Snakes are common in Australia, obviously, but three-eyed snakes? Not so much.
Snakes can be found almost anywhere in Australia. On the beach In your vehicle. But this three-eyed slitherer discovered in the Northern Territory is clearly one of a kind.
The three-eyed carpet python was discovered by rangers near the small town of Humpty Doo, just outside of Darwin. It appears to have three fully functioning eyes, with an abnormal surplus eye sprouting from the top of its scaled forehead.
We occasionally see snakes in the wild with polycephaly, or two separate heads, but the rangers don’t believe that is the case here.
A subsequent X-ray of the snake revealed that ‘Monty’ (as the rangers dubbed him) does not have two separate heads forged together, but rather one skull with an extra eye socket, giving the python a handy, vertically oriented peeper.
“It was generally agreed that the eye likely developed very early during the embryonic stage of development,” Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife explains in a Facebook post.
“It is extremely unlikely that this is from environmental factors and is almost certainly a natural occurrence as malformed reptiles are relatively common.”
Unfortunately, while Monty’s all-seeing third eye provided him with numerous advantages during his lifetime (such as spying threats from above), it was also the snake’s undoing; the snake was discovered in March, but died last week while still a juvenile.
“It’s remarkable it was able to survive so long in the wild with its deformity, and he was struggling to feed before he died last week,” ranger Ray Chatto told NT News.