A Facebook friend posted a photo of this yesterday morning. It is a five-headed snake found in Kukke Subramanya, near Mangalore, Karnataka, southern part of India. Unbelievable!
A snake is sometime called a naga. In an earlier post recently, I wrote about Naga. Naga is a Sanskrit word for snake. In Buddhist writings the term is used for unseen beings associated with water and fluid energy, and also with persons having powerful animal-like qualities or an impressive animal with human qualities. Nagas in Buddhism are also seen as protectors due to the story of when the Buddha was meditating and it began to rain; a Naga came up behind the Buddha and unfolded its seven-headed hood over the Buddha so the rain would not disturb him.
According to Wikipedia, traditions about nāgas are very common throughout many countries in Asia. In many countries, the nāga concept has been merged with local traditions of great and wise serpents or dragons. In Tibet, the nāga was equated with the klu, wits that dwell in lakes or underground streams and guard treasure. In China, the nāga was equated with the lóng or Chinese dragon.
The Buddhist nāga generally has the form of a great cobra-like snake, usually with a single head but sometimes with many. At least some of the nāgas are capable of using magic powers to transform themselves into a human semblance. In Buddhist painting, the nāga is sometimes portrayed as a human being with a snake or dragon extending over his head. One nāga, in human form, attempted to become a monk; when telling it that such ordination was impossible, the Buddha told it how to ensure that it would be reborn a man, able to become a monk.
Nāgas are believed to both live on Mount Sumeru, among the other minor deities, and in various parts of the human-inhabited earth. Some of them are water-dwellers, living in streams; others are earth-dwellers, living in underground caverns. Some of them sleep on top of anthills. Their food includes frogs and they love milk.