Local two-headed snake going to Monroe

A two-headed snake was found in the wild on Bainbridge. - Courtesy
A two-headed snake was found in the wild on Bainbridge.
— image credit: Courtesy

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — Tom Piehl was headed home from the Bainbridge Island Country Club when he stopped to look at a garter snake rolling around. Initially, it looked as though the reptile had a large fly in its mouth. Upon closer inspection, the snake had two heads.

"I've never seen like it," Piehl said.

Piehl took the snake back to his home in Keyport, where he took care of it for four days.

The snake was not eating and its chance of survival was low. Piehl was told the chance of a two-headed snake surviving to adulthood in captivity is 1 in 100 and lower in the wild.

After contacting the local wildlife rescue — which Piehl said did not want anything to do with the snake — he called The Reptile Man in Monroe. On Thursday, an employee of the Monroe Reptile Zoo was headed to Keyport to pick the snake up and take it back to Monroe, where the snake will be nursed back to health.

Scott Peterson, The Reptile Man and owner of the zoo, said the life expectancy of a two-headed snake is between 5-10 years. A normal garter snake lives between 20-30 years.

This will not be the first two-headed snake at the zoo, but with problems such as a bad digestive track, the snakes typically live for a couple of months, Peterson said.

Two-headed snakes are born at a "fairly predictable rate," according to Peterson. The reason they seem so rare is simply because they are difficult to spot to begin with, he said.

There are currently a few living two-headed snake adults in the United States, Peterson said.

"The baby garter snakes are really a challenge to keep alive," Peterson said. "We're going to give it our best shot."

If it survives the trip, the two-headed garter snake found on Bainbridge Island will be on display at the Monroe Reptile Zoo, off Highway 2 at 22715-B SR2, one mile east of Monroe.



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