This is the unique story of Saturn, an alligator, who died in the Moscow Zoo at the age of 84. He had a checkered career during World War II that covered America, Germany, and Moscow. His origin was in Mississippi and the United States gave him as a gift to Berlin Zoo in 1936. When the city was bombed in 1943, Saturn managed to escape from the enclosure. There were rumors that he belonged to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler but there is no evidence to substantiate that. It seems during the war, he came in sight of British soldiers after three years and they arranged to transfer him to the Soviet Union.

He has been an integral part of Moscow Zoo since then. In fact, since July 1946 Saturn has been the star attraction of the zoo.

BBC quotes an official of the zoo saying - "Yesterday morning, our Mississippi alligator Saturn died of old age. He was about 84 years old - an extremely respectable age, Moscow Zoo has had the honor of keeping Saturn for 74 years." It went on to add that Saturn signified an entire era. In fact, he had seen many people of today when they were children. It was a great tribute to an alligator.

An alligator and a different look at World War II

Normal stories of World War II are about the bravery of soldiers and veterans who remember the attack on Pearl Harbor.

However, this is a story with a difference. The main actor here is an alligator named Saturn who was born in America and by a quirk of fate landed up in Moscow via Berlin. He was a Mississippi alligator that normally has a life span of from 30-50 years in the wild. However, Saturn lived for 84 years.

Another male alligator Muja, who is right now at Belgrade Zoo in Serbia, is already in his 80s and still alive. It is difficult to say whether he could take the credit of being the world's oldest alligator. He could be a competitor for Saturn

BBC adds more information on this unique alligator.

He loved his keepers, especially when they massaged him with a brush. If he got irritated, he could turn vicious and damage the surroundings with his strong teeth. There were rumors that he was a part of Hitler's personal collection. Moscow Zoo does not assign too much importance to such reports. In the opinion of the zoo, animals "do not belong to politics and mustn't be held responsible for human sins."

World War II can never forget Saturn

Historians will have a hard time trying to piece together the death-defying escape of Saturn from the zoo in 1943. Berlin was the target of Allied bombing before World War II ended in 1945. The Battle of Berlin began in November 1943 and one of the nights witnessed extensive damage to areas in the vicinity of the Berlin zoo.

Apart from the heavy loss of human lives, many of the zoo's animals perished. Saturn was lucky to have survived the crisis and remained in the city for three years before starting his life anew in Moscow. BBC says - it is possible that he will be stuffed and exhibited in one of Moscow's museums.

Links of World War II, Saturn, and Adolf Hitler

According to Sky News, an alligator called Saturn is believed to have once belonged to Adolf Hitler and has died in Moscow Zoo. The link with Hitler is probably the figment of someone’s imagination. It might have stemmed from Hitler’s fondness of wild animals. Nazi propaganda often presented him as a lover of animals and he was featured several times with his beloved German Shepherd Blondi.

Moscow Zoo showed gratitude for being able to look after Saturn for 74 years. The zoo added that Saturn was a "picky eater" and was endowed with an excellent memory. He never forgot his trusted keepers. Recently, Russia celebrated the 75th Victory Day of World War II and the end of Nazi rule.

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