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Old Bob Gets the Boot

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Nobody's immune from eviction these days. Even local legends like Old Bob, the infamous giant alligator snapping turtle of Laguna Lake in Fullerton, lose their homes sometimes. A legend since the 1970s, Bob went out fighting as workers who were dredging the lake as part of a restoration project hoisted the 4-foot-long, 100-pound beast from his muddy lair. Old Bob fought back, snapping off the end of a bamboo pole workers used to maneuver him, and tried to climb out of a rescue worker's pickup.

As writer Mike Anton put it in his September 11, 2004, Los Angeles Times article, "The discovery put flesh on a story that had been spun since the 1970s by astonished fishermen who have inadvertently hooked Old Bob.

"He's an awesome, awesome turtle," said Sharon Paquette of Brea, the vice president of the Orange County chapter of the California Turtle & Tortoise Club. "He's so handsome."

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Alligator snapping turtles, which are native to the U.S. Southeast, are illegal in California. Paquette, who was called to take temporary possession of Old Bob, suspects he was a pet that got too big to handle and was released in the lake — perhaps as long ago as the 1950s judging by his size."

For the time being, Old Bob is in a private backyard pond in Orange County. Soon, he will be flown to a preserve on the East Coast.

"It's sort of an assisted living arrangement for turtles. 'He probably couldn't survive in the wild," Paquette told the LA Times. "He doesn't know how to hunt. He's had too cushy of a life.'"

Sigh. First Old Bob. Who's next? The Loch Ness Monster...some mysteries should remain unsolved.