"Exceptionally rare" two-headed venomous snake found in Virginia backyard
An "exceptionally rare" two-headed venomous snake has been found in a woman's backyard in northern Virginia.
The reptile, which has been identified as a copperhead snake, was found by a woman named Stephanie, who reportedly posted a picture of it on Virginia Wildlife Management and Control’s Facebook page asking: "What are the odds to find a two-headed snake???"
After Stephanie made experts aware of her find, the case was taken up by the Wildlife Center of Virginia, which posted about the extraordinary spot on Facebook.
Writing on his personal Facebook page, herpetologist John D Kleopfer noted "Wild bicephalic snakes are exceptionally rare" and explained that creatures like this don't tend to live long due to "too many challenges living day to day with two heads".
"This two-headed copperhead was found in northern Virginia," he wrote. "Wild bicephalic snakes are exceptionally rare, because they just don’t live that long. Too many challenges living day to day with two heads."
He continued: "Thanks to the Wildlife Center of Virginia we were able to determine that the left head has the dominant esophagus and the right head has the more developed throat for eating. With a little luck and care, we hope to eventually donate it to a zoological facility for exhibit."
Kleopfer also later spoke to USA Today about the incredible find, reportedly stating that the snake, a member of the viper family, is currently being cared for by an experienced viper keeper.
One day, he said, they hoped it would be put on display at a zoo for the public to see. Speaking to the website, he also added that this particular snake was young, about two weeks old, and very small, about six inches long.
Although the copperhead is venomous, the herpetologist claimed that the "little guy" wasn't much of a danger to the people around it, stating the viper was mainly attacking insects.
Despite Kleopfer's insistence that the snake is mostly harmless, this didn't stop people on social media being disturbed.
Stephanie, the woman who initially discovered it in a flower bed in her backyard, stated: "I wanted to look away but couldn’t stop looking at it. Plays trick on the eyes."
The hashtags used in her Facebook post included: "#sohardnottolookatit", "#nobodyhastimeforthat" and "#justlookingatthismakesmeswear".
In addition, other people on Facebook expressed their terror in the comment section, with a social media user named Shawna Barnum Shriner putting "This is what nightmares are made of." She was joined by Patrycja Meier who wrote "You guys say "cool" I say 'stress vomit inducing' But hey. To each their own!!"
However, other people online slammed those who were disgusted with the discovery, with Nick DaJeeper Rivas putting: "It's sad that such a magnificent animal attracts so much ignorance." He was supported by a man named Jeffery Clark who commented saying "This is amazing ..."