What do you get the two-headed, six-legged bearded dragon who has everything?
Well, everything it needs, anyway.
For Todd Ray, who actually owns such a creature -- a reptile he calls “Pancho and Lefty” -- the answer was found in a lookalike pinata.
Yep, you read that correctly: A giant pinata that looks like his beloved pet two-headed, six-legged bearded dragon.
Pancho and Lefty turned 1 back in May, but Ray, who runs the Venice Beach Freakshow in Los Angeles, is celebrating the big day on June 11 with a big shindig fit for, well, a two-headed, six-legged bearded dragon.
“These are literally the rarest animals in the world,” Ray told AOL Weird News, and he should know. He has the largest collection of two-headed animals around, more than 100 specimens including 22 living creatures.
Ray has been collecting double-domed animals for the past 10 years and exhibiting them publicly for six. He considers it a calling.
“Back in the day, P.T. Barnum found unique creatures that no one had ever seen -- like a hippopotamus,” he said. “Well, about 10 years ago, I heard about a living two-headed turtle and I thought to myself, ‘This is one of those creatures that seems impossible,’ and I purchased it.
“It mesmerized me. It was literally the cutest thing I ever saw in my life.”
Apparently, two-headed animals are like peanuts: You can’t stop at just one. Since that first acquisition, Ray has added many more to his collection. Currently, he has more than 100 specimens, including some critters who've had a visit to the taxidermist.
But the pride and joy of his collection are the living animals, 22 in all (44 if you count their heads twice).
He feels the two-headed animals are a tipping point for weirdness in nature.
“I think two-headed animals show that the idea of what is normal has reached its end,” Ray said.
And to him, Pancho and Lefty hold a special place in his four-chambered heart.
“Bearded dragons hail from Australia, but I bought Pancho and Lefty in Dayton, Ohio, for nearly $5,000,” Ray said.
It hasn’t been easy. Ray has had to treat each of their heads in their own unique way. Luckily, he’s had plenty of experience.
“By now, I must be the expert on two-headed animals,” he said. “I’ve had a two-headed king snake named Laverne and Shirley and when I feed them a pinky mouse, I have to put a playing card between them because, otherwise, they’ll both see the mouse and one head will start eating it and the other head will start eating the head eating the snake.”
In Pancho and Lefty’s case, Ray says since they each have their own front legs and share the back two, he wonders if they have two stomachs.
“Pancho eats the most. When I serve crickets, he’s the one that aggressively goes after them,” Ray said. “Lefty, on the other hand, seems to be vegetarian and prefers greens.”
They can both agree on their favorite dessert, however: Wax worms. And Ray will be serving plenty of them at the birthday party.
However, they won’t be in the pinata. Ray says that will be for kids in attendance and, accordingly, is stuffed with 25 pounds of candy, including Mike and Ike, SweeTarts and Sour Patch Kids.
However, Pancho and Lefty will get their own dragon-sized party hats.
As far as parties for two-headed, six-legged bearded dragons go, Ray’s shindig may be the most elaborate in history. Along with the pinata, Ray will have a mariachi band perform “Happy Birthday,” and a variety of entertainers will honor Pancho and Lefty with their presence.
For instance, Brett Loudermilk, who, at 22, is the world’s youngest professional sword swallower, plans to swallow three swords in their honor.
Although a party for a two-headed, six-legged bearded dragon is sure to attract some kind of attention, a woman known as Lady Twisto the Rubber Girl says she is doing the party for love, not publicity.
“[Pancho and Lefty] are one of my favorite two-headed animals because of their beautiful colors and cool spikes," she said.
Throwing a birthday party with a pinata for them may seem a little extreme, especially considering their six legs won’t be able to swing at the thing, but Ray feels it’s justified.
“When I first got them, there were people who told me they weren’t going to live a month,” he said. “The fact that they are alive after 13 months is something to celebrate.”