Super Rare Two-Headed Snake Now on Display at Texas Zoo

Pancho and Lefty are back on the stage.

This week, the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, Texas announced that a fan favorite was back on exhibit: Pancho and Lefty, the two respective heads of a two-headed snake are finally back after a two-year hiatus.

A family outside of Waco found the western rat snake in their backyard in 2016 and donated the snake to the zoo. The zoo became the snake's permanent home due to concerns over its survivability in the wild.

"This snake probably wouldn't have survived long in the wild as he has two brains that are often giving conflicting commands to his one body, so his movements are more sporadic and uncoordinated than typical one-headed snakes," the zoo wrote in a Facebook post.

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"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."

Pancho and Lefty were removed from their usual exhibit in February 2021 following one such injury. The snake suffered a wound to its left neck (Lefty's side) and needed time to recover.

"Our veterinary and reptile teams worked hard to keep the wound bandaged and clean. It took until June last year for the wound to fully heal. Now that he has been eating well and the wound has been fully closed for a year, we are excited to put him back out in the freshwater aquarium building," the zoo said.

Pancho and Lefty's new and improved exhibit has been cleared of all obstacles other than grass. The zoo hopes that this will keep the snake from injuring the neck again, while also providing enough cover for Pancho and Left to feel secure.

"We love how invested our community is in the zoo and in this snake. Even though he has been off exhibit for over two years, we still regularly get questions about him, so we are excited that he is visible for everybody again."

Two-headed snakes come from a mutation in the reproduction process known as bicephaly—essentially, an embryo fails to split completely. They are incredibly rare, with only 1 in 100,000 snakes being born with two heads.

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