A rare two-headed snake was found in a village under Belda forest range in West Bengal's West Midnapore district, a forest official said on Thursday. Inhabitants of Ekarukhi village found the snake, but did not hand it over to the forest officials. While there was speculation that the villagers were reluctant to let go of the snake due to mythological beliefs, Belda range officer Sarbani Das said the locals told her staff they had released the reptile.
"When our staff reached the spot, the villagers told them that they had already released the snake into the forest," Das told IANS over phone.
Saikar Sarkar, a professor of zoology in Government General Degree College Singur, said there is nothing divine or mythological in a snake having two heads.
"It is very much a biological possibility. Just as at times a child or a baby elephant is born with two heads, similarly a snake can also have two heads. It is a developmental anomaly.
"Any type of vertebrate can have such an anomaly. We often hear of conjoined twins. The same is the case with snakes. At times we have even heard of one head trying to eat the other," Sarkar told IANS.
"Such snakes can have more chances of survival if they are kept in isolation, because in natural habitat it may have problems in locomotion, and become easy meat for its predator," he said.
Sarkar identified the snake seen in Ekarukhi as a monocle two-headed Cobra.