The authorities want to reassure everyone that despite the recent sighting and recording of a sizable creature in the Mississippi River, there is no cause for concern.

Imagine being just a few meters away from this massive monster in the water. What would you have done?

Read on to find out how one woman reacted and why her story gained unexpected fame.

Shala Holm, originally from Buffalo, Minnesota, encountered a large snapping turtle a few months ago. Recently, her photo of the creature gained widespread attention.

The turtle, with a head resembling Godzilla, leads the way, its enormous claws spreading like a net for fish. It’s clear that this turtle is larger than most.

This summer, while Holm was with her family near Brainerd at Niemeyer’s Rugged River Resort, she encountered the creature with her daughter in a tandem kayak.

“My daughter suddenly said, ‘Mom, be quiet. I can hear something breathing,'” Holm recalled.

When she turned around to look for something familiar on the shore, Holm was surprised to see the turtle’s snout coming towards a fish basket hanging from her kayak.

“It somehow attached itself,” she said. “It was so big, and we were so scared.”

Holm shook the basket to drive away the turtle, and it swam away.

The next day, mother and daughter returned to the spot with their kayak, hoping to take a photo in case the turtle returned. They spent their time fishing while waiting.

“When you’re in a kayak, the nice thing is that you’re really close to the water,” explained Holm. “So we were really quite close.”

Although they couldn’t determine the exact size of the reptile in the water, they were fairly certain it was a snapping turtle, with legs about the size of Holm’s wrists.

According to the state’s Department of Natural Resources, adult snapping turtles typically measure between 20 and 35 centimeters in length and weigh between 4.5 and 16 kilograms. The largest turtle ever found in Minnesota weighed an astonishing 29 kilograms!

Shala sent the picture via email to the Department of Natural Resources for further information. They estimated the turtle’s age to be at least 15 years, possibly even 30 years.

After the resort owners, Corby and Sheila Niemeyer, decided to share Shala’s photo on their Facebook page, it quickly gained popularity. The post received thousands of shares and almost a thousand comments. Media organizations interested in the topic even reached out to Sheila.

“Most of them ask: Is this really real?” she said. “It really is.”

The resort is located in a quiet, slow section of the Mississippi north of Brainerd. They often experience a variety of local wildlife there.

“Every June, many turtles come to the beach and lay their eggs,” she said. “So watching the turtles is one of our favorite things. It was pretty crazy to see one so big.”

Although many Facebook users advised staying away from the water, Sheila clarified that it is not as risky as it may seem.

“I think if you really looked at every lake or river, you’d find all sorts of things you never thought about,” she said. “They leave you alone. They don’t want to be with you.”

In fact, she hopes the post’s popularity will attract more guests to their resort.

“I hope it won’t be something negative because they think, ‘Oh my God, I’m never going there. I don’t want to swim with that,'” she said. “In general, I don’t think you need to worry about it. But seeing the wildlife is just amazing.”

Erica Hoaglund, a regional wildlife specialist with the Minnesota DNR, explains that snapping turtles are often misunderstood because they appear “creepy” and defend themselves when they sense danger. She emphasizes that they are not dangerous.

They feel most comfortable in the water and try to look more threatening on land, where they feel more exposed. They may defend themselves out of fear but never seek conflict.

“They really just want to avoid being noticed, and they’ll hide and flee if given the opportunity,” said Hoaglund.

Holm, the first person to discover the large turtle, shows no signs of fear. She even mentioned her plans to visit the resort again to reunite with her old friend.

“I will return to this place next year and see if he or she is still there,” she said.

What do you think? Would you swim in this river? Let us know in the comments!

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