River ‘monster’ with enormous ‘bear-like’ claws terrifies mother and daughter
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River ‘monster’ with enormous ‘bear-like’ claws terrifies mother and daughter

Recently, a gigantic creature was seen and captured on camera in the Mississippi River, but authorities have reassured the public that there is no cause for alarm.

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

Read on to discover how one woman reacted and why her story has become so widely known.

Shala Holm, who hails from Buffalo, Minnesota, encountered a gigantic snapping turtle months ago, but it wasn’t until recently that her photograph went viral.

The turtle’s head, resembling something out of a Godzilla movie, is prominently featured in the photo as its enormous claws grip a net of fish. The image clearly shows that this turtle is much larger than the typical ones found in the area.

This summer, Shala was spending time with her family at Niemeyer’s Rugged River Resort near Brainerd. While out in a tandem kayak with her daughter, they had an unexpected encounter with the giant turtle.

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

To their astonishment, they saw the turtle’s nose heading towards a fish basket hanging from their kayak.

“He kind of clawed onto it,” Shala explained. “He was so big, and we were so startled.”

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

The next day, Shala and her daughter returned to the spot in their kayak to try and see the turtle again and capture a photo. They spent their time fishing and waiting.

“The great thing about being in a kayak is that you’re really close to the water,” Shala said. “So we were really quite close.”

Though they couldn’t be sure of the turtle’s exact size, they were fairly certain it was a snapping turtle, with legs roughly the size of Shala’s wrists.

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

Shala sent the photo to the DNR for more information. They estimated the turtle to be at least 15 years old, possibly as old as 30.

After the resort owners posted Shala’s photo on their Facebook page, it quickly went viral. Corby and Sheila Niemeyer, the resort’s owners, watched as the post garnered thousands of shares and nearly a thousand comments. Media outlets also reached out to them.

“Most people are like, is this really real?” Sheila said. “It really is.”

The resort is located in a quiet, slow section of the Mississippi River north of Brainerd, where they often see a variety of local wildlife.

“Every June, we see lots of turtles coming up on shore to lay their eggs,” Sheila explained. “We love watching the turtles, so it was pretty amazing to see such a big one.”

Some Facebook users have advised people to avoid the water, but Sheila clarified that it’s not as dangerous as it seems.

“If you really look at any lake or river, you’ll find all kinds of things you never thought of,” she said. “They leave you alone. They don’t want to be near you.”


In fact, Sheila hopes the viral post will attract more visitors to their resort.

“I hope it doesn’t scare people away. Seeing the wildlife is amazing,” she said. “For the most part, you don’t need to worry about it.”

Erica Hoaglund, a regional nongame wildlife specialist with the Minnesota DNR, says that snapping turtles are often misunderstood. They may look scary and defend themselves when they feel threatened, but they are not dangerous.

“They prefer the water and will usually try to hide and flee if given a chance,” Hoaglund explained. “They may act defensive on land, where they feel more vulnerable, but they don’t seek conflict.”

Despite her encounter, Shala isn’t worried. She even plans to return to the resort next year to see if she can spot her turtle friend again.

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

Would you swim in that river? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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