Rare two-headed snake beat 1-in-100,000 odds of being born. Now it’s touring Missouri

Tiger-Lily the snake had a 1-in-100,000 chance of being born and an even lower chance of surviving with her two competing heads, Missouri experts say.

But she beat the odds, and now she’s traveling to different nature centers across the state while her home site is under construction, the Missouri Department of Conservation announced Jan. 16.

She’ll kick off her tour Jan. 23 at the Powder Valley Nature Center in Kirkwood, where she’ll spend six weeks, the department said in a news release.

Defying the odds

A family found the rare western rat snake in 2017 and gave each head a name: Tiger and Lily, McClatchy News reported. They donated her to the Shepherd of the Hills Conservation Center in Branson.

“Tiger-Lily is actually a pair of conjoined identical snake twins that were never completely separated,” according wildlife officials. “Such snakes are rarely seen in the wild, partly because snakes born this way have a low survival rate.”

In nature, Tiger-Lily would struggle to fit into small crevices to escape predators and generally struggle with the “body’s lack of (dominant) leadership,” according to Department of Conservation naturalist Alex Holmes.

But Tiger-Lily has thrived in captivity. She celebrated her 6th birthday in October and now measures nearly 5 feet in length, according to wildlife officials.

Other conjoined rat snakes have had similar success in captivity, experts said. A snake that’s at least 18 years old lives at a conservation center in southeast Missouri.

While Tiger-Lily likely has an easier life in captivity, some processes still require extra effort.

“Both heads want to eat, but they only have one esophagus,” Alison Bleich with the Department of Conservation said in the release. “We put a small cup over one head while the other eats, then switch. Otherwise, both would be trying to grab the same mouse.”

Western rat snakes are a non-venomous species native to Missouri.

Kirkwood is about 13 miles west of downtown St. Louis.

Two-headed snake eats from both heads. And Missouri officials are throwing it a party

Incredibly rare primate gives birth to twins at Florida zoo. See the ‘adorable’ babies

‘Large’ creature — with ‘strangely shaped’ tail tip — is new venomous species. See it

World’s oldest living chicken dies in Michigan. She was old enough to vote and drive