Alligator snapping turtle ‘Bob’ dies at the Denver Zoo

Bob / Photo courtesy Denver Zoo

Bob / Photo courtesy Denver Zoo

DENVER — An alligator snapping turtle named Bob died at the Denver Zoo, the zoo announced Thursday.

The zoo estimates Bob was at least 60 years old.

In 1989, a fisherman found Bob in Galveston Bay, Texas. He was weak from living in the saltwater bay, a habitat not suited for the freshwater species, according to the zoo.

The Houston Zoo rehabilitated Bob before he arrived in Denver in 1992.

The zoo says Bob was one of the first reptiles in the Tropical Discovery exhibit.

“Weighing 175 pounds, and measuring more than two feet, Bob spent a lot of time motionless (which is normal for the species) at the bottom of his tank, prompting many guests to ask us if he was even real!” the zoo said in a statement. “Bob may have looked aloof, but he was exhibiting the unique luring behavior of his species. Alligator snapping turtles have a modified tongue, designed to look like a worm. While the turtle is still, a fish or two might come to inspect the bait – only to become lunch.”

The zoo says Bob would surprise guests by going from nearly motionless to “stirring” in seconds during feeding time.

“He was a beloved founding member of Tropical Discovery, and will be missed by staff, volunteers and guests alike,” the zoo said.

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