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Extremely rare two-headed viper shocks locals in India

A terrifying two-headed snake was spotted outside a home in a city in India last week.

Identified as a Russell’s viper, the 11cm (4-inch) reptile was safely removed and relocated by a snake expert.

Russell’s vipers are extremely deadly with some of the most poisonous venom in the world.

The discovery was made in the Kalyan district of Maharashtra state, India on August 7 by shocked local Dimple Shah.

The cause of the two heads was put down to a genetic abnormality. While known, these cases are extremely rare and as a result, the snake was taken to a conservation facility for further research.

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Indian Forest Services officer Susanta Nanda said such genetic abnormalities lead to low survival rates in the wild.

‘The two-headed Russell’s viper was rescued in Maharashtram,’ he said. ‘The Russell’s viper is far more dangerous than most poisonous snakes because it harms you even if you survive the initial bite.”

If bitten, victims can experience pain and vomiting alongside kidney failure and death. The University of Michigan explains that these snakes are responsible for ‘thousands of deaths each year’ in parts of Asia.

What makes this particular specimen so vulnerable is that each head (measuring only 0.8-inches long) could follow its own separate instincts when it comes to catching prey.

Although extremely rare, there are other cases reported of two-headed snakes. Last year one nicknamed ‘Double Dave’ was found in the US.

It had two fully-formed heads, four eyes and two flickering tongues – which worked independently of each other.

In some cases, double-headed snakes are known to fight over food because they don’t realise the food goes to the same digestive system.

Much like the Indian Russell’s viper, Double Dave was carefully removed and taken away to be studied.


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