ENORMOUS ‘MONSTER’ WITH BEAR-CLAWS HAUNTS MOTHER AND DAUGHTER BY THE RIVER

Authorities want to reassure everyone that there’s no need for concern, despite the recent sighting and recording of a sizable creature in the Mississippi River.

Imagine being just a few feet away from this massive beast in the water. What would you have done?

Read on to discover how one woman reacted and why her story gained unexpected fame.

Shala Holm, originally from Buffalo, Minnesota, encountered a large snapping turtle some months back. It’s only recently that her photo of the creature garnered widespread attention.

The turtle, with a head reminiscent of Godzilla, leads the way, its enormous claws spread out like a net for fish. It’s clear from the image that this turtle is larger than most.

This summer, while spending time with her family near Brainerd at Niemeyer’s Rugged River Resort, Holm and her daughter came across the creature in a tandem kayak.

“My daughter suddenly said, ‘Mom, be quiet. I can hear something breathing,’” Holm recalled.

Turning to look for something more familiar on the shore, Holm was taken aback to see the turtle’s snout inching toward a fish basket hanging from their kayak.

“He kind of latched onto it,” she said. “He was so big, and we were so startled.”

Holm shook the basket to scare the turtle off, and it swam away.

The following day, mother and daughter returned to the spot in their kayak, hoping to take a picture if the turtle returned. They spent their time fishing while waiting.

“When you’re in a kayak, the beauty is that you’re really close to the water,” Holm explained. “So we were really quite close.”

While they couldn’t determine the exact size of the reptile in the water, they were fairly certain it was a snapping turtle, with legs about the size of Holm’s wrists.

According to the state Department of Natural Resources, adult snapping turtles typically measure between 8 and 14 inches in length and weigh between 10 and 35 pounds. The largest turtle ever found in Minnesota weighed an astounding 65 pounds!

Shala emailed the image to the DNR for further information. They estimated the turtle to be at least 15 years old, possibly as old as 30.

 

After the resort owners, Corby and Sheila Niemeyer, decided to share Shala’s photo on their Facebook page, it quickly gained popularity. The post received thousands of shares and nearly a thousand comments. Media organizations interested in the subject even reached out to Sheila.

“Most of them are like, is this really real?” she said. “It really is.”

The resort is located in a calm, slow section of the Mississippi north of Brainerd. They often witness a variety of local wildlife there.

“Every June, we get a lot of turtles coming up on shore and they’re laying their eggs,” she said. “It’s one of our favorite things, watching the turtles. So it was pretty crazy to see a big one like that.”

While many Facebook users have advised staying away from the water, Sheila clarified that it’s not as risky as it may seem.

“I think if you were to really look at any lake or river, you’re going to find all kinds of things you never thought of,” she said. “They leave you alone. They don’t want to be by you.”

In fact, she hopes the post’s popularity will attract more guests to their resort.

“I’m hoping it won’t be something negative because they think, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ll never go there. I don’t want to swim with that,’” she said. “For the most part, I don’t think you need to worry about that. But seeing the wildlife is just amazing.”

The Minnesota DNR’s Erica Hoaglund, a regional nongame wildlife specialist, explains that snapping turtles are often misunderstood because they appear “scary” and defend themselves when they sense danger. She asserts that they’re not dangerous.

They’re most comfortable in the water and tend to try to look more intimidating on land, where they feel more exposed. They may defend themselves out of fear, but they never seek out conflict.

“They really just want to avoid being encountered, and will hide and flee if given half a chance,” Hoaglund said.

Holm, the first person to spot the large turtle, has shown no signs of anxiety. She even mentioned her plans to visit the resort again to reunite with her old pal.

“I’m going to go back to that spot next year and see if he or she is still around,” she said.

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