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“Chonkasaurus”: Giant Snapping Turtle Captures Hearts in Chicago [Video]



Quick Smiles:

  • A giant snapping turtle, playfully nicknamed Chonkasaurus, has become an online celebrity after being filmed basking in the sun on the rocks of the Chicago River. The video was posted on Twitter by Joey Santore, prompting widespread interest and admiration.
  • Santore praised the sight of the hefty turtle thriving in what was once a heavily polluted river, commenting on the ongoing clean-up and restoration efforts in the area. The appearance of Chonkasaurus has led to discussions about urban wildlife and the importance of conservation.
  • Estimated by biologists to be between 40 and 50 years old and weighing around 60 pounds, Chonkasaurus is a living testament to the resilience of nature amidst urban landscapes. Her presence continues to inspire and intrigue both locals and internet fans alike.

In the heart of the Windy City, lounging lazily on the rocks of the Chicago River, resides an unexpected online celebrity — a 60-pound giant snapping turtle affectionately named Chonkasaurus.

This riverine diva’s grand debut came as she basked in the sun near Goose Island on the North Branch of the Chicago River, making a lasting impression that quickly rippled through social media.

The unveiling of this grandiose reptilian queen was courtesy of Joey Santore who captured Chonkasaurus in all her glory and shared the video on Twitter.

Clearly struck by the sight of this majestic turtle thriving in the urban landscape, he wrote, “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 thing’s been eating.”


While many might mistake this gargantuan amphibian for a misplaced monster from prehistoric times, biologists estimate the age of the gentle giant to be between 40 and 50 years.

Unfazed by her sudden internet fame, the serene Chonkasaurus continues her lazy sunbathing, serving as a living testament to the resilience of nature amidst urban landscapes.

Local folks, smitten by her lumbering charm, dubbed the snapping turtle “Chonkasaurus,” honoring her robust presence.

Her newfound fame has prompted discussions about the restoration and clean-up efforts of the once heavily polluted Chicago River, spotlighting the resilience of wildlife and the power of conservation.

Chonkasaurus’s reign on the Chicago River and the internet is a happy reminder that even in the bustling heart of a city, wildlife can thrive, and even flourish.


As we watch her enjoy her sun-soaked siestas on the river rocks, we are reminded that urban development and nature can harmoniously coexist.

Whether she’s aware of her status as an ambassador for urban wildlife or not, the magnificent Chonkasaurus will continue to grace the Chicago River, basking in the sun, and the adoration of her newfound online fans.

So, here’s to Chonkasaurus — the unexpected queen of the Chicago River, a symbol of nature’s resilience, and the city’s coolest new celebrity!