Did a Giant Snapping Turtle Really Decapitate a Body in an Indiana Lake?
If the first time you hear/read a story about a giant snapping turtle decapitating someone is from me, it is probably not true. Think about it - if the story were true, there were undoubtedly be national news coverage about it - don't you think?
Since there aren't national headlines about some record-setting snapping turtle, you might be wondering what in the world I'm talking about. Here are portions of the "story" that was shared on Facebook recently. I think you'll find it looks and sounds pretty convincing...
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Forensic scientists at Purdue University announced today that the decapitated human remains discovered in Lake Monroe last week appear to have been the result of a gruesome attack by a giant snapping turtle, potentially the largest ever recorded. Dr. Eric Paddlejack, a Forensic Biologist from Purdue University, estimates the turtle could measure as large as 9 feet in diameter and be around 300 years old, making it the largest and oldest snapping turtle ever discovered in North America. "It's extremely rare for snapping turtles to inflict life-threatening injuries to humans," said Paddlejack during a press conference. "But in this case, the size and age of the turtle suggest an aggressiveness that is beyond ordinary." Wildlife officials, in collaboration with Purdue scientists, are developing a plan to safely capture the giant turtle. They are also conducting a broader survey of the lake to understand if there might be more oversized reptiles in the area. Despite the grim discovery, Paddlejack is optimistic about the potential learnings from this case. "While this is undoubtedly a tragedy," he said, "it may also provide us with an unprecedented opportunity to expand our understanding of these incredible creatures."
The information looks pretty reliable, and for about 20 seconds, I thought the story could be real, but then my BS meter started going off. After a very brief (less than five minutes) investigation, I determined this was NOT a true story.
I searched for any other articles about it - there were none. I searched for any information about Dr. Eric Paddlejack from Purdue University - there is no such fella. Not long after, some friends of mine shared the following responses from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR)..
FYI: If you’re looking for turtles, we’ve got you covered. But if you’re looking for a nine-foot, 300-year-old snapping turtle, you might try your favorite comic book or horror film instead of Monroe Lake.