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.
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.
The images above showing a three-headed or seven-headed snake are digitally-altered, and do not depict a real creature.
Updated February 17, 2015
Originally published November 2013