The venomous fangs of a copperhead snake are one thing. But the recent sighting of a rare two-headed snake in Northern Virginia is alarming — and mesmerizing — both social media spectators and scientists.
Earlier this month, a Woodbridge resident stumbled upon the young mutant reptile in a neighbor's yard. "I wanted to look away but couldn't stop looking at it. Plays trick[s] on the eyes," Stephanie Myers told USA Today after finding the snake and posting photos of it to her Facebook page.
What's even more exceptional is that the snake was discovered alive, according to state herpetologist J.D. Kleopfer, a reptiles and amphibians specialist at the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
Two-headed copperhead snakes are "extremely rare" to find in the wild, Kleopfer told NPR's Scott Simon on Weekend Edition Saturday. Their competing heads often contribute to their short life span. "They can't coordinate escaping from predators and they can't coordinate capturing foods, so they tend to not live," he says.