Indiana man hits the ‘mother lode’ of snakes, finds two-headed rattler near home

Picture of two-headed timber rattlesnake courtesy of Tony Moore

Picture of two-headed timber rattlesnake courtesy of Tony Moore

MONROE COUNTY, Ind. – Most people would be terrified if they found a rattlesnake on their property. But not Tony Moore. In fact, he calls his recent two-headed rattlesnake sighting “amazing.”

Moore has always loved snakes. When he was younger he used to collect snakes, and he has a vast collection of books about snakes. But he was always unhappy he couldn’t find a rattlesnake.

However, everything changed five years ago when he started building a home in Belmont near the Monroe-Brown County line. There was no evidence of any rattlesnakes when he bought the property, but one year after he finished building the house, sudden dozens of rattlesnakes began to appear in the area.

It turns out Moore’s house was right in the middle of several rattlesnake dens.

“I hit the mother lode. It’s like what they say, ‘Be careful what you wish for,’” Moore told FOX59.

Moore has kept an eye on the “timber rattlers” the past year, and he noticed that during gestation they tend to congregate.

Recently, he said two or three big female rattlesnakes gave birth to approximately 24 snakes.

“And then about 10 days after the birth they all shed their skins. And then a couple days after that, they all seem to disappear,” Moore said.

One day, he noticed that one mother and one of her babies were still near his property which was odd. So he went to get a closer look and realized the baby rattlesnake had two heads!

Photo of 8 snakes near Tony Moore's property. Picture courtesy of Pauline Caldwell via Tony Moore.

Photo of 8 snakes near Tony Moore’s property, Picture courtesy of Pauline Caldwell via Tony Moore.

“I was awestruck. I had to get very close to make sure. And then when I realized each of the two heads occasionally had a tongue come out and were fully functional, I realized I wasn’t seeing things,” said Moore. “I’d have to say it’s a one-in-a-million situation. I’ve never seen a two-headed anything except in a museum. I mean I guess it’s fortunate. It’s amazing.”

A representative from the DNR came to Moore’s property today, and they saw the two-headed snake and the mother again.

He says one of his biggest concerns is making sure people don’t harm the rattlesnakes because they are very rare.

“I hope people take care walking in the woods, and just stay away from them and leave them alone. The only kind of trouble they cause is when people try to catch them,” Moore said.

Carol Kugler with the Herald Times spoke with Sarabeth Klueh-Mundy, a herpetologist with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Klueh-Mundy says timber rattlesnakes are a state endangered species, and anyone who kills the snake can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

Klueh-Mundy also advises anyone hiking in the Monroe-Brown County area to wear full leather boots and avoid stepping near downed-logs.