A large creature was recently observed in the Mississippi River, causing quite a stir. However, officials have urged the public to remain calm and not be alarmed. The animal in question was a gigantic snapping turtle, and the person who encountered it, Shala Holm from Buffalo, Minnesota, managed to capture a picture of the fascinating creature.
Shala’s encounter with the enormous turtle took place a few months ago, but her story has only just gained widespread attention. When she saw the creature just a few feet away from her in the water, she was initially surprised but managed to react calmly. She never anticipated that her experience would become so popular, but her photograph of the turtle has now gone viral, drawing interest and curiosity from people all over the world.
The photograph reveals the turtle’s massive claws stretching towards a net full of fish, with its colossal, Godzilla-like head at the forefront. It’s evident from the image that this turtle is much larger than most of its kind.
During her family’s yearly vacation at Niemeyer’s Rugged River Resort near Brainerd last summer, Shala had her encounter with the enormous turtle. She was kayaking alongside her daughter when they first came across the creature. Recalling the experience, Shala shared that her daughter suddenly told her to be quiet, as she could hear something breathing. It was then that they stumbled upon the giant turtle in the water.
Shala was taken aback when, instead of seeing something more ordinary near the shore, she spotted the turtle’s nose approaching the fish basket hanging from their kayak. She described how the turtle “kind of clawed onto it,” emphasizing its enormous size and their surprise at the encounter.
In an attempt to fend off the turtle, Shala shook the basket until the creature swam away. Intrigued and hoping to capture a photo of the turtle, Shala and her daughter returned to the same spot in their kayak the following day. They spent their time fishing until the giant turtle reappeared, allowing them to finally snap a picture of the impressive animal.
Shala mentioned that one of the advantages of being in a kayak is the proximity to the water, which allowed them to be quite close to the turtle. Although they couldn’t determine the exact size of the reptile, the mother and daughter believed it was a snapping turtle with legs approximately as thick as Shala’s wrists.
The state Department of Natural Resources reports that adult snapping turtles typically measure between 8 and 14 inches in length and weigh between 10 and 35 pounds. The largest turtle ever documented in Minnesota weighed an astounding 65 pounds, showcasing the remarkable size some of these creatures can reach.
After capturing the image, Shala reached out to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for more information about the turtle. The DNR estimated that the turtle could be anywhere between 15 and 30 years old. The photograph gained widespread attention when Corby and Sheila Niemeyer, the resort owners, posted it on their Facebook page. The post quickly went viral, receiving thousands of shares and nearly a thousand comments. Media outlets even contacted Sheila to cover the story, with many questioning the photo’s authenticity. She assured them that it was indeed real.
The resort, located on a tranquil, slow-moving stretch of the Mississippi River north of Brainerd, is known for being home to various local wildlife species. This serene environment allows guests to observe and appreciate the beauty of nature up close.
Sheila shared that during June, many turtles come ashore to lay their eggs, which is an event they enjoy witnessing. Seeing such a large turtle was an extraordinary experience for them. Despite some Facebook users expressing concerns about entering the water, Sheila reassured that it’s not as perilous as it may appear.
She explained that any lake or river is likely to host a variety of creatures that people may not even be aware of, but these animals generally do not bother humans and prefer to maintain their distance. In fact, Sheila hopes that the attention generated by the viral post will attract more guests to their resort, giving them the opportunity to appreciate the abundant wildlife and natural beauty of the area.
Sheila hopes that people won’t be deterred from visiting the resort due to fear of encountering the large turtle. She believes there’s no need to worry, and instead, emphasizes the incredible experience of observing wildlife in its natural habitat.
Erica Hoaglund, a regional nongame wildlife specialist with the Minnesota DNR, stated in an email that snapping turtles are frequently misunderstood because of their intimidating appearance and defensive reactions when feeling threatened. However, she clarified that they are not dangerous. These turtles are most at ease in water, and may try to appear more menacing on land, where they feel vulnerable. While they may defend themselves out of fear, they will not attack unprovoked.
Hoaglund emphasized that snapping turtles prefer to avoid encounters and will choose to hide or flee if given the opportunity. They are not inherently aggressive creatures.
Shala Holm, who initially encountered the massive turtle, is not fearful of the experience. On the contrary, she plans to return to the resort and hopes to find the impressive reptile again. She looks forward to revisiting the spot next year to see if the turtle is still around.
So, what are your thoughts? Would you be willing to swim in that river? Feel free to share your opinions in the comments!