This Australian reptile has no need to pry open his third eye – it’s well and truly wide awake. Rangers from the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife service found the snake on the Arnhem Highway near Humpty Doo (yes, that’s a place name), not far from the city of Darwin.
What was peculiar about the snake – a juvenile measuring just 40cm long – was that rather than being the result of two separate heads (a reasonably common occurrence in snakes), it was just one skull with an additional eye socket and three functioning eyes.
But while a number of reptiles have a not-so-literal ‘third eye’ or parietal eye – an evolutionary relic – in this case it appears to have been a birth defect:
It was generally agreed that the eye likely developed very early during the embryonic stage of development. It is extremely unlikely that this is from environmental factors and is almost certainly a natural occurrence as malformed reptiles are relatively common.