Harrell released his massive catch, which turned out to be a rare alligator snapping turtle, but not before posing for a selfie that has gone viral.
The snapshot showing a bare-chested Mr Harrell struggling to hold onto to the bulky reptile with its maw agape has been shared more than 10,000 times on Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Facebook page.
In a post that accompanied the jaw-dropping picture, Mr Harrell explained that he and a friend, Audey Clark, were catfishing in Mill Creek at Eufaula Lake when they came upon something really big.
Harrell caught the alligator snapping turtle on a rod and reeled it in while his companion secured the mammoth beast and hauled it onto their boat for a photo-op. The turtle was then released into the water unharmed.
Experts say that it is a common misconception that alligator snapping turtles are widespread in Oklahoma. The vulnerable species has been at the center of a reintroduction program in the state in recent years.
Barry Downer, curator of herpetology and aquatics for the Tulsa Zoo, told Tulsa World that based on Harrell’s picture and his personal experience with alligator snapping turtles, the angler’s specimen probably weighed around 100lbs.
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