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Rare Two-Headed Snake Donated by Nicolas Cage Dies at Audubon Zoo in New Orleans

Harvey the Two Headed Snake, Nicolas Cage
Harvey the Two Headed Snake, Nicolas Cage

Courtesy Audubon Nature Institute; JC Olivera/Getty

Harvey, a rare two-headed gopher snake at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, has died. He was estimated to be around 14 years old.

Named after the Batman villain Harvey Dent (a.k.a. Two-Face), the snake was donated to the zoo in 2008 by Nicolas Cage. Audubon announced Harvey's death Wednesday on Instagram, revealing that he succumbed to "health issues related to old age."

"We are sad to announce the passing of Harvey, the Zoo's beloved two-headed gopher snake," the zoo wrote on Instagram, sharing a photo of the yellow-scaled snake.

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The snake had a rare condition called bicephaly, which is the result of twins not fully dividing during development in the embryo. Many snakes with this condition don't properly develop and die before hatching, according to Smithsonian Magazine, and few survive to adulthood.

Harvey had full use of both heads, "although one was clearly more dominant than the other. Although Harvey had two separate brains, both heads shared a single pair of every other organ."

Cage, 57, has fond memories of Harvey before donating him to the Audubon Zoo. He recounted a party at his former historic home, the LaLaurie Mansion in New Orleans, where Harvey was almost cast in his 2009 Werner Herzog-helmed movie Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.

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"We had a big party, Werner came over, and, at the time, I owned a two-headed snake, which I had spent a lot of money on and subsequently donated to the Audubon Zoo," Cage told Interview Magazine in October. "But I brought it out, and everybody was freaked out by it. Werner said, 'Now, Nicolas, we have to put that into the movie.' I said, 'No, I'm not putting it into the movie because this is personal.' So he filled the movie with snakes, iguanas, and alligators, but he never got the two-headed snake."

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