Alligator Who Lived Through Second World War In Berlin Dies At Moscow Zoo
It's not easy to say, but it's thought that Saturn the Mississippi alligator, who was incorrectly rumoured to have belonged to Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler at one stage, was the oldest alligator in the world.
Alligators in general live to between 30 and 50 if they're healthy and avoid getting killed by some other factor than age.
However, in captivity they can live to a ripe old age, as Saturn clearly did.
Saturn was a gift to the Berlin Zoo in 1936 after being born in the USA, and lived through the whole of the Second World War, including escaping the bombing of the zoo in 1943.
After the war, he was discovered by British soldiers and then gifted once again to the Soviet Union, who took him into Moscow Zoo, where he remained until his death the other day.
In a statement, the zoo wrote: "Yesterday morning, our Mississippi alligator Saturn died of old age. He was about 84 years old - an extremely respectable age,"
Extremely respectable? This alligator has had a longer life than most humans, and certainly taken in a more intriguing existence than many of us ever will.
The statement continued: "Moscow Zoo has had the honour of keeping Saturn for 74 years.
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"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."
Saturn was a big hit at the zoo with both visitors and his keepers. He knew them all, and is reported to have loved being massaged with a brush.
Hey, who doesn't love a good brush massage, right?
There is another alligator called Muja in Serbia who is also in his 80s and still going. There's a chance that Muja, who lives in Belgrade Zoo, could be the world's oldest alligator.
He almost certainly is now that Saturn is gone.
You'd rather read Saturn's autobiography though, wouldn't you?
It might explain what he did for the three years between 1943-1946, but now we'll never know.
As for the rumours that he was owned by Hitler, it's not clear where that rumour found legs, but Moscow Zoo has always refuted those reports, stating that animals 'do not belong to politics' and 'mustn't be held responsible for human sins'.
It has been reported that Saturn will now be stuffed and exhibited in Moscow's museum of biology named after famous naturalist Charles Darwin.
Featured Image Credit: Moscow Zoo
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