Photos: Mutant 'Cyclops' Snake Discovered in Mississippi Has Two Eyes in One Socket

Development and birth are complicated, as Tyree Jimerson, who breeds reticulated pythons in Mississippi, knows. Sometimes they go wrong.

Jimerson was tending to his most recent clutch of python eggs when he determined that the snakes inside were developed enough that he should start cutting the shells open. This practice is common in snake breeding; it ensures that the young make it out of the egg. But one, which his wife cut open, had a funny color.

The snake inside was twisting around, and the umbilical cord was around its neck. "When I pulled its head out," Jimerson told Newsweek, "it just really freaked me out."

What he saw was a snake with two eyes in the same socket and no functional snout, looking like a serpentine cyclops.

The "cyclops" python after Jimmerson removed it from the egg. Courtesy of Tyree Jimerson

Even more surprisingly, the animal was alive at birth. But, Jimerson said, the animal was very weak and couldn't hold its head up. He had heard of this unfortunate phenomenon before. "Someone else had already had one that was very similar, like a cyclops, and it just wouldn't live," Jimerson said. "So I went ahead and euthanized it."

Jimerson took some pictures of the odd-looking creature and then put it in the freezer. "I just froze it," he said. "I didn't have any other way to do it."

A "cyclops" reticulated python, missing the long snout and having two eyes in the same socket. Courtesy of Tyree Jimerson

Jimerson asked his wife, who works as a mortician, for some preservative chemicals. He "fixed" the body by soaking and injecting it in formalin, a solution of formaldehyde and water. He is thinking about selling the unique specimen and has received a cash offer of $750.

The python may have had a condition called cyclopia, in which the embryo's face becomes too narrow while developing. In this case, the two eye orbits became one, and both eyes rested in the same space. In other cases, the animal will just have one large eye. Pigs, cattle, humans and even a shark have had this condition.

Unfortunately, as cyclopia often affects the brain, animals with these mutations rarely survive long after birth.

The "cyclops" python from the front. Courtesy of Tyree Jimerson