Rare Two-Headed Snake Returns to Texas Zoo Display

After a two-year hiatus, the two-headed western rat snake named Pancho and Lefty has returned to Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, healing from a neck injury. Each head has a distinct personality, and the snake has been at the zoo since 2016, according to a CBS News article. They say, 

“Waco’s Cameron Park Zoo announced earlier this month that its beloved two-for-one critter is “back on exhibit” after spending more than two years out of the public eye as it healed from an injury to one of its necks, according to a Facebook post. The “unique” western rat snake has a name for each brain – Pancho and Lefty – and has been in the zoo’s custody since 2016 after a family in the area found it in their yard.

Each of the snake’s brains has a different personality, senior zookeeper for reptiles and amphibians Maddie Michels-Boyce told The Dallas Morning News. The 8-year-old animal is between 2 to 3 feet long, and is overall in good health, she said.”

The two-headed western rat snake, Pancho and Lefty, was found by a Waco family and donated to Cameron Park Zoo in 2016. Due to its conflicting brains, it wouldn’t have thrived in the wild. An injury in 2021 was caused by its heads pulling in different directions, according to a People article which says, 

“In a Facebook post, the Cameron Park Zoo wrote that a Waco family “found this unique western rat snake in their yard” before donating him to the zoo in 2016.

“This snake probably wouldn’t have survived long in the wild as he has two brains that are often giving conflicting commands to his one body, so his movements are more sporadic and uncoordinated than typical one-headed snakes,” the zoo wrote, adding that the 2021 injury was the result of his neck “trying to go in different directions and getting stuck on branches, rocks, and other obstacles.””

The two-headed snake, Pancho and Lefty, has returned to its aquarium at the Cameron Park Zoo after recovery, but the exhibit now has fewer obstacles to prevent any neck injuries.