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Alligator who survived WWII bombing of Berlin dies in Moscow Zoo aged 84

Saturn was brought to Moscow in July 1946
An entrance to Moscow Zoo Artyom Geodakyan/TASS
An entrance to Moscow Zoo
© Artyom Geodakyan/TASS

MOSCOW, May 24. /TASS/. Mississippi alligator Saturn, who witnessed and survived WWII-era bombings of Berlin, has died in the Moscow Zoo, the Zoo said on its Facebook page on Saturday.

"Yesterday morning, our Mississippi alligator Saturn died of old age. He was approximately 84 years old - that’s a very respectable age. The longevity of those species in the wild is about 30-50 years," the statement says.

Born in the state of Mississippi, United States, Saturn was very soon brought to Germany, residing at the Berlin Zoological Garden. He fled the zoo after bombing on November 23, 1943. He was caught by UK soldiers in 1946 and handed over to the Soviet Union.

Saturn was brought to Moscow in July 1946. His arrival gave rise to an urban myth that he was previously Adolf Hitler's 'pet alligator'.

"The Moscow Zoo was honored to keep Saturn for 74 years. We cared of him in the most delicate and cautious way. He was a very picky eater and had a perfect memory of his trusted zookeepers. He also loved being massaged with a brush. If irritated by something, he could crack steel feeding tongs and bits of concrete decorations with his teeth," the zoo said.