Double-headed animals, like the symbolic eagle of the Holy Roman Empire, are heralded in mythology, often symbolizing dual sovereign power and all-encompassing control. But in the wild, real two-headed animals are not so lucky. They are incredibly rare, for one, and their chances of survival are even slimmer than their coming into existence in the first place. Earlier this month, the Moscow Zoo became the recipient of a two-headed California Kingsnake (pictured above) that is now on display. Can you think of anything more frightening than four beady eyes peering out from such a ghostly white, slithering body? No? Scroll down for a look at the cute, the curious, and the nightmarish Siamese twins of the animal world.
A fire salamander with two heads, shown on Feb. 22, from the front and the back, was raised by a breeder in Plauen, Germany, and lived as a conjoined twin for one-and-a-half years. (Jan Woitas/dpa/Corbis)
Jay Jacoby, store manager at Big Al's Aquarium Supercenter in East Norriton, Pa., shows off the retailer's one and only two-headed red slider turtle on Sept. 26, 2007. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A two-headed goat feeds at its mother's udder in Bauta, Cuba, on May 26, 2004. The birth of the animal stunned the residents of the rural town outside Havana. The goat reportedly breathed and ate with both heads, and closed and opened its four eyes at the same time. (REUTERS/Courtesy Juventud Rebelde CD)
A rare, two-headed Terrapin is displayed in 2004 at Thailand's government Fisheries Department in Bangkok. The amphibious reptiles with a semi-hard shell are farmed in Thailand and usually exported to Taiwan and China for human consumption. (REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang)
A two-headed blue tongue lizard is displayed at the Australian Museum in Sydney on Jan. 17, 2001. The lizard, which was discovered in a backyard in New South Wales, has one eye on the far side of either of its heads, as well as a third where the two heads connect. It also has one blue tongue. (REUTERS)
A Chinese farmer shows a piglet with two heads and three eyes in Zhaodun village, Jiangsu province, on June 2, 2001. (REUTERS)
An official at the Samut Prakarn Crodile Farm on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand, shows off its most unique resident. The newborn crocodile, born on June 22, 2001, shares the bottom part of the body, and has eight legs and two tails. While it wouldn't be easy for this dual-headed croc to stealthily attack, surely its Siamese look will inspire a nightmare or two. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
A two-headed Holstein calf, named "Reflection," sits in its stall on Garry Slife's farm in Independence, Iowa, on April 29, 1998. The calf was born by c-section to a cow the farmer and his son had just purchased days prior. (REUTERS/STR New)
Donald Rynne, of Weymouth, Mass., holds a two-headed duck, which he found dead on the side of the road while delivering newspapers around his town on Dec. 5, 1961. (AP Photo/Peter J. Carroll)
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Half the world's population lives in these 6 countries
- How a degree from Duke University dashed my dreams of buying a home
- This is why you can't trust the NSA. Ever.
- Innocent before proven guilty? The bizarre bipartisan rush to clear Rick Perry
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- What Keeping Up with the Kardashians can teach America about interracial marriage
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- ISIS and the echoes of the West's religious terror
- The real-life events that inspired Game of Thrones' Red Wedding
Subscribe to the Week