The creature was sighted and captured on tape in the Mississippi River, but authorities have assured the public not to worry.
What would you do if you saw this giant beast in the water, just meters away from you?
Read on to find out how one woman reacted and why she didn’t expect her story to become so popular.
Shala Holm, a native of Buffalo, Minnesota. Shala encountered a massive serpentine turtle several months ago, but only recently did its photo go viral. The image shows the turtle’s huge claws edging towards a net full of fish, with its Godzilla-like head leading the way.
It’s evident just from looking at the picture that this turtle is larger than most others.
Shala and her family were on their annual vacation at Niemeyer’s Rugged River Resort near Brainerd last summer. Holm.
I hear something breathing,'” said Mrs. Holm, in a tandem kayak with his daughter, had their first encounter with the animal. “Suddenly my daughter told me, ‘Mom, don’t make a sound. Holm.
When she turned around to search for something more typical on the shore, she was frightened to see the turtle’s snout heading towards a fish basket attached to their kayak.
“It latched onto it with its claws,” she recalls. “It was enormous, and we were completely taken aback. Holm. “So we were really up close and personal.”
To scare the turtle away, Mrs. Holm shook the basket until it swam off. Intrigued to get a closer look and capture it in a photograph, the mother and daughter returned to the spot the next day by kayak.
They passed time catching fish until the turtle reappeared. “The beauty of kayaking is you can get so near to the water,” explains Ms.
Mother and daughter were uncertain about the precise size of the reptile they spotted in the water, but they identified it as a snapping turtle and noted that its legs were approximately the size of Holm’s wrists.
According to the Department of Natural Resources in the state, adult snapping turtles generally measure between 20 and 45 centimeters in length and weigh between 5 and 16 kilograms. The largest turtle ever documented in Minnesota weighed an impressive 29 kilograms.
Shala forwarded the photo to the DNR to request further information. They estimated that the turtle’s age was at least 15 years, but it could be as old as 30.
Shala’s photo went viral after the owners of the vacation center decided to publish it on their Facebook page. Corby and Sheila Niemeyer are the owners of the vacation center, and they saw the photo garner thousands of shares and nearly a thousand comments. Sheila even received inquiries from media outlets interested in the story.
“Most of them wonder if it’s really true,” she said. “It really is the case.
According to the resort owner, it is located in a quiet, slow section of the Mississippi River, north of Brainerd. Various local wildlife is often seen there.
“Every year in June, many turtles come to lay their eggs on the shore. It’s one of the things we love the most: observing turtles. So, it was quite crazy to see one so large.”
While many Facebook users advised staying out of the water, Sheila explained that it wasn’t as dangerous as it may have seemed.
“I think if you really look at any lake or river, you’ll find all kinds of things you wouldn’t have thought of,” she said. “They leave you alone. They don’t want to be next to you.”
In fact, she hopes that the article’s popularity will help attract more visitors to their establishment.
“I hope it won’t be something negative because they think, ‘Oh my God, I’ll never go there. I don’t want to swim with that,'” she said. “Overall, I don’t think there’s any need to worry about it. But seeing the wildlife is just amazing.”
According to Erica Hoaglund, a Minnesota regional wildlife specialist (in an email), snapping turtles are often misunderstood because they look “scary” and react defensively when they feel threatened. She emphasized that they are not dangerous.
They are calmest in the water, and on land, where they feel more vulnerable, they often try to appear scarier. If they defend themselves, they never attack.
“They just want to avoid encounters and will hide and flee if given the chance,” Mr. Hoaglund said.
Holm, the first witness to the large turtle in question, expressed no fear. In fact, she said she intended to return to the resort to see if her old friend was still there next year.
“I’m going back to that spot next year and see if she’s still there,” she said.
What do you think? Would you swim in this river? Tell us in the comments!