Created By: SharleeD on July 31, 2012 Last Edited By: SharleeD on August 21, 2012
Troped

A Head At Each End

A creature has functional heads at either end of its body

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Trope
In Real Life, most animals' innards are basically tubes: a mouth at one end, an anus at the other, so food can be processed step by step as it passes from entry to exit. In fiction, it's not uncommon for creatures to omit the latter portion, and double up on the former: they'll have a spare head on the tip of a tail, or symmetrical bodies in which the forequarters of two animals -- sometimes of the same species, sometimes different ones -- are joined at the waist.

If the two heads have separate brains, or come from different species, expect plenty of arguments between the two. Fridge Logic issues of how some of these creatures relieve themselves are primly ignored.

Examples:

Comics
  • In the comic strips of Cricket, a children's magazine, the earthworm is treated as two characters: its front end, George, and its back end, Tail. The pair of them have different personalities.

Film
  • In 9, the Seamstress is a mechanical horror with a doll's head at one end and the salvaged upper body of a soul-drained stitchpunk at the other.
  • One of these creatures was spotted in the cavern from the film Evolution, during its bug-dominated period.
  • One strange sea serpent-like creature in Spy Kids 2 initially appears to have two side-by-side heads, but later is revealed to be designed in this manner.

Jokes
  • Two hunters ask their guide to settle a dispute between them as to which animal is the angriest: the lion or the crocodile. The guide answers that it's neither, the angriest animal is the crocolion, a beast that's the front half of a lion and the front half of a crocodile joined in the middle. The hunters protest that this animal can't exist, being unable to poop. The guide answers "Why do you think it's the angriest animal of all?"
  • An earthworm pops its head out of the ground and sees another earthworm do the same. The first earthworm says "Wow! You're the most beautiful worm I've ever seen! Will you marry me?" And the other earthworm says "I can't, silly! I'm your other end!"

Literature
  • In the Doctor Dolittle novels, the Pushmi-Pullyu is an antelope with two front halves, attached at the waist.
    • In the film adaptations, it's a two-front-ended llama: a creature actually mentioned in Peruvian folklore.
  • In After Man: A Zoology of the Future, the terratail is a subversion: it has markings on its tail that make it resemble a snake, allowing this small rodent to perform a Backup Bluff when threatened by predatory birds.
  • One of the many weird critters from Wayne Barlowe's Expedition is a similar subversion, sporting an entire simulated head on its rear end to confuse predators as to which way it's facing.

Mythology
  • In Mythology, the amphisbaena (literally "both-way goer") was a snake or snake/bird Biological Mash Up with a deadly-venomous head at each end of its body.
  • Some versions of Cerberus and the Chimera give these creatures living, biting snakes for tails.
  • Another mythological example is the Egyptian Akeru: the front halves of two lions, joined in the middle. Often depicted with a solar disc on each head, it was symbolic of sunrise and sunset.

Tabletop Games
  • 1st/2nd Edition Dungeons & Dragons had a giant Amphisbaena snake with a head at each end.
    • The serpentir is a skeletal undead creature consisting of two human upper bodies attached to either end of a snake's spine.

Video Games
  • Girafarig from the Pokémon games is a giraffe with an extra spherical head on its tail.
  • A whole series of inversions (two bodies joined at a shared cranium) appear in Earthworm Jim, most notably Professor Monkey-for-a-Head.
  • In a Body Horror style, Thrill Kill has Judas, conjoined twins connected at the torso in such a way that there are heads at each end.
  • Twingersnap from Viva Pińata is a snake with a head on each end. It can give rise to Fourheads, which has three heads on one end and one on the other.
  • Diplocephalus in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is a crocodile-like beast with the upper body of a fireball-slinging human woman attached to its tail.
  • In the Facebook game Hatchlings, the hippogriff egg hatches out a creature with a beaked, horse-like head at each end.

Web Original
  • Google "two-headed", and you'll find plenty of photoshopped examples. (Also plenty of Body Horror: be warned!)

Western Animation
  • The whole premise of the animated series CatDog.
  • In Porky In Wackyland, there's a half-dog, half-cat creature (an ancestor of CatDog, maybe) that continually fights each other.
  • On one of The Simpsons "Treehouse of Terror" episodes, Bart puts Snowball II and Santa's Little Helper through a teleporter and they come out as two different pets: one with both heads, ("Twice the pet with none of the poop!") and one with both butts. ("Eww! You can be Lisa's.")
  • During the "Pink Elephants on Parade" number in Dumbo, two of the elephants cross through each other and briefly become this.
  • Futurama gives us the pukeme-poopyou, a two-headed goat that continually ejects vomit/diarrhea from either end, filling a pool that the loser of a contest will have to jump into.
  • An episode of Dragon Tales gives us Meow, the Copy Cat, a literal copycat with two cat heads (one at each end of its body) who had the power to make someone act like another person just by licking their face. The only way to reverse the effects of Meow's spell was to have her lick the affected person a second time.

Real Life
  • Some caterpillars subvert this trope, sporting false eye-spots and other features that make their rear ends look like heads as a decoy for predators.
    • Likewise, some tropical fish have eyespots on their tails for this reason.
  • Ischiopagus Conjoined Twins can resemble this trope, while vertical craniopagus conjoined twins are inversions.
  • A Native American petroglyph in Utah depicts a bighorn sheep with heads on both ends. Another petroglyph from Tibet portrays a yak with heads on front and back.
Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • July 31, 2012
    TonyG
    • In Porky In Wackyland, there's a half-dog, half-cat creature (an ancestor of Cat Dog, maybe) that continually fights each other.
    • On one of The Simpsons "Treehouse of Terror" episodes, Bart puts Snowball II and Santa's Little Helper through a teleporter and they come out as two different pets: one with both heads, ("Twice the pet with none of the poop!") and one with both butts. ("Eww! You can be Lisa's.")
    • During the "Pink Elephants on Parade" number in Dumbo, two of the elephants cross through each other and briefly become this.
    • Futurama gives us the pukeme-poopyou, a two-headed goat that continually ejects vomit/diarrhea from either end, filling a pool that the loser of a contest will have to jump into.
  • July 31, 2012
    animeg3282
    Good trope: but the name will be so hard to spell.
  • July 31, 2012
    WolfBloodstone
    Another example: Girafarig from the Pokemon games.
  • July 31, 2012
    JonnyB
    Pushme-Pullyu was a llama, not an antelope.
  • July 31, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Inversion, In Earthworm Jim Professor Monkey-for-a-Head and Monkey Professor-for-a-Head are joined at the head and share eyes & brain.
  • July 31, 2012
    SharleeD
    ^^ Only in the movies.
  • August 1, 2012
    Chabal2
    • A joke example: two hunters ask their guide to settle a dispute between them as to which animal is the angriest: the lion or the crocodile. The guide answers that it's neither, the angriest animal is the crocolion, a beast that's the front half of a lion and the front half of a crocodile in the back. The hunters protest that this animal can't exist, being unable to poop. The guide answers "Why do you think it's the angriest animal of all?"
    • Some versions of Cerberus and the Chimera give it a living snake as a tail.
  • August 1, 2012
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
  • August 1, 2012
    robinjohnson
    How about A Head At Each End for a what-it-says-on-the-tin title (vaguely playing on "A Leg at Each Corner", the title of a humorous book about horses, but you don't need to know that.)
  • August 1, 2012
    MrRuano
    • In a Body Horror style, Thrill Kill has Judas, conjoined twins at the torso in such a way that there are two heads at each end.
  • August 5, 2012
    CaveCat
    • An episode of Dragon Tales gives us Meow, the Copy Cat, a literal copycat with two cat heads (one at each end of its body) who had the power to make someone act like another person just by licking their face. The only way to reverse the effects of Meow's spell was to have her lick the affected person a second time.
  • August 5, 2012
    fulltimeD
    If we can't call a Lamprey Mouth a "Scolex," this definitely needs a better name.
  • August 5, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Amphisbaena is a creature of Greek myth, but unfortunately one of the lesser represented ones in popular culture. I don't think that label is going to fly well.
  • August 5, 2012
    dalek955
    Subtrope of Multiple Head Case
  • August 5, 2012
    Stratadrake
  • August 5, 2012
    dalek955
    You know, we could just call it Pushmi Pullyu. Doctor Dolittle is well enough known that we could get away with it, and it's a fairly obvious name even if you haven't read the books.
  • August 6, 2012
    Arivne
  • August 6, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Not so short, mouthful, and dry as Sahara.
  • August 14, 2012
    robinjohnson
    A Head At Each End is more of a mouthful than Amphisbaena? Oh well. Pushmi-Pullyu would be my second choice; it's probably wider recognised than amphisbaena.
  • August 15, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^Nope. Pushmi gives no idea what the trope is about. Amphisbaena Anatomy gives at least a hint it's about anatomy.
  • August 15, 2012
    NateTheGreat
    That name is not only a mouthful, but the layman would have no clue what it means. I'd stick to Pushmi Pullyu Anatomy.
  • August 15, 2012
    animeg3282
    I like a head at each end because it's clear. The AA one is hard to spell and no one knows what it means. Young folks might not know the Pushmi Pullyu
  • August 15, 2012
    BOFH
    Video Games
  • August 15, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^Details, please. See How To Write An Example and Zero Context Example.
  • August 15, 2012
    LOAD
    Never heard of Pushmi-Pullyu.
  • August 19, 2012
    jate88
    Isn't there a fish with a head on both ends albeit one has a smaller brain?
  • August 19, 2012
    SharleeD
    ^Not IRL, unless it's a fishy version of the conjoined twins already mentioned.
  • August 19, 2012
    captainsandwich
    There is an undead like this in Dungeons And Dragons (and thus the pooping isn't a problem). Its called a Serpentir [1]
  • August 20, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    • One strange sea serpent-like creature in Spy Kids 2 is mistaken for a two headed monster, but then later is revealed to be designed in this manner.
  • August 20, 2012
    Karalora
    Another mythological example is the Egyptian Akeru: the front halves of two lions, joined in the middle. Often depicted with a solar disc on each head, it was symbolic of sunrise and sunset.
  • August 20, 2012
    SharleeD
    ^^ Re-phrased your entry a little, Tuckerscreator, as it's still technically a two-headed monster even if it is this trope.
  • August 21, 2012
    cygnavamp
    Another joke! An earthworm popped its head out of the ground to see another earthworm do the same. The first earthworm says "Wow! You're the most beautiful worm I've ever seen! Will you marry me?" And the other earthworm says "I can't, silly! I'm your other end!"

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