Call it the culture of freak. At least that's how Todd Ray, the owner and operator of The Venice Beach Freakshow, and the pivotal cast member in the recently canceled AMC series Freakshow, wants you to organize your thinking. After having a successful career in the music industry, Todd's tastes turned to what are often considered natural anomalies.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, Ray holds the world's record for owning the largest collection of two-headed, or dicephalic, animals, which at the time of the writing numbered twenty two different specimens. They're on display at Venice Beach.
It's not that difficult to find pictures and stories about two headed animals. What's odd is the proliferation of stories and pictures of their existence that seems to contradict the common wisdom that asserts their rarity. Of course, the existence of the internet, along with natural human curiosity regarding animal anomalies, encourages people to report on their every occurrence.
At the same time, it also needs to be noted that the internet serves as a perfect forum for the dissemination of false information. The potential for a large audience, coupled with Photoshop magic, means readers must be wary of the many existing photos claiming to show a near-mythical two-headed animal.
The following ten, though, are some of the better documented two-headed animal discoveries over the past two years.
10 Two-headed Snakes
Meet Medusa is a two-headed Albino Honduran Milk Snake, and probably the most famous two-headed snake in the world today. Born in late 2011, Medusa still lives comfortably today as a pet in Florida, eating from both heads. She even has her own Facebook page.
9 Two-headed Lamb
In late September 2014, news from New Zealand hit the wires about the birth of a two-headed lamb, or more properly, a two-faced lamb having two mouths, two noses, three eyes and one head, appropriately named Two Face.
8 Venus the Cat
Technically Venus does not fall into either the two-headed or two-faced animal category as it is usually described. Venus the cat actually has one face, but by all appearances, two different sets of genes determine her two separate eye colors and facial fur.
7 Two-Faced Pig
There's an odd correlation between China and births of two-faced pig; the country rules the internet's two-faced pig niche. The trend started in 2007, China's Year of the Pig, with an announcement in January that a two-faced pig was born in the village of Quanzhou in East China’s Fujian province.
6 Two-headed Salamander
December 2014 brought the announcement of the birth of a two-headed Near Eastern fire salamander tadpole in a laboratory in Israel. Named Arne and Sebastian, the people at the lab halfway refuse to speculate on the cause of abnormality, saying it could be a random mutation, or pollution related.
5 Two-headed Dolphin
Media reports in August 2014 documented the existence of a dead two-headed dolphin washing ashore along Turkey's coast. It was collected and transferred to a laboratory for further investigation.
4 Two-headed Cow
At least three two-headed cow stories have come out of Europe, Australia and North America over the past year. The most recent story, published in April, 2015 comes out of Baker County, FL. Dwight Crews.
3 Two-headed Turtles
A few stories documenting the discovery or birth of two-headed turtle made news throughout 2014. For example, the San Antonio Zoo announced the birth of a two-headed Texas cooter in 2013, and sadly announced its death a year later in July, 2014.
2 Two-headed Shark
In March 2013, a local fisherman received a surprise two-headed bull shark fetus discovered in a shark caught near Florida Keys. According to an article published in the Journal of Fish Biology, other instances of the existence of two-headed sharks have been documented.
1 Frank and Louie the Two-faced Cat
With the Guinness World Record for being the longest-living Janus cat (a name that refers to the Roman God Janus and his two faces), a two-faced cat named Frank and Louie became a minor celebrity in the animal world. Living to the ripe old age of fifteen, he recently passed away at the veterinary hospital where he was born.
Most dicephalic - or two-faced - animals live very short lives. Perhaps Frank and Louie got lucky with his physical anomaly: While he had two mouths, only one was functional, precluding the need to deal with potential eating and digestion problems. Additionally, he had only one brain, and while he had three eyes, onto two actually were used for sight.
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