As if snakes weren’t terrifying enough, a two-headed rattlesnake was recently found by an electric worker in Forrest City, Arkansas.

The two-headed rattlesnake was encountered during a routine home inspection — although the discovery was far from routine. The snake was found sunning itself alongside two other normal-looking rattlesnakes, all measuring less than a foot in length, attributing to their youth and probable sibling relationship. 

Timber rattlesnakes are venomous pit vipers endemic to the eastern United States, usually growing to 3-5 feet in length. While two-headed snakes do not usually survive long in the wild, scientists have taken over care of this particular specimen now residing at the Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center.

Polycephaly is the scientific term for an animal born with two heads, essentially twins that did not completely separate from each other. Their heads function independently which can make movement coordination difficult, attributing to their typically short lifespan in the wild.

This polycephalic snake is under the care of Dr Lori Neuman-Lee, an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas. She is hopeful the snake will live a longer life under human care so that scientists can learn more about the behavior of polycephalic animals.

“Already it has been fascinating to watch as the left head has started to become more dominant and now leads the right head … When this snake passes away, we will do dissections to understand its internal structure, and we may be able to examine how development occurred,” she stated to Earth Touch News Network.

Her first experiment is to determine which of the two heads to feed.