Not a fever dream. Not a Discovery photoshop. No, it’s a newly discovered snake named Matilda:
Matilda, technically known as Atheris matildae, was named after the daughter of Tim Davenport, who is the Wildlife Conservation Society‘s Director of Tanzania and also co-authored a paper about the snake, published recently in the journal Zootaxa.
No one seems to really know why snakes like this have horns, although there’s been a lot of speculation. The horns could help to protect the eyes, or they might be used in visual displays, with maybe the best-horned snake getting his or her preferred mate. Perhaps they serve a variety of functions.
Davenport and his team aren’t too concerned with that issue now, though. They are instead concerned that this new species could be of interest to illegal pet collectors.
Large, vivid photos of the secret habitat at the link.