Rare Mutation Makes Wild Copperhead Twice as Deadly


Copperhead snakes are already dangerous, but there’s a mutation that arguably makes one found recently twice as deadly.

In a statement released last week, the Wildlife Center of Virginia announced the discovery of a copperhead with two fully-developed heads. If you’re not a big fan of snakes, you might want to skip this article.

The snake was found in the northern part of the state, and was then quickly secured by a state herpetologist.

The center studied the serpent, finding that “it appears as though the left head is more dominant — it’s generally more active and responsive to stimulus.” Both heads appear to be able to eat and breathe, although the “dominance” of the left head could complicate things.

Although there’s only one set of lungs and a single heart in the body, both heads have their own trachea and esophagus. Radiographs of the snake show the eerie mutation in detail.

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Wildlife Center of Virginia

The center did note that two-headed snakes don’t live long in the wild. If the snake survives and emerges as a healthy specimen, it could become part of an educational exhibit.

Watch footage of the two-headed copperhead below:

Have you ever been bitten by a venomous snake?

Copperheads are venomous snakes common in the southeast of the country. With no warning signal and a small size, copperheads rely on blending in with dead leaves.

Although they usually don’t grow longer than a meter, their fangs still pack a powerful punch. The hemotoxic venom injected by the snake is painful, but is not fatal for most adults.

In their natural range, copperheads are often the most common source of venomous snake bite addressed at hospitals.

A two-headed snake would theoretically be able to deliver twice the venom. It doesn’t take much to see why investigations of these mutations should be left to the professionals.

J.D. Kleopfer of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is one such professional, and took to Facebook to discuss the reptile.

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Although two-headed pit vipers are interesting, your first move after seeing one should be calling an expert.

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Jared has written more than 200 articles and assigned hundreds more since he joined The Western Journal in February 2017. He was an infantryman in the Arkansas and Georgia National Guard and is a husband, dad and aspiring farmer.
Jared has written more than 200 articles and assigned hundreds more since he joined The Western Journal in February 2017. He is a husband, dad, and aspiring farmer. He was an infantryman in the Arkansas and Georgia National Guard. If he's not with his wife and son, then he's either shooting guns or working on his motorcycle.
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