Chonkosaurus, the giant snapping turtle, is a sensation

A kayaker on the Chicago River captured a huge snapping turtle on video, and his tweet has enthralled thousands of turtle and nature lovers. Link to the New York Times article here.

The kayaker, Joey Santore, and experts believe the size of the turtle is indicative of an reduction in the toxicity of the Chicago River.

"Though it's difficult to tell in the video, [Chris Anchor, a senior wildlife biologist with the Forest Preserves of Cook County] guessed that Chonkosaurus weighed around 40 pounds.

"What was more noteworthy, he said, was that the video highlighted the health of the Chicago River and surrounding land.

"Mr. Anchor recalled that, when he was growing up in the 1960s, "the river was an open sewer" with only a handful of species of fish and no recreational kayaking.

"After the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, the water quality of the Chicago River improved substantially. Now, there are about 30 species of fish in the river, and people enjoy being on the water."

I wonder whether the size of the turtle is an indication that the river is less toxic… or more toxic. Have we checked Chonkosaurs for teenage mutant ninja skills?