A mother and daughter out fishing on the Mississippi River were left terrified after coming up close to a huge creature with massive bear-like claws.
Shala Holm and daughter Avery were fishing near Brainerd, in Minnesota, when they heard something breathing and suddenly spotted a set of giant claws lurking beneath their kayak.
But before you panic and think we’ve finally got proof of some cryptid water-monster, the animal has since been identified as a snapping turtle - a prehistoric-looking reptile feared for its powerful bite.
Shala 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.
“We were so freaked out about the size.”
Shala estimated that this particular one was about 29 inches across.
The 67-year-old 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.”
After successfully shaking their basket free, the pair were able to make a hasty retreat.
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!
“I was afraid he might claw his way on top of the basket.”
Despite ‘freaking out’ about the creature, they returned the next day to get some photos, which Shala sent off to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which told her the turtle could be around 15-years-old.
Shala said that she hopes to encounter the giant reptile next time she’s out in the area, and as snapping turtles can live for more than 100 years there’s a strong chance she might.
Featured Image Credit: Pen News