"Hey, how ya doing guy?"
During what would have otherwise been a normal kayaking trip, podcaster and hobby botanist Joey Santore spotted something incredible on the Chicago River — an absolutely massive snapping turtle enjoying the day.
Last week, Santore posted a video to Twitter of the "Chicago River Snapper aka Chonkasaurus," providing a running commentary of the encounter as he filmed.
"Look at this guy!" Santore exclaimed. "Look at the size of that fucking thing!"
The podcaster told local news radio station WBBM that he thinks the specimen weighs at least 60 pounds.
"Hey, how ya doing guy?" Santore continued in his thick Chicago accent. "You look good."
Chicago River Snapper aka Chonkosaurus. Great to see this beast thriving here on what was once such a toxic river, but is slowly getting cleaned up & restored. Somebody planted a bunch of native plants up the river from here, too. I can only wonder this things been eating. pic.twitter.com/u6bhlpo4p5
— Joey Santore (@JoeySantore) May 6, 2023
In an interview with local TV station WGN-TV, Santore conceded that the giant turtle was likely not a "guy" at all, but was more likely a pregnant female.
"In a way, it was posed so eloquently with the rusty chains," he told the broadcaster. "It was like an art piece."
The uniqueness and beauty of the situation were not lost on Chris Anchor, a wildlife biologist with Cook County's Forest Preserve District who told the Associated Press that it's rare to see a snapping turtle out in the open like that, especially considering its size.
"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 said, estimating it to be around 40 or 50 years old.
However, as cool as the sighting was, the wildlife specialist warned not to get too close to a snapping turtle like "Chonkasaurus."
"Turtles this big will consume anything they can get their mouth around," Anchor said. "Enjoy it. Leave it alone."
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