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Saturn (Alligator)
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    (1936-May 23, 2020)
    Born in Mississippi
    American alligator
    Exhibited at the Berlin Zoological Garden
    Escaped during a bombing raid on Berlin (November 23, 1943)
    Captured by British soldiers in their zone of Berlin (1946)
    Given to the Soviets, who sent him to the Moscow Zoo
    Weighed 200 kilograms (440 pounds)
    He was rumored to have been Adolf Hitler’s personal pet.
    Although that was not true, he was apparently one of Hitler’s favorite exhibits at the Berlin Zoo.
    When he arrived at the Moscow Zoo, he was initially called ‘Hitler’ before being given the name Saturn.
    He tried to bite a warden who was handfeeding him (1970).
    When he was moved to a new aquarium building, he stopped eating for four months (1990).
    He twice was paired with younger female alligators for mating, but the eggs that resulted were infertile and did not produce any offspring.
    He would break metal feeding tongs or pieces of concrete with his teeth when he was irritable.
    A Moscow Zoo spokesperson said about the rumored Hitler connection, ‘Animals must not be held responsible for human sins.’
    He survived a bomb hitting the aquarium of the Berlin Zoo, which killed 20 to 30 alligators and crocodiles.
    He managed to live on the streets of Berlin for three years, despite the privations of World War II and a climate unsuited for alligators.
    He was hit in the head by a hunk of concrete thrown by a drunken visitor to wake him up.
    He was injured when tourists threw glass bottles at him.
    After those incidents, a glass wall was erected to make his enclosure more secure.
    He enjoyed being massaged with a brush by his keepers.

Credit: C. Fishel

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