A seasoned Durban snake rescuer got the shock of his life when he received an image of a double-headed egg-eater snake he was asked to rescue in Ndwedwe, north of Durban.
Snake rescuer and conservationist, Nick Evans said he was attending a braai recently when he received an image from Ndwedwe of the two-headed snake.
He said it was a southern brown egg-eater, a common, totally harmless species. However, this one had two heads.
Evans said two-headed snakes have hatched in captivity and in the wild, but it’s very rare and it’s a deformity.
“The gentleman in Ndwedwe had found it out in the open, in his yard. I’m sure he was just as surprised as me.
“He didn’t want anyone to harm it and put it in a bottle. He asked me to collect it and take it away from there. I thought that was really nice of him.”
Having never seen a two-headed snake before, Evans said he jumped at the opportunity.
He said it was such a strange sight seeing the deformed snake.
“It’s a juvenile, around 30 cm in length. It was quite interesting to see how it moved. Sometimes, the heads would try to go in opposite directions from one another, other times, it would rest one head on the other. That seemed the most effective way of moving,” explained Evans.
He said the snake was now in professional care and said there is no point in releasing it back into the wild as it wouldn’t survive.
“As far as I am aware, they don’t generally live long. This one wouldn’t last long at all in the wild. It can barely move, and when it does, it does so incredibly slowly. Very easy pickings for a predator,” he said.
Evans said if it hatched months or weeks ago, and survived this long, he would be truly surprised.
“I’m intrigued to hear if it can feed on its own or not. They only eat bird eggs, so it will have to be tiny eggs.”
Evans said they will study the snake as they want to try and learn as much as possible from this little one.
He added that he was grateful to the resident for saving the snake, and for calling him.