CHICAGO (AP) — Footage of a plump snapping turtle relaxing along a Chicago waterway has gone viral after the man who filmed the well-fed reptile marveled at its size and nicknamed it “Chonkosaurus.”
Joey Santore was kayaking with a friend along the Chicago River last weekend when they spotted the large snapping turtle sitting atop a large chain draped over what appear to be rotting logs.
He posted a jumpy video of the turtle on Twitter, labeling it the “Chicago River Snapper aka Chonkosaurus.”
Chris Anchor, the chief wildlife biologist with Forest Preserves of Cook County, said the snapping turtle Santore filmed is quite rare, considering its apparent size. He said it’s also unusual for the reptiles to be seen basking along rivers, but it probably recently emerged from hibernation.
“So my guess is that this animal had crawled out of the river to try and gather as much heat as it could in the sunshine,” Anchor told WMAQ-TV.
While it’s difficult to determine exactly how large the turtle is from the video alone, Anchor called it “a very large individual.” And he noted that snapping turtles are not picky eaters.
“Turtles this big will consume anything they can get their mouth around,” he said, adding that anyone encountering a snapping turtle should not disturb it or try to catch it.
Urban Wildlife always fascinates me because you can see how species end up cohabitating with humans. This turtle lives in Chicago and has gotten fat as fuck off eating rats and mob hits at the bottom of the river. Chicago is the rat capital of the U.S and you can tell this snapping turtle has made a hefty living off eating them.
This snapping turtle might be close to 100 years old. There have been snapping turtles caught today with musket balls from the civil war in their shells. This turtle may have eaten dead bodies dumped by the mob in the prohibition days. Al Capone may have seen this turtle. Chonkasaurus is an amazing name for this beast of the Chicago River. Finding Chonkasaurus would make a great video if I were going to Chicago. Also, the accents on those guys just confirm that this definitely was taking place in Chicago. Imagine diving into the Chicago River to pull out Chonkasaurus. They truly are the last living dinosaurs.