‘Chonkosaurus’ turtle delights wildlife experts.

Should we focus more on the good news? Two biologists on a kayaking trip have found that nature is thriving on the Chicago river, especially one very chunky reptile.

Joey Santore was kayaking along the Chicago River when he saw it. A massive turtle sat resting on a rusting chain. He was in awe at the size of it.

In the video Santore posted to YouTube, he can be heard saying “Look at that beast. Hey, how ya doing guy? You look good. You’re healthy.” He and his friend, both botanists, nicknamed “that beast” the Chonkosaurus. And now Chonkasoraus has gone viral, capturing the hearts of thousands of admirers.

The snapping turtle is a freshwater species common in North America’s rivers. However, Chris Anchor, a wildlife biologist, told local news that seeing one is a rare treat.

“These turtles live on the bottom of the river,” said Anchor, “and unlike a painted turtle or veteran slider, which are very commonly seen basking on rocks and whatnot, snapping turtles are almost never seen.”

Seeing one so amply proportioned is an even bigger treat!

Santore and his friend Al Scorch were not out looking for turtles. They were there as botany buffs to document the plants along the Chicago River.

It is an area where conservationists have worked to stop waste dumping, restore indigenous plant species, and to combat the spread of invasive European ones.

“The plants and the animals are interrelated — if one is doing well, the other’s doing well, it’s ecology,” Scorch said.