If you are looking for an omen for these uncertain times, here it is. A three-eyed snake was found, fittingly, near Darwin, in the Northern Territory, Australia. The animal was found by rangers from the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife who shared the photos on Facebook.
The animal is a carpet python, a species that can grow to between 2 and 4 meters (6.6-13.1 feet) and it is commonly found in Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. The three-eyed creature was just a juvenile, believed to be no older than three months and only about 40 centimeters (16 inches). It was nicknamed Monty (python) when it was found in late March but, unfortunately, it passed away last week.
“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,” Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Ranger Ray Chatto told NT News. The snake's body has been donated to science and is now at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Darwin.
Its cranial malformation is what makes this particular specimen so fascinating. Its third eye appeared to be functioning perfectly and the team had to put the critter in an X-ray machine to understand properly what was going on. It turns out that the animal’s weird configuration was not caused by two separate heads fusing together as they had thought, but a single skull with an extra eye socket.
“It was generally agreed that the eye likely developed very early during the embryonic stage of development," NT Parks and Wildlife wrote in their 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.”
The Internet is filled with stories and videos about unusual reptiles (among other animals) with congenital malformations. Particularly popular are stories about two-headed snakes, including Gumbo and Filo a rather cute snake (or should that be snakes?) that is making the rounds of schools and community centers in Louisiana in the US with its owner Tanee Janusz to help people get more familiar with snakes in general and dispel some harmful myths about these creatures.
Three-eyed snakes, however, are particularly rare. It's a shame Monty died before he could tell us how Game of Thrones ends, as he had undoubtedly already foreseen.
[H/T: NT News]