Shala Holm’s unforgettable encounter with a massive snapping turtle during her family vacation at Niemeyer’s Rugged River Resort has gone viral, leaving the online community awestruck.
The eerie photo she snapped shows the creature’s dinosaur-like head and outstretched forearms with menacing claws reaching towards a basket of fish.
Holm, accompanied by her daughter, was peacefully fishing for crappies in a tandem kayak on the Mississippi River when something extraordinary unfolded.
Her daughter’s keen ears detected a mysterious sound, urging Holm to turn her attention towards the riverbank. To her astonishment, a nose emerged from the water, and a colossal snapping turtle swam up to investigate the fish basket hanging by the kayak’s side.
Startled by the unexpected guest, Holm quickly lifted the basket, and the turtle gracefully swam away.
The next day, filled with curiosity, she returned to the same spot with her daughter.
Soon enough, the massive reptile reappeared, providing the perfect opportunity for Holm to snap a couple of close-up photos.
While the exact size of the turtle remains uncertain, Holm estimates that its front legs were as thick as her wrists.
She believes it belonged to the snapping turtle species, known to be Minnesota’s largest turtle species.
Adult snapping turtles usually measure 8 to 14 inches long and weigh between 10 to 35 pounds, with some rare individuals reaching a staggering 65 pounds.
After sending her breathtaking photo to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), experts estimated that the turtle was at least 15 years old, possibly even 30.
Sheila Niemeyer, co-owner of the resort, shared the photo on their Facebook page, not expecting the overwhelming response it would receive. Within days, the post garnered nearly 1,000 comments, thousands of shares, and caught the attention of various media outlets.
While some expressed awe at the incredible sighting, others humorously admitted they’d think twice before swimming in waters that might harbor such majestic creatures. However, snapping turtles, although intimidating in appearance, are not dangerous.
Erica Hoaglund, a wildlife specialist from the Minnesota DNR, reassured the public that snapping turtles prefer avoiding encounters and rarely pose a threat to humans.
These turtles play a vital role in the ecosystem, helping to maintain the health of lakes and rivers by consuming decaying matter. Sadly, they face multiple threats, including habitat loss and collisions with vehicles.
Despite the extraordinary encounter, Holm remains undeterred and looks forward to revisiting the same spot next summer, hoping to catch another glimpse of this magnificent creature.
As her captivating story continues to inspire and bewilder, the majestic snapping turtle serves as a testament to the wonders of nature.