A Caped Python ( Morelia spilota ) with three eyes surprised a group of rangers in Australia, the animal which has an extremely rare condition was found by officials from the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Commission of Australia (NTPWC) in early May this year.
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Intrigued, rangers took an X-ray of the snake. The images showed that the animal did not have two separate heads forged together, as they suspected. "Rather, it appeared to be one skull with an additional eye socket and three functional eyes," the NTPWC wrote in a Facebook post.The snake's eye probably developed early during its embryonic stage of development.(Image credit: Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Commission)
"Until today, I've never seen a snake with three eyes," David Penning, assistant professor of biology at Missouri Southern State University, told Live Science in an email. "I've seen snakes with two heads and some weird facial deformities, but nothing like this."
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It's impressive that this snake has seen the light of day.Sometimes mother snakes eat "bad" eggs after laying them, Penning said.Also, snakes born with deformities, such as spinal problems, usually die after a few days, he said.
Even more surprising is that the eye seemed to work. "Deformities rarely lead to normal operational functions," Penning adds. "When you think about the complexity involved in the skull and nerve tissue, there's a lot more going on here than just a new eye. "For example, it's likely that this third eye would need a third optic nerve, which would certainly complicate the layouttypical of the brain , he said.
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Penning said he has seen snakes survive with only one eye, "so maybe two eyes is already overkill," he noted, so when it comes to having three eyes, "I would say it's a disadvantage because it would cost more than it would bring benefits to it."
The animal died a few days after being found, with only two months of life.
SOURCE / Live Science