Massive ‘river monster’ with enormous ‘bear-like’ claws terrifies kayakers

A mother and daughter had the shock of their life when they went on a fishing trip after their day out was interrupted by the presence of a ‘monstrous’ snapping turtle

A mother and daughter almost came to blows with a ‘monstrous’ turtle while fishing (Image: Credit: Pen News)

A snapping turtle gave a mother and daughter a surprising twist during their fishing trip after appearing underneath their kayak.

Shala Holm was fishing with her daughter, Avery, on the Mississippi River near Brainerd, in the US state of Minnesota, when they encountered the creature.

The 67-year-old said: “Suddenly my daughter said, ‘mom, be quiet, I hear something breathing’.

“It took a while before we saw the nose of a turtle swimming toward the kayak. As it got closer, we saw how big it was.

“He dove under the kayak and latched himself onto the fishing basket with his nails, [and] we were so freaked out about the size.”

Shala Holm said the creature latched itself on her fishing basket with its claws (Image: Credit: Pen News)

What the pair had actually come across was a snapping turtle, known for its powerful beak-like jaw and long life expectancy, with some surpassing 100 years of age.

Shala estimated the turtle was a staggering 29 inches across, demonstrating the sheer size of the reptile.

The mother added: “People asked I was afraid, and I must admit at the time I was, which is kind of silly because I am bigger than he was and hopefully smarter.

“I guess because we were so close to him, being in the kayak, and I didn’t know how badly he wanted those fish and if he would try and get into the kayak.

“I wasn’t sure how I would get him off the basket. I was nervous about grabbing the handle of the basket, I wasn’t sure how badly he wanted the fish and how aggressive he might be.

“We’ve all heard stories of snappers snapping a broom stick handle in two.”

She estimated that the creature, which was in fact a snapping turtle, was 29 inches across (Image: Credit: Pen News)

Apparently one viewing wasn’t enough as after the pair escaped its clutches, it returned the next day in order to retrieve photographic evidence.

Shala said: “We never heard him or saw him again until he was clinging onto the basket.

“My heart was racing but I was able to grab my phone and snap a few pictures.

“I was amazed at the size of his outstretched legs; his feet were the size of my fist and then add those nails!

A snapping turtle can live up to 100 years old (Image: Credit: Pen News)

“I was afraid he might claw his way on top of the basket.”

Shala subsequently sent the photos to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, who estimated that the one she encountered might have been 15 years old.

She said she hopes for a reunion with the turtle when she returns to Niemeyer’s Rugged River Resort next year.

Their claws are said to be as sharp as a bear’s, though they use them for digging and gripping rather than attacking.


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