Janus, a Wisconsin goat that gained worldwide recognition for having two heads, died unexpectedly this week to the devastation of animal lovers everywhere.
The bifacial Billy goat, who was named after the Greek god with two faces, suffered from a rare condition called polycephaly where an embryo fails to split completely during birth.
“It is with great sadness that we share the news that Janus died today,” wrote Wittenberg, Wisconsin’s Nueske Farms Monday in a heartbreaking Facebook post that included a moving video tribute to the beloved pet.
According to the post, the two-faced critter hadn’t been “very hungry for his mid-morning feeding.” Janus’ temperature was reportedly low, and he gradually became less active until eventually passing a few hours later — less than a month after his birth on April 5.
Janus’ exact cause of death remains a mystery, although animals with polycephaly rarely live long because they have trouble feeding themselves, reports Australia’s ABC News.
Janus was only one of 1,000 goats born with bifurcated faces, according to his heartbroken owner Jocelyn Nueske, who had never seen anything like him in her six years of milking goats.
“I’ve heard of two-headed cows, and lizards, but not a goat,” Nueske said of his unique condition, which predominantly affects snakes such as this two-headed New Jersey rattler.
Not only that, but the two-faced goat had “two brains in the front that connect together in the back of his skull,” allowing each head to function independently with two separate consciousnesses, according to an April 13 Facebook post. Despite his anomalous looks, vets deemed Janus “a normal baby goat,” according to the post.
Janus became a worldwide sensation with admirers ranging from Germany to Brazil and beyond thanks to Nueske, who kept them abreast of his activities by posting regular Facebook updates about him.
Needless to say, fans were heartbroken by his loss.
“Sorry for your loss, Janus gave us all so much joy in this crazy world,” wrote one devastated goat-lover. “He was something good to look forward to!”
“This brings me such sadness,” said another. “Yet, still warms my heart knowing that his life was filled with love, caring and great compassion.”
“Thank you for all the kind words and support,” replied a grateful Jocelyn Nueske. “He will surely be missed but is a reminder that though unexpected challenges may come into our lives, we can choose to face them with kindness!”