Advertisement

Rare Two-Headed Snake Undergoes Surgery in Missouri to Treat an 'Emerging Health Condition'

"I am so happy that our two-headed gal is getting the care she needs," said wildlife naturalist Lauren Baker

<p> Missouri Department of Conservation</p> Tiger-Lily the two-headed snake

Missouri Department of Conservation

Tiger-Lily the two-headed snake

A two-headed western rat snake named Tiger-Lily planned to leave the Powder Valley Nature Center this month to tour around Missouri until wildlife naturalist Lauren Baker discovered the snake had an "emerging health condition."

Baker shared on the Missouri Department of Conservation's website that a couple of weeks ago, Tiger-Lily sneezed up traces of blood during a feeding. "This immediately raised a red flag with our staff, and we quickly got her an appointment with the Animal Health Team at the Saint Louis Zoo," wrote Baker.

Once Tiger-Lily arrived at the Saint Louis Zoo, the park's veterinarians discovered the snake's "ovaries were in pre-ovulatory stasis."

"Under normal circumstances, the ovary would grow follicles, then ovulate them as eggs to eventually be laid," zoo veterinarian Dr. Michael Warshaw explained.

However, in Tiger-Lily's case, although her reproductive cycle began, "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."

<p>Missouri Department of Conservation</p> Tiger-Lily the two-headed snake

Missouri Department of Conservation

Tiger-Lily the two-headed snake

Related: Beloved Two-Headed Snake Back on Public Display at Texas Zoo After 2 Years Absence

As a result, the snake underwent surgery at the Saint Louis Zoo Endangered Species Research Center and Veterinary Hospital on March 11 to have her ovaries removed.

“We appreciate the Saint Louis Zoo’s quick response and expert treatment,” said Baker. “I am so happy that our two-headed gal is getting the care she needs, and we’re all wishing her a safe and speedy recovery.”

Post-op Tiger-Lily is resting off-exhibit at the Powder Valley Nature Center until her recovery is complete, which is estimated to take a month. Tiger-Lily will then go on the Missouri tour that was planned.

<p>Missouri Department of Conservation</p> Tiger-Lily the two-headed western rat snake

Missouri Department of Conservation

Tiger-Lily the two-headed western rat snake

Related: Rare 2-Headed Snake Discovered in Florida After Family's Cat Brings Creature into the House

The five-foot-long snake was discovered in Stone County, Mo., in the fall of 2017.

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

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

"For every 100,000 snake births, only 1 will be a two-headed snake," according to The Reptarium. "That's a 0.001% chance of reproducing a two-headed snake."

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.