Belgrade’s zoo is home to Muja the alligator who is believed to be the oldest living American alligator in captivity, the Reuters news agency reported on Wednesday.
Muja the alligator arrived in Belgrade from Germany in 1937, according to a newspaper clipping from that time which said that he was 2 years old at the time. If the clipping is right, Muja is now more than 80 years old.
The alligator’s handlers said he was in good health and had a hearty appetite for his age. „He is well … and healthy, eats well and is in good form for his age, so we hope that he’ll remain that way for many years,“ zoo director Srboljub Aleksic said.
“Generations of Belgrade residents and tourists have come to watch Muja, and though he rarely moves around much, he is still agile at feeding time – when he munches on rats and quails. This is when his age shows, though, as he sometimes misses the target when he snaps at his food,” Reuters said.
So far Muja’s only health issue has been gangrene, which led to him having his front right claw amputated in 2012.
Reuters recalled that Muja survived two carpet bombings of the Serbian capital in World War 2 – one by the German Luftwaffe in 1941 and the other by the Allies in 1944 when all the official documentation about his transfer was lost.