NEW JERSEY (CNN) — Timber rattlesnakes are an endangered species in New Jersey. And one that herpetological associates in Pemberton try to protect as they conduct environmental surveys for developers.
It’s a sound that gives some people the chills.
Owner of Herpetological Associates, Bob Zappalorti says, “it’s a little upset because it’s rattling, that means it’s nervous”
Last week as herpetologist Dave Schneider and his colleague Dave Burkett were looking for timber nests in the pine barrens, they made an extremely rare discovery. A newborn rattlesnake with two heads!
David Schneider says, “I was blown away cause when he first told me I was like yeah right.”
To their knowledge, it’s the first two-headed timber rattlesnake ever discovered in New Jersey and like the rest of us, biologists who study snakes for a living are amazed.
“It’s fascinating to watch”
So far it looks like both heads are fully formed but until it’s old enough eat in a couple more days they don’t know much about the rest of the baby snake’s anatomy.
Zappalorti says, “it was probably supposed to be a twin and then during the development, it ended up being a two-headed snake.”
Unfortunately, two heads are not better than one for a snake’s survival. Its irregular movements would make it easy prey. So rather than return it to the wild they’ll take care of it and use it for educational purposes.
Schneider says, “all us guys that like to go out in the woods and search for these animals, you might think of a neat pattern on a snake or different coloration but for a snake with two heads it’s crazy so it’s neat.”