9 December 2020

It's done! The legendary alligator Saturn has been moved to the permanent exhibition of Darwin museum

Today, Darwin museum halls were filled with voices shouting mysterious phrases, such as: “Beware of the tail!”, “Don't hook the net with the claws!”, “First put the muzzle down!”. They were first heard at the taxidermy workshop where the alligator under the name Saturn was being carried from to its new place – the museum’s permanent exhibition hall.


The installation of Saturn in the permanent exhibition hall is the culmination of the 6 months of work by our taxidermists, as well as the rest of the museum employees. Everyone at the museum treats the newcomer with reverence - no other reptile at the museum has such a rich biography!


At the end of May 2020, the Moscow Zoo entrusted us with giving the alligator Saturn a second life. He was, without exaggeration, a legend of the Zoo and had seen a lot in his lifetime. Saturn is believed to have been born free in Mississippi, USA. In 1936 he was caught and sent to Berlin, where he was settled in the Berlin Zoo. During the Second World War, the Berlin Zoo was seriously damaged by bombing. In 1943, a building with reptiles was ruined during the bombing, only Saturn and a few of his counterparts managed to survive and "escape". After 3 years, Saturn was discovered by British soldiers. Very soon he was transported to the Moscow Zoo. Here the alligator was immediately loved and given a name - Saturn. He lived in the zoo for 74 years, receiving attention and good care. In May 2020, Saturn died at the reptile age of 84. It was decided to donate the skin of the legendary animal to the Darwin Museum.


In June, immediately after the quarantine was over, our specialists got down to work: they treated the skin with special solutions and began making a polyurethane foam dummy for the future taxidermied animal. A skillful taxidermist Anatoly Alexandrov provided invaluable assistance. At the beginning of September, the dummy was ready, and a previously treated skin was “fitted”. On the Darwin museum 113th anniversary, October 7, Saturn appeared before the public for the first time: the taxidermy mount was ready with a few final touches to be made.


Finally, today the festive moment has come - Saturn found its new home in the showcase "Fauna of North America" ("Zoogeography" hall, 3rd floor, permanent exhibition). He is now surrounded by a bison, a raccoon, an American mink, a North American porcupine and a ruffed grouse. If the pandemic does not disrupt our plans, on January 16 visitors will be able to meet the legendary alligator.


The mounting was carried by: the chief curator Pavel Bogdanov, the curator of the reptile collection Dmitry Miloserdov, the curator of the Zoogeography hall Alexander Alyakrinsky, and the technical services of the museum.

Saturn is leaving the taxidermy workshop!

Taking the new exhibit to the 3rd floor, the "Zoogeography" hall.

With the curator of the reptile collection Dmitry Miloserdov.

Finishing touches by the Museum taxidermist Oksana Mbita Ebele.

Chief curator Pavel Bogdanov renews the podium in the showcase "Fauna of North America"

The mounting in the showcase.

The curator of the Zoogeography hall, Alexander Alyakrinsky.

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