Languages
Page last updated at 17:45 GMT, Tuesday, 3 January 2006

Two-headed snake 'up for auction'

A two-headed albino rat snake

An American aquarium says it intends to auction a rare two-headed albino rat snake for $150,000 (87,000).

The World Aquarium in St Louis has been home to the unique reptile, named "We", for the past six years.

Aquarium president Leonard Sonnenschein said he hoped the snake would generate as much demand on the eBay auction site as a priceless work of art.

However eBay bans the sale of live animals and says if the creature is listed it will promptly be removed.

A spokesman told the BBC News website: "It is against eBay policy to sell this on the site. We can't stop them from listing this snake, but we've told them we'll pull it down immediately."

An aquarium spokeswoman said conditions were in place to make sure the snake went to a responsible buyer.

We was being sold to pay for education, conservation and research programmes, the aquarium said.

Healthy size

The aquarium purchased the snake for $15,000 (8,700) when it was six-and-a-half years old, despite knowing that most two-headed snakes do not live for more than a few months.

"It's an amazing snake," Mr Sonnenschein told the Associated Press news agency. "When people see it they are awe-struck."

The snake is a healthy size for a rat snake, at 2.5cm (one inch) thick and 1.2m (four feet) long.

It is currently at the prime age for breeding and is expected to live for another 10 to 15 years.

It has survived for so long because both heads are connected to the same stomach, Mr Sonnenschein added.

We was almost sold in 2004, after it was stolen by a city museum worker. Fortunately, authorities found the snake in the man's garage at his home in Illinois.

Mr Sonnenschein said the man was intending to sell it.

SEE ALSO
Snake hiding in sewers is caught
17 Oct 05 |  Manchester
Murdoch sells lunch date on eBay
18 Oct 05 |  Middle East
Mercury's car for auction on eBay
12 Oct 05 |  Entertainment

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific