The life and death of Saturn, the alligator

‘Hitler’s crocodile’ dies at 84 in Moscow zoo. When he first arrived in Moscow, his German origins earned him the nickname ‘Hitler’, but he was later given the name ‘Saturn.’ The reptile – named Saturn – which allegedly belonged to the Nazi leader was sent to the Russian capital from his previous home in Berlin, back in 1946.

Russian TV says Saturn born in US in 1936, moved to Berlin zoo but escaped in bombing raids. In 1946 British soldiers found him and handed to Soviets. In the 1950s, the US gave Soviet Union a younger, female alligator as a gift. Shipka, who was 30 years younger than Saturn, later died, and Saturn was so distressed that he refused food for a time.

After living in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and then dealing with this, Saturn must really have thought humans to be an awful species.

Once, a drunk visitor threw a boulder on his head to wake him up, after which zoo veterinarians fought to keep him alive for months. Another time, a group of tourists threw glass bottles at Saturn, injuring him.

In 1993, when Russian tanks were moving down the Garden Ring after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Saturn cried out because of the vibrations, which a zookeeper thinks reminded him of the Battle of Berlin.

Also, in 2005, he was sponsored by the French clothing designer Lacoste.

Zoo staff said he liked to “gnaw metal”. Surely one of the great 20th century alligator lives.

Saturn the recently deceased alligator has a Wiki entry.

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