What has two heads, two brains and a single "sporadic" body?
A rare snake that's slithered its way into public view at a Texas zoo.
Waco's Cameron Park Zoo announced earlier this month that its beloved two-for-one critter is "back on exhibit" after spending more than two years out of the public eye as it healed from an injury to one of its necks, according to a Facebook post. The "unique" western rat snake has a name for each brain – Pancho and Lefty – and has been in the zoo's custody since 2016 after a family in the area found it in their yard.
Each of the snake's brains has a different personality, senior zookeeper for reptiles and amphibians Maddie Michels-Boyce told The Dallas Morning News. The 8-year-old animal is between 2 to 3 feet long, and is overall in good health, she said.
"The right brain is much more dominant and tends to control where they go," she said. "The left brain is seemingly just along for the ride."
Without the zoo's intervention, officials said the snake "probably wouldn't have survived long in the wild."
"He has two brains that are giving conflicting commands to his one body, so his movements are more sporadic and uncoordinated than typical one-headed snakes," zoo officials wrote on Facebook. "The other problem is that he can easily injure his neck by trying to go in different directions and getting stuck on branches, rocks, and other obstacles."
That's what happened in February 2021, officials said, adding that the snake suffered a wounded on its left neck. The injury prompted zoo officials to remove the snake from the limelight so it could heal, a process that took until June 2022.
Now that Pancho and Lefty are fully recovered, the snake has been placed back into its aquarium – but with fewer obstacles.
"You may notice that his exhibit does not have many obstacles besides grass," zoo officials said. "We are hoping that this design provides enough cover for the snake to feel secure while also being physically safe, so he does not injure his neck again."
for more features.