Absolute Unit of a Snapping Turtle, ‘Chonkosaurus’ Thriving in the Chicago River
Alligator Snapping Turtles can get pretty big, and there's no mistaking them. The size of a truck tire sometimes, they can bite clean through just about anything that wanders close to its beak, including fish... and fingers.
But when I tell you, the Chicago River has an Absolute Unit of a snapping Turtle living in it, believe me, the description barely does it justice.
Call him the apex predator of the Chicago River, the Chicago Chonk Monster, the The Turtle Titan, a Robust River monster of sorts... but locals know him as "Chonkosaurus."
He's an Alligator Snapping Turtle that has been spotted on the Chicago River periodically over the years. What makes him unique, is his size! On a regular basis, Alligator Snapping Turtles can reach weights up to 75 pounds.The jury is still out on "Chonk," but just by looking at him in this latest video, he's probably north of 100 pounds.
WHAT is that dude eating? Are there even any fish LEFT in the Chicago River? I think this guy has graduated from fish and other aquatic animals, and moved on to groundhogs and small deer.
He is POURING out of his shell, like me trying on a kid's t-shirt.
The video was shot by Joey Santore, who was kayaking with a friend along the river, looking for invasive species of plants when he came across the river monster.
"It was the most Chicago image. It was like this giant, just almost over-weight, that looked too big for its shell, reptil hanging out on some rusty gnarly chains that were holding together these decrepit pylons that were probably like 80 years old."
Not just an image of Chicago, but America in general maybe?
All jokes aside, Santore did make one observation that felt very promising, regarding wildlife conservation of the area.
"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."
Maybe we should get a few native plants and our own Chonkosaurus for the Kalamazoo River? We might even be able to eat the fish we catch in it, again, one day.