A two-headed baby rattlesnake has been found in a New Jersey, US, forest.
The creature, which has been named Double Dave, appears to have two completely functional brains, although one head seems to have more control of the snake’s body than its companion.
While births of two-headed snakes occur more often than you might think, the animals rarely last long in the wild because having two brains makes them more vulnerable to predators.
The heads don’t always agree about which way to go, leading to slowed reaction times.
Luckily for Double Dave, he was spotted in the Pine Barrens, a wooded area of New Jersey, by two herpetologists who were surveying the area.
The herpetologists, themselves both called Dave, were aware that little Double Dave’s days might be numbered and took the 9ins snake back to Herpetological Associates in Pemberton, New Jersey.
The snake has four functioning eyes and two mouths, each of which could deliver a deadly bite.
Dave is apparently thriving in his new home.
“We’re just keeping our fingers crossed and hoping this thing stays healthy and we can keep it for a while,” herpetologist Dave Schneider told ABC News.
Schneider said that leaving Double Dave in the wild would have been a death sentence.
He added: “The extra head is definitely going to be a burden on it” in the wild and make it hard to get away from predators or crawl into holes.
“It appears the head on the right side is the more dominant one,” he continued.
“But every once in a while, the other head will want to go in a different direction.”
The scientists had to apply for a special state licence to keep the snake in captivity.
Bob Zappalorti, chief executive of Herpetological Associates of Burlington County, said that Double Dave was the first two-headed timber rattlesnake that had ever been found in the state.