A recent kayaking trip down the Chicago River has gone viral, thanks in large part to a ginormous turtle and some superfan-sounding narrators.

The video was posted by Joey Santore over the weekend. It showed Santore and his friend Al Scorch coming up on a huge turtle, which they dubbed “Chonkosaurus.”

“Look at that beast. Hey how you doin’ guy? You look good,” Santore can be heard saying on the video.

Santore and Scorch said they decided to take the trip as a way to, in their words,  “cleanse their spiritual palettes.”

“I said, ‘Joe, let’s get a kayak. Let’s rent one of them down there and let’s just get on a river and get out there,’” Scorch told WBBM.

By Monday, the video had over 400,000 views on Twitter. They found “Chonkosaurus” near the Division Street Bridge. Santore tweeted that he “can only wonder” what it’s been eating.


“Great to see this beast thriving here on what was once such a toxic river but is slowly getting cleaned up and restored,” Santore wrote. “Somebody planted a bunch of native plants up the river from here, too.”

Santore said he’s still trying to wrap his head around the size of the turtle.

“The female easily had to weigh 60 pounds or more,” he said. “I thought it was some sort of satchel or bag that someone had thrown onto the pylons when I first seen it from 100 feet away, it was so large.”

Said Scorch: “We weren’t expecting to see that beast … which is actually a native snapping turtle that probably migrated its way there naturally from the river systems in northern Illinois.”

Santore and Scorch work together on their “Crime Pays But Botany Doesn’t” YouTube channel, which previously went viral in 2019 following a video of Santore helping rescue a coyote.

Joey Santore (L) and Al Scorch, shown here on their kayaking trip. The pair said that videos like the one Santore shared over the weekend are meant to entertain.

“People really respond to a couple guys who sound like they work in a Streets and Sans fleet,” they said. Photo credit Joey Santore

Scorch said the reaction to their Twitter video has been “overwhelming.”

“It’s fulfilling the goal of getting people interested in nature and seeing how amazing it is, and you don’t even have to leave the city to do it,” Scorch said. “You find these things on the margins. You find the nature around you.”

The two said videos like the one showing “Chonkosaurus” are meant to entertain.

“It touched our hearts, like it’s touched everybody who’s had the pleasure of seeing it since. It’s a great mascot for the city of Chicago,” said Scorch.

Original Article