Double Trouble

Snake. Albino. Has two heads. Asking $150,000 or best offer. The World Aquarium in St. Louis has been home to We, a one-of-a-kind two-headed albino rat snake, since 1999.

President Leonard Sonnenschein has decided to sell the reptile, and bidding on eBay will start at $150,000. The 6 1/2-year-old snake came to the aquarium's attention when its previous owner distributed a circular offering it for sale days after its birth.

The aquarium paid $15,000, knowing that most two-headed snakes don't live more than a few months. But We has survived. An inch thick and four feet long, it is a healthy size for a rat snake. While its body is white, the heads have a reddish appearance.

We has survived because, unlike some two-headed animals, both mouths are connected to the same stomach, Sonnenschein said. Van Wallach of Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology said We should live an additional 10 to 15 years.

The snake has female sex organs, though Sonnenschein believes one head is male and the other female. Sonnenschein said the decision to sell We was a difficult one, "but somebody would probably like to have it more than us, and we can use the money for our education, conservation and research programmes."