An image circulating for the past several years shows a snake with seven heads. Is this photo real or fake?
The image is fake.
It is merely a digitally-altered photo of a normal one-headed snake.
Several versions of this photo have circulated over the past couple of years. In 2012, a three-headed variety of this photo was circulated, and by 2013 the number of heads had increased to 7. A five-headed version has also been seen.
A caption circulating with the seven-headed photo in 2013 read:
GOD SAVE US. THIS SNAKE WAS FOUND IN THE MOUNTAINS OF HONDURAS. AND THE BIBLE SPEAKS OF A SNAKE WITH 7 HEADS AND WITH THIS WE SEE THAT IT IS FULFILLING EVERYTHING THAT IS WRITTEN. LORD HAVE MERCY ON OUR SOUL’S
The three-headed snake was claimed to be photographed in India when that image circulated in 2012.
As you can see, however, the original photo clearly shows a snake with one head:
Multi-headed snakes have been found in nature (a phenomenon known as Polycephaly), but these are typically two-headed snakes, not three or seven as the fake photos above show. As recently as September 2014, a Turkish farmer reported finding a two-headed snake on his property. In that report, it was noted that snakes with two heads are at a disadvantage in the wild due to increased vulnerability to attack.
In September 2015, a two-headed Albino Honduran Milksnake named Medusa gained worldwide attention when a video was released of the rare snake which was sold for $50,000. Medusa is currently on display as part of the Venice Beach Freakshow, which is considered to have the largest collection of two-headed snakes. You can see a video of Medusa below.
The chart below shows Google search history on this topic. As shown in the chart, searches began on the photo in early 2012. There was a significant peak in November and December 2013, and it has been somewhat steady since.
Images above showing a snake with three, five, or seven heads are digitally-altered, and do not depict a real creature. Two-headed snakes do exist in nature, but are extremely rare.
Updated January 9, 2016
Originally published November 2013