70-pound snapping turtle found near La Cañada Flintridge Country Club

Leticia Juarez Image
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Snapping turtle found near local country club
A giant snapping turtle weighing 70 pounds was found wandering near the La Canada Flintridge Country Club Thursday.

PHELAN, SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY -- Not your usual golf-course hazard: A giant snapping turtle weighing 70 pounds was found wandering the streets near the La Caada Flintridge Country Club Thursday.

The turtle was taken to the Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary in Phelan. Joel Almquist, who runs the sanctuary, says the reptile is not native to California. It is a voracious eater and often does a lot of damage to native wildlife.

"It has been eating anything and everything it possibly can. Snakes, small ducks, you name it. If they can fit it in their mouth, they'll eat it," Almquist said, adding that the turtles are called snapping turtles for a reason.

"A turtle this size would definitely take a finger," he said.

The theory is this monstrous turtle, once the size of two quarters, was most likely someone's adorable pet who grew too big and was released. But size does have its advantages, especially when alligators are your new neighbors.

"Being such large and aggressive turtles, they get along pretty well with the alligators," Almquist said.

For now, the alligators and the turtle are keeping to themselves, but close quarters can make for bad tempers.

"At Forever Wild, he will have a permanent home," Almquist said. "Our biggest thing now is trying to create a new pond for all the turtles and alligators that I do have here."

Because this turtle won't be going anywhere. His new home is now Phelan.