Creature With ‘Bear-Like’ Claws Emerges From Mississippi River, Stuns Anglers

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by J Christian Designs/Getty Images)

A mother and daughter who were out fishing came face to face with a strange creature in the water recently, and what it turned out to be may surprise you.

Shala Holm and her daughter Avery were fishing from their kayak on the Mississippi River near Brainerd, Minnesota when they spotted something lurking in the water near their boat. They heard something breathing and saw a giant set of claws they described later as “bear-like.”

“Suddenly my daughter said, ‘mom, be quiet, I hear something breathing,'” Shala recalled after the incident. “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. We were so freaked out about the size.”

The creature has since been identified as a huge snapping turtle. Shala estimated that it could be about 29 inches across. She added, “People asked [if] 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,” she continued, “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 broomstick handle in two.”

Woman and Her Daughter Encounter Huge River Creature While Fishing in Minnesota

Shala and Avery managed to shake the basket free from the snapping turtle’s grip and then beat a hasty retreat. Shala recalled, “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! I was afraid he might claw his way on top of the basket.”

The two anglers were freaked out by the huge snapping turtle at first. But, they said they returned to the area the next day to get some photos. Shala sent the photos to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. They in turn told Shala and Avery that the turtle could have been around 15 years old.

Since snapping turtles can live upwards of 70 years, this turtle is pretty young. Still, it has grown to an amazing size and definitely has some freakishly long claws. Shala said she hopes to see the giant creature the next time she’s out on the water.