An alligator who was rumoured to have been Adolf Hitler’s pet has died at the age of 84.
The reptile named Saturn was put on public display in Berlin Zoo after being brought over from the United States in around 1936.
It is not known whether he ever met the German dictator but after the Second World War the myth developed that he had been part of the Fuhrer’s personal collection.
According to the zoo, Saturn was born in the United States and later sent to the Berlin Zoo, from which he escaped when the zoo was bombed in 1943. His whereabouts were unknown until 1946, when British soldiers found him and gave him to the Soviet Union, the zoo said.
“Almost immediately, the myth was born that he was allegedly in the collection of Hitler and not in the Berlin Zoo,” the zoo said in a statement.
But, it noted, “animals are not involved in war and politics and it is absurd to blame them for human sins.”
Saturn spent the next 74 years as one of the most popular attractions at Moscow Zoo, surviving on a diet of rabbit, rat and fish.
On Saturday the zoo announced the alligator had died of old age after “a long and eventful life”.
“We tried to take care of the venerable alligator with the utmost care and attention,” it said in a statement.
“He was fussy about food and loved being massaged with a brush. If he didn’t like something, he would gnaw on the concrete decorations.”