What you need to know about Chonkosaurus — Chicago’s big ol’ snapping turtle

Chonkosaurus eluded reporters trying to catch a glimpse of the city’s latest wildlife obsession — but there were lessons learned along the way.

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This photo provided by Joey Santore shows a snapping turtle relaxing along a Chicago River.

This photo provided by Joey Santore shows a snapping turtle relaxing along a Chicago River. Footage of the plump snapping turtle relaxing along a Chicago waterway has gone viral after Joey Santore, who filmed the well-fed reptile, marveled at its size and nicknamed it “Chonkosaurus.” (Joey Santore via AP) ORG XMIT: ILHO101

Joey Santore/Distributed by the Associated Press

Earlier this month, Chicago was introduced to it’s latest wildlife obsession — a big ol’ snapping turtle caught sunbathing on the bank of the Chicago River near Goose Island.

Unlike the city’s late love birds Monty and Rose and the iconic Humboldt Park alligator, Chance the Snapper, this turtle — dubbed “Chonkosaurus,” is avoiding the spotlight.

A team of journalists, including the Sun-Times’ Stefano Esposito, set out on the Chicago River Thursday with reptile expert Sara Ruane to try and catch a glimpse of the famous turtle.

Spoiler alert — he dodged the press and avoided being seen during their expedition. But Ruane shared some helpful knowledge about Chicago’s newest mascot.

Chonkosaurus is likely a Chicago native

Unlike those people who say they’re from Chicago but actually live 30 minutes outside the city — you know the ones — Ruane said Chonkosaurus is likely native to the river.

“Snapping turtles can be found in many, if not most, bodies of water across their range,” Ruane said. “So any larger pond, lake or slower-moving river typically will have them.”

Snapping turtles spend most of their time underwater

It’s not personal — if you go out looking for Chonkosaurus and can’t spot it sunbathing, its probably beneath the surface.

“They spend most of their time under water. … Typically, it’s females coming out to lay their eggs,” Ruane said.

All that time underwater is also likely why Chonkosaurus is so big

Snapping turtles get waterlogged — bloated — from spending all that time below the surface, Ruane said. Chonkosaurus is probably closer to 35 pounds than the 60 pounds some reported it to be, she said.

Adult snapping turtles have few predators, but their eggs face a lot of danger

Snapping turtles lay about 20 to 40 ping pong ball-size eggs at a time, Ruane said.

“Raccoons, skunks and other predators can eat all the eggs the night they are laid and baby turtles are eaten by big fish, herons and other aquatic predators,” Ruane said.

Adults, on the other hand, have few predators — other than humans and trains tracks.

Snapping turtles are creatures of habit

If it’s on your summer bucket list to catch a glimpse of Chonkosaurus, it might be your best bet to go back to the area were he was first spotted.

According to Ruane, if Chonkosaurus wants to bask it might return to the same spot.

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