At the end of last summer in Woodbridge, Virginia, woman came out into the yard and found that her bed slowly slides a shiny copper head. For those places where she lived, it was not so unusual, because the region is home to a variety of snakes, from harmless to poisonous. But this was different: it had two heads. This phenomenon is called diapale. It is quite mysterious and appears in one out of every 100,000 snakes born in the wild, and one of 10 000 born in captivity.
Snakes with two heads to accommodate two brains with individuals, although one head is usually dominant over the other, which may lack the trachea, esophagus or even the eyes. Scientists suspect that this happens in the early stages of embryo development — possibly due to sudden changes in temperature, environmental pollution or inbreeding. Whatever the reason, these poor creatures don’t live long. Almost half died at birth, and only few survive after the first few months.
Woodbridge snake (or, um, snakes?) was not older than three weeks, but a noise. The photos were on Facebook, then CNN, The New York Daily News, and even Snapchat. Local supervision of hunting and fishing started ringing, people wanting to find out the details started to drop in the curious, wishing to see the snake up close, and zoos willing to take her into care.
A snake with two heads: the unhappy fate and sudden fame
“After 48 hours of this madness I realized that it’s back,” says state herpetologist John Kleopfer. “I don’t know how these celebrities like Kardashians live”.
Kleopfer enlisted the support of Salada Cooper, a respected breeder of snakes in Richmond, who agreed to contain forked snake on a strictly confidential basis. 27-year-old Called working with snakes since childhood, ever since I started catching them on the street and keep in jars under the bed. Now he’s got 300, they are kept in a locked temperature-controlled containers on the rack system out of PVC that resemble cabinets to store documents at first glance.
“Reptiles, actually, not my favorite animals,” says Salad. “I prefer birds and large mammals, but you can’t keep a house full of bears.”
Salad put the Copperhead in the food container with drilled air holes, placed in a wooden box marked “venomous snake”, screwed her and then took her to your object. Over the next two and a half months he kept her in quarantine in a special room with a separate heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to stop the spread of any potential pathogens in other reptiles. The snake did not move and did not eat. So once a week Called force-fed her, put to death him, gently clasping both heads with a soft sponge and at the same time slowly pushing the rodent tweezers in less-developed head, which, as it turned out, was the most developed esophagus and breathing tube. Soon the snake began to defecate and lose skin. Salad felt hope.
“As the snake struck the inconceivable amount of attention from the media, I put a lot of pressure, so I was keeping her alive,” he says.
But, alas, one morning in December of Salad went to check on her and found that the snake died. He was upset, but not surprised.
“If this snake was born in my collection, I would keep it not told. Honestly, I probably would have killed her himself, because snake just hard it would be to live.”
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