Two-headed snake to continue tour of Missouri after successful surgery

Tiger-Lily the two-headed snake (Missouri Department of Conservation)

Tiger-Lily, a famed two-headed western rat snake that’s been touring the state of Missouri, will continue her trip after a successful surgery. 

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, the rare reptile was found in Stone County in 2017 and named "Tiger-Lily" by the family who found her. 

"Tiger-Lily is actually a pair of conjoined identical snake twins that were never completely separated," the MDC said on its website. "Such snakes are rarely seen in the wild, partly because snakes born this way have a low survival rate." 

Western rat snakes are non-venomous and a common native species in Missouri, the state agency said. 

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Tiger-Lily has been touring various Missouri Department of Conservation sites while her home at Shepherd of the Hills Conservation Center near Branson is closed for construction. She was set to leave the Powder Valley Nature Center on March 18, but her departure was delayed after she sneezed up traces of blood during a feeding last week.  

Saint Louis Zoo veterinarians determined that Tiger-Lily’s ovaries were in pre-ovulatory stasis.

"Under normal circumstances the ovary would grow follicles, then ovulate them as eggs to eventually be laid. In Tiger-Lily’s case she began the reproductive cycle, but the follicles did not ovulate and instead continued to grow and remain static in her ovary.  Over time this led to inflammation and the risk of infection," Dr. Michael Warshaw, staff veterinarian at the Saint Louis Zoo, said in a news release. 

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The two-headed snake had surgery at the Saint Louis Zoo Endangered Species Research Center and Veterinary Hospital on March 11.  The procedure was successful, and the ovaries were removed.  

After recovery, Tiger-Lily will travel to the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center in Kansas City.