tentacled snake

Reptile keepers at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C., have something to slither about: For the first time in 11 years, the zoo welcomed eight tentacled snakes (there are eight snakes, not eight tentacles — although yes, eight tentacles would be cool!) to its reptile repertoire.

After four years of breeding attempts, these water-dwelling snakes were born, complete with two tentacles each. The young reptiles are predatory; they use their tails to help navigate water, and stay anchored while their tentacles detect vibrations from nearby fish.

“Within a few hours of being born, the snakes were already acting like adults,” Matt Evans, Reptile Discovery Center keeper, said in a press release. “Instincts took over and they were hunting. We don’t know much about this cryptic species, but we’re already learning so much just watching them grow.”

Like all kids, these snakes will eventually have to leave home and move to other zoos, but their parents will be staying put at the Smithsonian National Zoo.

We would have contacted the snakes for comment, but alas, our Parseltongue is a little rusty.