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The Reptile Life - Bob Applegate

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Robert W Applegate (Bob) was born at a very young age to parents Frank and Doris Applegate of New Jersey in 1945. At about 6 months of age, being a Navy brat, he was brought to California, where he has since resided. Living in a coastal community of Pacific Beach, at approx age 5 he caught his first snake. It was snakes and lizards from that time on. At age 10 when the family bought a house and moved to El Cajon Bob had a collection of a few snakes and lizards. But that is when he had his first room alone, and soon the walls and any open space had a cage with some sort of herp. Not allowed to keep venomous, Bob caught his first rattlesnake at age 12, and kept it and others coming at a later date, hidden in nearby fields. In Junior High Bob decided the local stuff was not exciting enough anymore, so he started collecting on a large scale and trading with dealers or selling to dealers and using the cash to purchase what he wanted (ie the first Boas, pythons, etc). I suppose you could say that is when he became commercial in a small way.

Things continued this way until a graduation from High school and a marriage to his high school sweetheart. His daughter Michelle was born within a year. For about 6 years the reptiles were second to family considerations, but for a short time he shared rent with an animal importer and dabbled in importing herps from a small shop near Lakeside. At age 21, after being a door to door salesman, he landed a job on the fire Dept. In 1970 he bought his first home, a 3 bedroom house in El Cajon, and left apartment life forever (He hopes!). Soon the garage was a snake room and there was a concrete block snake pit in the back yard. Both commercial collecting and import/exporting became significant additions to the family income.