An alligator called Saturn, who was believed to have been Adolf Hitler’s pet, passed away at Moscow Zoo in Russia back in May, 2020. Now authorities have decided to immortalize the gator by stuffing it and putting it on display in Moscow’s Darwin Museum.
Saturn’s skin was donated to the Darwin Museum shortly after its death at the age of 84, a few months back. Currently, several taxidermists are busy at work sealing the animal skin for posterity and it will be taken to the Darwin Museum as and when the COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed in the new year. The stuffed figure of the alligator will be put up as part of the museum’s North America Fauna exhibit.
As per a Facebook post by the Darwin Zoo, the exhibit is going to be put up for display from January 16 onwards. The post mentions that this date is tentative as the pandemic can always alter their plans. In the museum, the gator will be displayed under a special banner. It will be titled as “the second birth of Saturn – the story of how ‘Hitler’s alligator’ became immortal.”
Dimitry Vasilyev, a vet at Moscow Zoo, spoke to The Star about the legendary exhibit saying that there was no doubt that the Nazi leader was very fond of Saturn. “The installation of Saturn in the permanent exhibition is the culmination of six months of work by our taxidermists,” Darwin Museum official, Dmitry Miloserdov said, adding, “No reptile of the museum has such a rich biography.”
He expressed gratitude as Moscow Zoo had entrusted them with the responsibility of preserving the memory of the famed alligator. Talking about Saturn, Dmitry said that it was “without exaggeration, a legend of the zoo and had seen a lot in his lifetime.”
The inclusion of Saturn as a permanent taxidermy display is exciting for many as the animal held the status of a legend during its lifetime. Born in the wild in Mississippi in the year 1936, Saturn was originally gifted to the Berlin Zoo later the same year. It achieved fame as it was included in Hitler’s private collection of animals. But during World War II, when the city of Berlin was bombed, Saturn escaped its enclosure and is believed to have been hiding in sewers and basements for years. It was after this that the gator was found by British soldiers in Berlin and then gifted to the Russians. Saturn spent his life in the Moscow Zoo after being brought to Russia in 1946.