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This Is The Oldest American Alligator In The World, It Actually Lives In Europe And Survived WWII Bombings

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Surprisingly, the world’s oldest American Alligator doesn’t even live in the Americas, which is strange given that the species is ONLY native to the Americas. Muja, the oldest living American Alligator in the world, actually lives at the Belgrade Zoo in Serbia and spent a large chunk of his early life in Germany. He moved from Germany to the Belgrade Zoo in 1937. From 1941 to 1944 during World War II bombings his zoo/home was almost nearly destroyed and almost all of the other animals in the zoo died when the center-city Belgrade Zoo was subject to repeated attacks. Muja was featured recently by both ABC News and the Associated Press as this gator is the favorite animal of many generations of zoo keepers and the ONLY gator still living from those World War II bombings:

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Muja just kept on keeping on though, and today he’s considered to be the oldest American Alligator in captivity, which means he’s also likely the oldest alligator in the world because predators, hunters, parasites, and weather all shorten the expected lifespan of alligators in the wild (though I’m sure we have some old gators in The Florida Everglades).

via the Associated Press:

Aleksandar Rakocevic, who takes care of Muja, said Friday that information available from other zoos and animal rights groups support the claim that the alligator is the oldest of his kind in captivity.
At least 80 years old, Muja arrived fully grown from Germany in 1937 – one year after the zoo opened. He has become one of its symbols and the favorite of many generations of keepers.
Muja has been a silent witness of the Serbian capital’s turbulent history – he has survived a world war, three bombings of Belgrade and the Balkan crisis of the 1990s.
The Belgrade Zoo – which lies within the walls of the Belgrade fortress in the center of the city – was almost completely destroyed during the 1941 and 1944 bombings when many of its animals were killed.
Muja is the only survivor from that period, the zoo said.
“We all highly appreciate Muja and his age,” reads an inscription outside Muja’s pond, asking visitors to do the same.
Media have reported that Muja officially claimed the title in 2007, when another member of his species called Cabulitis died in Riga Zoo in Latvia at around 75 years old.
Muja’s health “is excellent,” Rakocevic said, beaming at the reptile resting in the pond on a hot summer day.

What I find most interesting is how small Muja is compared to other old American Alligators in the wild because he’s fed by handlers instead of fending for himself in the wild. They’re exercising portion control instead of allowing him to eat feral pigs by the river:

This American Alligator in Serbia has managed to outlive millions and millions of people worldwide, and I don’t know why I’m so goddamn impressed by this but I really am. If I’m ever in the area of Belgrade, though I’m not sure I will be, I will most certainly be swinging in to pay my respects to the oldest living gator in the world because he’s truly a living dinosaur.

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