BRAINERD, Minn. – A photo of a Mississippi River snapping turtle's close encounter with a Twin Cities kayaker is taking the internet by storm.
The photo, which shows the enormous snapping turtle in the water near Niemeyer's Rugged River Resort in Brainerd, was actually snapped this past summer. It went viral this week, however, after the resort posted it to its main account.
"I really didn't think that much of it, really. But it's been crazy, kind of fun," said Shala Holm of Buffalo, who took the picture. "I never thought I'd have anything go viral on the internet."
Holm says she was fishing with her daughter when the two encountered the turtle.
"All of the sudden, my daughter said, 'Mom, be quiet,'" Holm said. "She said 'I hear something breathing.'"
Holm said she and her daughter quickly saw the turtle but didn't have a chance to take a picture. The next day, she was prepared when she spotted it once again.
"Getting to be that close to that, as scared as I was, it was really a cool experience," Holm said. "His hand was as big as my hand. And then add the claws on there."
DNR Representatives say they saw the picture as it went viral online.
"You don't see them very often because they spend the majority of their lives underwater," said Non-Game Wildlife Specialist Lori Naumann of the Minnesota DNR. "They usually are eating their food underwater, so you're just not going to see them very often."
Naumann said snapping turtles inhabit many of the state's lakes and rivers. The one Holm encountered, she said, is like between 11 and 16 years old.
"They've been known to take ducklings and baby loons and anything that's swimming in the water, they can see it, and it kind of entices them. That's what attracted this turtle to the basket," Naumann said. "It's really not anything to be afraid of, unless you're trying to poke at it or anything like that. Just don't bother it."
"I'm going to go back there next year and see if that turtle is so there," Holm said. "I would be so thrilled if it was."
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