Hitler's pet alligator Saturn dies aged 84
An alligator rumoured to have been Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler's private pet died yesterday, after living for a whopping 84 years.
The alligator, called Saturn, had lived a full life in three different countries before he succumbed to old age.
Saturn was one of the only survivors of the World War II bombing on the Berlin Zoo in 1943 and was eventually moved to Moscow Zoo, where he passed away yesterday, May 23.
"Yesterday morning, our Mississippi alligator Saturn died of old age. He was about 84 years old - an extremely respectable age," the Moscow Zoo said in a statement.
The infamous alligator was born in America in 1936, then taken to the Berlin Zoo.
But Saturn was a bit of an escape artist.
When the Battle of Berlin began in 1943, thousands of bombs were dropped over the city. On the night of 22-23 November, the Tiergarten district in Berlin was decimated, which was where the city's zoo was located.
Saturn made his getaway that fateful night.
By the end of the war, less than 100 of the 3500 animals in the Berlin Zoo had survived thanks to Allied bombing campaigns.
Вчера утром наш миссисипский аллигатор Сатурн умер от старости. Ему было около 84 лет – крайне почтенный возраст. Московскому зоопарку выпала честь содержать Сатурна 74 года. Он видел многих из нас детьми. Надеемся, что мы его не разочаровали. pic.twitter.com/UigsB8xwBv— Московский Зоопарк (@moscowzoo) May 23, 2020
After his escape, the Houdini-like alligator disappeared from history records for the next three years.
When Allied troops finally reached Berlin in 1945, they found Saturn in the city. British soldiers gifted him to the Russians, and he has been in the Moscow Zoo ever since.
"Hitler's alligator" has died in Moscow zoo. He was 84!— Shaun Walker (@shaunwalker7) May 23, 2020
Rus TV says Saturn born in US in 1936, moved to Berlin zoo but escaped in bombing raids. In 1946 British soldiers found him & handed to Soviets.
Surely one of the great 20th century alligator liveshttps://t.co/2U0Ji1rIgM pic.twitter.com/akxlKNCNQd
Saturn has been hailed as "Surely one of the great 20th century alligator" to have ever lived.
Nazi dictator Hitler was known to have extensive and exotic collections, and it was rumoured that Saturn was his private pet.
"Moscow Zoo has had the honour of keeping Saturn for 74 years," the zoo said in a statement.
"For us Saturn was an entire era, and that's without the slightest exaggeration … He saw many of us when we were children. We hope that we did not disappoint him."
The zoo reported that Saturn knew his keepers, loved being massaged with a brush - and was able to crack steel feeding tongs and bits of concrete with his teeth if irritated.
Mississippi alligators usually live to 30-50 years in the wild, it added.
Originally published as Hitler's 'pet' alligator dies aged 84