is one Mr. Liu, a railroad worker who breeds snakes as a hobby. He bought 10 snake eggs to hatch at his home in Jiangxi province in eastern China.
He got the surprise of his life when he first saw the reptile, which is able to eat out of both sides of its mouth simultaneously.
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“When the cobras hatched out, one of them had two heads. The cobra is able to eat using both of its mouths…Its four eyes were cloudy at birth, but that will change when the snake sheds its skin for the first time,” said Liu.
Snakes born two heads have been known to live up to 20 years in captivity, and Thelma and Louise, a two-headed snake that lived at the San Diego Zoo in California, had 15 offspring during her lifetime. Still, these snakes have many difficulties, and two heads aren’t better than one in this instance.
The major problem with this anomaly is that both snake heads have to decide they are hungry at the same time, and then they have to agree to pursue the same prey. Then they might fight over which head gets to swallow the prey.
To make matters even more complicated, since snakes operate by smell, if one head catches the scent of prey on the other’s head, it may attack and try to swallow its second head!
Snakes with two heads occur in the same way Siamese twins are born to humans. A developing embryo starts out normally as it begins to split into identical twins, but then for some unknown reason that process is interrupted part way, leaving the twins joined. Variations occur at the point the embryo ceases to separate, and snakes, just like Siamese twins, can be joined at the bosom, hip or head.