Two-Headed Western Rat Snake Makes Temporary Debut At Missouri’s Powder Valley Nature CenterTiger-Lily the two-headed Western rat snake. Photo by Missouri Department of Conservation.

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Two-Headed Western Rat Snake Makes Temporary Debut At Missouri’s Powder Valley Nature Center

Tiger-Lily will stay at the nature center until the end of February.

The two-headed snake was found by a family in 2017 who donated it to the Shepherd of the Hills Conservation Center.

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A two-headed western rat snake (Pantherophis obsoletus) will be staying at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Powder Valley Nature Center in Kirkwood. The snake, which makes its home at the Shepherd of the Hills Conservation Center will be on loan at the MDC nature center until February as the Conservation Center undergoes construction.

“Tiger-Lily” is the name given to the two-headed snake by the family who found this unique reptile in Stone County in 2017,” MDC Interpretive Center Manager Alison Bleich said in a news release on the Missouri Department of Conservation’s website. “The female snake was donated to the Shepherd of the Hills Conservation Center for display purposes. “Tiger-Lily is almost five feet long and has a healthy appetite,” according to Bleich, but she said that feeding time always presents a challenge.

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The female snake was found in the wild by a family in southwest Missouri about six years ago. The family named the snake and then brought it to the Shepherd of the Hills Conservation Center, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation. The snake has grown to nearly five feet in length in those six years, and likes to eat. But because she has only one esophagus, the folks who feed her put a cup over one head while the other eats, and then they switch and feed the other head.

Western Rat Snake Information

The Western rat snake is also known as the black rat snake and is found in central North America west of the Mississippi River. They are diurnal and can be found in a range of habitats, including prairies, rock outcrops, wooded areas and bayous. They can grow to about six feet in length. They are widely captive bred and can live more than 15 years in captivity.

Two-headed Snake Information

Two-headed snakes are rare but not uncommon. They are said to live a shortened life in the wild due to the fact that they have two heads, which may inhibit their defenses when faced by predators. Cases of captive-born two-headed snakes occur almost every year. They are definitely cool snakes. Nicolas Cage is reported to have purchased a two-headed snake gopher snake for $80,000. That snake, named after the Batman villain Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face, was donated in 2008 to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. Harvey died at the zoo at age 14.


Rat Snakes Of The United States


You can see Tiger-Lily at the Powder Valley Nature Center until she leaves early next year. The nature center’s address is 11715 Cragwold Road in Kirkwood.

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