Rare 2-headed black racer snake found in Florida home

Rare 2-headed snake found in Florida home

PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Finding a snake in Florida is not unusual. Finding a snake inside a Florida home is also common. But finding a two-headed snake in a Florida home? That’s a rarity.

A family in the west-central Florida city of Palm Harbor discovered a two-headed southern black racer, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported Wednesday.

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The reptile was found in the home of Kay Rogers, wildlife officials said in a Facebook post.

A rare two-headed southern black racer was recently found at a residence in Palm Harbor by Kay Rogers and family. This...

Posted by FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute on Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The two-headed snake is a product of a phenomenon called bicephaly, the FWC said. That is when a developing embryo begins to separate but fails to split into twins. That leaves the snake with two heads conjoined onto a single body.

These kinds of snakes are unlikely to survive in the wild, since each head contains a brain that makes decisions that are not always in alignment with the other. That could hinder a snake’s ability to feed or avoid a predator, the FWC said. That includes the tongues of each head flicking and reacting to movement -- but not always in the same way.

The snake is currently being cared for and monitored by staff members of the FWC.

The southern black racer is a non-venomous species that can grow to between about 2 feet to just over 4 feet, according to the Florida Museum.

The snake is common in Florida and can be found all over the state, the museum said.

A west-central Florida woman reported finding a two-headed southern black racer snake in her home.
A west-central Florida woman reported finding a two-headed southern black racer snake in her home. (Jonathan Mays FWC Research Institute)