Animals with two, three or more heads
Mythological creatures, fighting for good or evil, were at least unusual in appearance. They were often a combination of several animals, had several tails, limbs, sometimes several heads. And we are going to write about multi-headed animals in this article. However, we will not only write about legendary creatures, but also about real cases of animals that were born with more than one head. We do not want to make a sensation out of it, so we will spare you detailed descriptions. However, we would like to make you aware that cases of polycephaly are real. Unfortunately, it does not only apply to animals, but also to humans. Two-headed animals (called bicephalic / dicephalic) and three-headed (tricephalic) animals are the only types of multi-headed creatures seen in the real world. They are formed by the same process as conjoined twins from monozygotic twin embryos.
We have included a few photos in the article, but not all of them show real two-headed animals. Which photos are not real? This is a question for you 🙂
In this article, we will describe the phenomenon called polycephaly. It is therefore a condition, in which one body has more than one head. There are other varieties, similar to polycephaly, but due to their specific characteristics, they have separate nomenclature. We are talking about, for example, Craniopagus parasiticus – a type of Siamese twins. However, we will not describe this phenomenon in humans, because these are rather unpleasant cases, and we are not lovers of peculiarities circuses.
The most common two-headed animals are reptiles – turtles and snakes. This phenomenon also occurs in mammals (cattle, pigs, cats, dogs), fish and birds. Therefore, it applies to almost all groups of animals.
Examples of two-headed animals
A two-headed turtle was found in a pet store in Florida (USA), which is also an animal protection organization. The store owner claimed it was brought by a man who saved the turtle’s eggs after hitting a female turtle with a car. The animal’s condition began to deteriorate, so he turned to Sean Casey, the store owner, for help. The reptile was cured and a shop became his home.
Usually, turtles which were born deformed, do not live long. Casey, however, claimed that this particular individual could live up to 100 years.
Each head had to be treated delicately and fed separately. If only one food was given or placed in front of the turtle, fighting ensued.
Ultimately, the animal was stolen from the store, and it is unknown what happened to it.
A python to be exact. He was found in a zoo in Sri Lanka. The local doctors began examining him and concluded that each head works independently of one another; both could eat. The right head was “dominant”, that is, it controlled movements, while the left head followed the right.
Considered a symbol of fertility in China, the pig, which has two heads, is a good omen. The pig described here was born in 2007, which is the Chinese Year of the Pig. The animal was born with four eyes and two mouths. She appeared in the small Chinese village of Quanzhou.
A female cat from Perth, Western Australia, had problems in childbirth. So her guardians went to the veterinary clinic. On the spot, the female gave birth to three cubs, including one with two “faces”. The kitten had a split palate, but both mouths could meow.
This is one in a million cases among domestic cats.
An unusual insect was caught on an old coffee plantation in Amaga, Colombia (South America). One of the heads was red, probably to distract predators from the “real” head.
Heroes of myths
Two-headed creatures are grateful material for the creation of various kinds of legends, tales and myths. Lots of cultures have described amazing animals, which having two or more heads.
The figure of the seven-headed serpent Mušmaḫḫu appears here.
Ancient Greek myths abound with these types of creatures. The most common, of course, is Cerberus – a multi-headed (usually three-headed) dog guarding the gates of Hades. Other known characters are:
- Chimera – the owner of the head of a lion and a goat
- Hydra Lernejska – a serpent-like subterranean creature with 5 to 100 heads
- Orthrus – a two-headed dog, brother of Cerberus, owned by Geryon.
- Scylla – sometimes described as a six-headed sea monster.
- Ladon – a sometimes hundred-headed serpent-like dragon that guards the garden of the Hesperides and is overcome by Heracles.
- The Hecatonchires – giants with fifty heads and one hundred arms.
- Hecate – Greek goddess of witches, nightmares, crossroads, and one of the Moon deities; sometimes represented with three heads.
In occultism, the figure of the three-headed prince of hell appears – a dragon named Bune. Bune had the heads of a dog, a griffin, and a man.
Many-headed dragons, snakes and hominids (giants, deities) appear in great numbers in Hinduism, Iranian, Eastern European, Scandinavian, Japanese mythology, and in the Judaic tradition.
Two-headed animals – interesting facts
- In heraldry, the image of a two-headed eagle appears quite often. This figure was seen, among others in the coat of arms of the Russian Empire, in the coat of arms of the Serbian Nemanicz dynasty, in the coat of arms and on the flag of the Holy Roman Empire (later Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation). There are many examples.
- Demonstration group, earning incl. on presenting deformed animals is/was Venice Beach Freakshow. They have the largest collection of two-headed animals in the world (live and preserved). This artistic group consists of people who are considered freaks by the majority of society.
- The oldest known two-headed animal is the Hyphalosaurus. The “mutated” fossil is about 120 million years old. The discovery was made in February 2007. The anomaly was probably caused by spina bifida. It is currently the oldest known example of a multi-headed animal.
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