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Smiley the 'Gator Dies as Sweden Cuts Heat in Aquarium

February 10, 1987|United Press International

GOTEBORG, Sweden — Smiley, reputed to be the world's oldest alligator in captivity, died at the Goteborg Maritime Museum after the city turned down the heat in her pond in a cost-cutting move. She was 65.

The stately lady 'gator, born in the wilds of the Mississippi River in 1922, was brought to Sweden as part of the 300th anniversary of the city in 1923, museum Director Goran Sundstrom said today.

He said Smiley died Monday after becoming sick two weeks ago as a result of a city cost-cutting campaign in which the heat was lowered in the museum's aquarium from 81 degrees to 72 to save energy.

Smiley, named because of her grin, led such a quiet life that visitors sometimes thought the 222-pound, 13-foot beast was dead, he said.

"I used to suggest that they go down to her," Sundstrom said. "Then they would have seen how quick she was."

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