The World Aquarium in St. Louis, Missouri, 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 e-Bay will start at $150,000 (euro 126,840).
"It's an amazing snake," Sonnenschein said Monday. "When people see it they are awestruck."
The 61/2-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 (euro 12,685), knowing that most two-headed snakes don't live more than a few months.
But We has survived and thrived. An inch (2.5 centimeters) thick and 4 feet (1.2 meters) long, she is a healthy size for a rat snake. While her 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. And Sonnenschein said it's at a ripe age for breeding.
"We expect the sale of We to be on the same level of demand as a priceless art object," he said.
The snake has been in the spotlight before. In 2004, a disgruntled City Museum worker stole We. Authorities found the snake in the garage of the man's home in Illinois.
"He thought he was going to sell it," Sonnenschein said. "The thing is, it's the only one in the world."