Giant Two-Headed Snake Swallows Two Mice Whole at Same Time in Video

A large two-headed snake has been filmed slowly swallowing a pair of mice whole.

The astonishing clip was posted to Instagram by Brian Barczyk, the owner of The Reptarium, a zoo located in Southeast Michigan that specializes in reptiles.

In the footage, the two-headed snake, called Ben and Jerry, can be seen gradually digesting a couple of large lifeless rodents.

Barczyk posted the video alongside a message explaining that he is currently away from the zoo and missing all of his snakes but "will be home soon."

The video has been liked almost 20,000 times since being uploaded to Instagram, with many followers desperate to learn more about Ben and Jerry.

Joeforza asked: "Do they have two digestive tracts or does it meet along the way and go into one?"

Scottlanouette wrote: "How do they not choke on them [the mice]?

"Is this ethical? Are they happy?" Egggoat111 commented.

Ben and Jerry is among the star attractions at The Reptarium.

Barczyk told Newsweek the two-headed snake is a four-year-old California Kingsnake, who he bought from a friend.

"I saw him as a baby and begged to buy him for 1 1/2 years before he [his friend] finally gave in," he said.

Though Kingsnakes have occasionally been known to bite humans if surprised or threatened, they are not venomous and are docile once tamed.

According to Barczyk, Ben and Jerry have what is termed polycephaly, a non-hereditary condition that causes a malformation in the developing embryo and can result in two heads forming.

Polycephalic organisms fall into two distinct categories as either an individual with a supernumerary body part or two living in a shared body.

Ben and Jerry fall into the latter category and are unique in their longevity.

"Two headed snake adults are extremely rare, probably less than 5 in the world. 99.9% of the already rare occurrence of two headed snakes never make it past their first birthday," Barczyk said.

"The vast majority of two-headed snakes perish in the first few months. As you can imagine there can be a lot of complications with having a mutation like this. Thankfully once they reach adulthood they usually live full lives."

Ben and Jerry, the two-headed snake, eating two mice. Brian Barczyk/Instagram

Eager to answer some of the questions posed in the Instagram video's comments section, Barczyk revealed a bit more about these most unique reptiles.

"We only feed rodents to Ben and Jerry and both heads obviously eat, although Ben, who is the 'left head,' is the dominant one and feeds on about twice as many rodents as Jerry. They also share the same stomach and all internal organs," he said.

While most polycephalic snakes only live a short time, there are rare instances of reptiles of this kind living long and very happy lives.

Barczyk said: "We hope Ben and Jerry will live for 20-25 years."

According to National Geographic, Arizona State University was once home to a two-headed Kingsnake that was found as a baby and lived for nearly 17 years in captivity.

Update 07/29/21, 4:05 a.m. ET: This article was updated with additional comments from Brian Barczyk.

Editor's pick

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts