Legendary ‘Hitler’s alligator’ becomes ‘immortal’ after dying in zoo aged 84

An alligator rumoured to have belonged to evil Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler has been preserved for posterity after dying.

The 84-year-old reptile was reportedly found by British soldiers in Berlin after the Second World War and given to the Russians, before ending up at Moscow Zoo.

The alligator, named Saturn, has had his skin donated to the city's Darwin Museum and after work by taxidermists he will go on display there after coronavirus restrictions have eased.

It was believed the huge animal had been in Hitler's personal pet collection while he was also a pre-war star attraction of Berlin Zoo in Nazi Germany.

Saturn died in May and Dimitry Vasilyev, a vet at Moscow Zoo, said there was no doubt Hitler admired the alligator.

He was born in the wild in the US state of Mississippi in 1936 before being captured and shipped to Berlin Zoo.

People were unsure of his whereabouts after Berlin was bombed in November 1943 but he was eventually found by the British soldiers three years later, according to reports.

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Some believe he hid in basements, dark corners and sewage drains before being rescued.

The museum said: "The installation of Saturn in the permanent exhibition is the culmination of six months of work by our taxidermists.

"No reptile of the museum has such a rich biography. Moscow Zoo entrusted us with perpetuating the memory of the alligator Saturn.

"He was, without exaggeration, a legend of the zoo and had seen a lot in his lifetime."

Museum official Dmitry Miloserdov said it was “the second birth of Saturn – the story of how ‘Hitler’s alligator’ became immortal.”

In the early 1990s, Saturn witnessed the Soviet collapse and reports said he had “tears in his eyes” when tanks shot the nearby Russian parliament because it “reminded him of the bombing of Berlin”.

Hitler was famous for his love of animals and was rumoured to be following a vegetarian diet towards the end of his life.

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