The plump Chicago River snapping turtle Chonkosaurus was spotted by kayakers. Screenshot, Crime Pays But Botany Doesn't/Youtube
The plump Chicago River snapping turtle Chonkosaurus was spotted by kayakers. Screenshot, Crime Pays But Botany Doesn't/Youtube© Screenshot, Crime Pays But Botany Doesn't/Youtube
  • "Chonkosaurus," AKA "Chonk," was spotted chilling in the Chicago River last week.
  • The exceedingly plump snapping turtle was captured on video that has since gone viral.
  • "It was the most Chicago image," the person who took the video told Block Club Chicago.

An enormous snapping turtle in the Chicago River was captured on video last week and affectionately nicknamed "Chonkosaurus" — or "Chonk" for short.

The video was shared Joey Santore, who runs the YouTube channel "Crime Pays But Botany Doesn't" along with his friend Al Scorch, according to Block Club Chicago. The channel looks at natural areas in the city through the lens of a "Misanthropic Chicago Italian."

Santore can be heard expressing shock at the size of the plump turtle, whose robust body almost appeared too large for its shell: "Oh my god! That's a massive turtle."

Someone else can be heard pointing out that the turtle is "just hanging out" on a pile of rusty chains.

"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," Santore wrote in a tweet alongside the video. "Somebody planted a bunch of native plants up the river from here, too. I can only wonder this things been eating."

Videos of Chonk have racked up more than 653,000 views on Twitter and more than 84,000 views on YouTube.

Santore told Block Club Chicago that he and Scorch were kayaking along the river looking for invasive plants when they spotted Chonk and decided to start filming.

"It was the most Chicago image," he told the outlet. "It was like this giant, just almost overweight, that looked too [big] for its shell, reptile hanging out on some rusty gnarly chains that were holding together these decrepit pylons that were probably like 80 years old."

There are two species of snapping turtle in North America, and both can be spotted in Illinois, according to Friends of the Chicago River. The common snapping turtle is found throughout the state, while the alligator snapping turtle is typically found in the southeast part of the state.

Common snapping turtles can weigh anywhere from 20 to 75 lbs. The jury's still out on where Chonk falls in that range.