An alligator, so the story goes, that was part of Adolf Hitler's personal menagerie, has died at the venerable age of 84. The gator, measuring 11.5 feet, was a celebrity attraction at the Moscow Zoo, where his rumored legacy bore him no ill will.
"Even if, purely theoretically, he belonged to someone," the zoo's announcement of Saturn's death said, "animals are not involved in war and politics, it is absurd to blame them for human sins.”
Zookeepers treated him "with the utmost care and attention. He was choosy about food," the statement said. "Even among his keepers, he knew who he liked. He perfectly remembered the trusted keeper.”
Saturn hatched in the swamps of Mississippi in 1936 and ultimately made his way to the Berlin Zoo, from which he vanished after a 1943 Allied bombing liberated its occupants. It was believed the blast killed every alligator and crocodile in the facility's aquarium, but Saturn was found by occupying British soldiers in 1946 and handed over to the Russians, who shipped him to the Moscow Zoo.
And there he thrived for more than 70 years. During that time, the legend grew that Saturn had once been the Fuhrer's pet. It made no difference that claim was never proven.
The alligator's fame may live on. According to local reports, he could be stuffed and placed in a museum.