Even from afar, the snapping turtle perched on rusted chains within the Chicago River regarded gargantuan.

Kayakers having fun with a spring outing recorded the plump reptile, marveling at its wrinkled and chunky legs and its shell, which barely lined its thick inexperienced physique.

Within the video, which was posted on Twitter this month, one of many kayakers, Joey Santore, sounding astonished, cries with an expletive: “Take a look at the dimensions of that factor!”

Mr. Santore’s good friend, Al Scorch, gave the turtle a reputation befitting such an unlimited reptile: Chonkosaurus.

Ever since, 1000’s of individuals on-line have heaped admiration on Chonkosaurus, writing concerning the beefed-up turtle and concerning the males whose wonderment has introduced the video greater than 700,000 views.

Mr. Santore, who posted the video on Twitter and grew up in a Chicago suburb, mentioned in an interview that he and Mr. Scorch had been on the river on Could 5 to movie a video for his YouTube channel, “Crime Pays However Botany Doesn’t,” which educates viewers about ecology.

“I get followers of the channel that just like the mix of cynical social commentary muttered by way of a Chicago accent after which blended with plant training,” he mentioned.

At first, Mr. Santore and Mr. Scorch couldn’t fairly make out what was sitting above the water. Then they paddled nearer.

“It was so fats, you realize, the legs type of spilled out,” Mr. Santore recalled. “It regarded like a fats sandbag.”

Its measurement has prompted a query on-line: What has the animal been consuming?

One individual’s guess was easy: something it pleases. One other guessed beef and sausages. And a few, alluding to “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” guessed pizza.

Maybe probably the most priceless perception got here from the boys within the video who truly noticed Chonkosaurus.

“Holy hell, you look good!” Mr. Santore says within the video. “I’m actual happy with you. You’ve been maintaining a healthy diet?” He asks the turtle if it has heard of liquid salad, and Mr. Scorch later says that Chonkosaurus is “thick however sturdy.”

Chonkosaurus’s dietary pursuit doesn’t seem like fully egocentric, nevertheless.

Chris Anchor, a senior wildlife biologist with the Forest Preserves of Prepare dinner County, mentioned that the turtle is feminine — and most probably “loaded with eggs.”

On the day the video was taken, he mentioned, Chonkosaurus may need been sitting on a bunch of bollards and chains as a result of she needed her eggs to heat up and mature.

The turtle might be about 50 years outdated and has completed hibernating, Mr. Anchor mentioned.

Whereas he did describe Chonkosaurus as “very massive,” the snapping turtle will not be among the many largest he’s seen. Mr. Anchor, who sees round 300 to 500 turtles yearly by way of his work, mentioned the species can weigh as a lot as 60 kilos.

Although it’s tough to inform within the video, Mr. Anchor guessed that Chonkosaurus weighed round 40 kilos.

What was extra noteworthy, he mentioned, was that the video highlighted the well being of the Chicago River and surrounding land.

Mr. Anchor recalled that, when he was rising up within the Sixties, “the river was an open sewer” with solely a handful of species of fish and no leisure kayaking.

After the passage of the Clear Water Act in 1972, the water high quality of the Chicago River improved considerably. Now, there are about 30 species of fish within the river, and folks take pleasure in being on the water.

“It’s one thing that might not have occurred 40 years in the past,” Mr. Anchor mentioned. “You’ve obtained much more eyes within the river now which can be seeing issues that nobody ever seen earlier than.”

It’s arduous to inform what precisely Chonkosaurus managed to snap into her stomach. Massive snapping turtles have been recognized to seize geese on the river, drag them beneath and rip them aside in murky waters.

Notably big snapping turtles are additionally able to ripping up deer or raccoon carcasses with their claws.

The weight-reduction plan of Chonkosaurus stays a thriller, however that has not slowed the web compliments and veneration. One Twitter consumer summed up these sentiments: “All hail Chonkosaurus.”