Can you imagine encountering a giant creature with bear-like claws while kayaking in a river? That’s exactly what happened to Shala Holm and her daughter during their vacation at Niemeyer’s Rugged River Resort near Brainerd. The incident left them startled and amazed, and now their story has gone viral!
It all started when Shala and her daughter were kayaking on the Mississippi River. Suddenly, her daughter whispered, “Mom, be quiet. I can hear something breathing.” Little did they know, they were about to come face to face with a massive snapping turtle.
The turtle’s large claws were reaching towards a fish basket hanging from their kayak. It was a sight to behold, with its Godzilla-like head leading the way. Shala described the turtle as “so big” and admitted they were both startled by its presence.
To scare off the turtle, Shala shook the basket until it swam away. But their curiosity got the best of them, and they returned the next day, hoping to catch another glimpse of the fascinating creature. They were amazed at how close they could get to the water in their kayak, giving them a unique perspective.
Although they couldn’t determine the exact size of the turtle, they estimated its legs to be roughly the size of Shala’s wrists. Adult snapping turtles can grow up to 14 inches long and weigh between 10 to 35 pounds. The biggest turtle ever recorded in Minnesota weighed an impressive 65 pounds!
Shala shared the photo of the turtle with the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), who believed it to be at least 15 years old, possibly even 30. The photo soon went viral after the resort owners, Corby and Sheila Niemeyer, posted it on their Facebook page. They were amazed at the overwhelming response from thousands of shares and comments.
Sheila, one of the resort owners, reassured people that the river is not as dangerous as it may seem. She explained, “They leave you alone. They don’t want to be by you.” In fact, she hopes that the popularity of the post will bring more guests to their resort, highlighting the amazing wildlife sightings in the area.
According to Erica Hoaglund, a regional nongame wildlife specialist with the Minnesota DNR, snapping turtles are often misunderstood because of their scary appearance. However, they are not dangerous. They will only defend themselves if they feel threatened but would never attack unprovoked.
Shala, the original witness to the big turtle, has expressed no fear and plans to return to the resort next year to see if her reptilian friend is still around. It seems like they’ve formed a unique connection with this majestic creature.
So, what do you think? Would you swim in that river? Let us know in the comments!