June 6, 2004--Posted at 9:50 p.m.
JONESBORO, AR--If you've driven down Caraway Road in Jonesboro recently, you might have noticed a tent set up in the Fred's parking lot. The signs on the outside claim you will see reptile rarities once you go inside. And those claims are absolutely true.
"Nature does some strange things and this is about as strange as it gets, a double freak," says Fred Lally, owner of Lally's Oddity Show.
Lally is describing his double freak, a two headed albino rat snake, the only one of it's kind of any species and it can be seen at Fred Lally's Traveling Oddity Show. It's the freaky, bizarre, and weird that are keeping Lally in business.
Lally has the largest known collection of two headed turtles and albino turtles. He even has three Siamese or conjoined turtles, one of them has two heads and six legs.
"It's got a split shell like two full turtles in front and just one in the rear," says Lally.
As for snakes, there's the two headed albino and there's also a nervous albino rattle snake. Lally's also collected a couple of lucistic snakes, including the only cottonmouth known to exist.
"The lucistic has no bearing on being an albino, it actually has a pigment of white that covers the scales completely and no pattern and they have blue eyes or black eyes, not a pink eye," says Lally.
Lally lives in West Fork, Arkansas and has been catching, selling, and exhibiting reptiles since he was a kid. He's been on the road since 1967 and spends 30 weeks a year on the road at fairs, carnivals, and shopping centers.
Lally says, "Being able to go where I want to go, it's total freedom and traveling about I get more and more animals."
As you might imagine, gathering up all these freak reptiles in one place, hasn't come easy and it's definitely not cheap.
"We wound up giving $22,000 for it and two live two headed turtles. They have a value of $5,000 a piece. He originally wanted $30,000 for it, but we threw in the two turtles and got it for $22,000," says Lally.
To recoup his investment Lally charges $1 to see his collection of freaks.
"I don't mind taking that dollar from that kid. I do provide them with something that's unusual and I don't think he goes away disappointed," says Lally.
Over the years, Lally has been bitten by snakes on a number of occasions.
"It caught up with me many times. My hand is pretty messed up from snake bites and they've been working on the other one. I don't regret it. I'm not a well educated person and if I wasn't doing this i might be in a factory some where and my brain would be like this hand,' says Lally.