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Amphisbaena

Description A serpent with two heads, and eyes that glow.  From the Greek "goes both ways."

 

Features If cut in half, both halves will rejoin. If the heads hold each other, the amphisbaena can roll along like a hoop. Wearing a live amphisbaena is said to help in pregnancy, and wearing a dead one will help rheumatism. Might actually be an Indian Sand Boa.

 

Also called Amphista, Amphivena

Mother of ants (it feeds on ants.)

 

Described By: Pliny- " the amphisbaena has a twin head, that is one at the tail end as well, as though it were not enough for poison to be poured out of one mouth."

Sir Thomas Browne- " a smaller kind of Serpent, which moveth forward and backward, hath two heads...Which double formations do often happen unto multiparous generations, more especially that of Serpents; whose productions being numerous, and their Eggs in chains or links together (which sometime conjoyn and inoculate into each other) they may unite into various shapes and come out in mixed formations." (Pseudodoxia Epidemica)

 

Links There are 158 different species of worm lizards in the zoological suborder Amphisbaenia.  One of these species is probably the origin of this legend.  An excellent herpetological  resource is the TIGR Reptile Database, which has all of the different species listed and pictures.

 

 

 

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