A rare double-headed carpet python has been discovered unexpectedly by a Port Macquarie reptile expert.
The two-headed baby was found and sheltered by reptile remover Stuart Johnson, after it was abandoned by its parent in March.
Unfortunately, it did not survive more than 12 hours after hatching.
Mr Johnson, who maintains reptiles at Billabong Zoo and operates Port Macquarie's Reptile Solutions, said the find was rare.
"They are a bit of rarity and it's rarer again to see one that's alive," he said.
"It's all dependent on where it's conjoined, this one had the separation only a centimetre or two from the head base so there may have been an obstruction on windpipe.
"Even if it had of survived there would have been complications later on.
"It's all to do with the embryo inside the egg splitting to give twins but sometimes that process doesn't fully complete.
"Initially it seemed okay, it was quite exciting to keep my fingers crossed but because the split was so close to the heads I had my doubts."
Mr Johnson had earlier been called out and found the adult parent of the eggs, nicknamed Ms Monty Python by residents in Port Macquarie.
He removed 187 ticks over the course of two and a half hours from the mother's body before returning the snake to where he found it.
In the process he found a clutch of about 16 eggs on March 2.
Waiting until all the eggs had hatched and the parent had deserted the nest, Mr Johnson inspected the remaining five unhatched, sunken in and moldy eggs curious to see if they had fully developed.
Two of the eggs contained fully developed but dead snakes, a third contained dead twins and the last two contained live snakes.
"A window was cut into each egg to allow more space for the young to move and set up in a humidicrib of sorts," he said.
"The following morning I found two heads out the side of one of the eggs.
"Twins are not uncommon but the chances of two sets of twins isn't all that common. When checking on the hatchling, that's when we discovered two heads but only one body.
"Now two-headed snakes are rare but this and the twins was certainly unique."
Photos of the snake and the adventure were shown to members of the Australian Herpetological Society in Sydney as part of a monthly guest speech by Mr Johnson.