City Cast

Urban Almanac: Chicago’s Animal Friends

Sidney Madden
Sidney Madden
Posted on May 25   |   Updated on June 5
A baby fox pokes his head out

A baby fox spotted at Millennium Park last week. (Garrett Becker / Reddit)

When wildlife is found unexpectedly in the city, Chicagoans can’t get enough. I’m talking T-shirts, watch groups, the whole shebang. Here are some of the animals that have captured our hearts recently.

Millennium Park Foxes

Amateur photographer Garrett Becker’s Reddit post sparked citywide interest in the family of foxes living downtown. Two adults and six babies, or kits, have made a den at Lurie Garden, which has 350 different types of plants. Experts have tips for residents looking to get a glimpse.

A large snapping turtle rests in a river

A well-fed snapping turtle in the Chicago River May 6. (Joey Santore / Twitter)

Chonkosaurus the Snapping Turtle

Spotted in the Chicago River near Goose Island earlier this month by a pair of kayakers, Chonk’s presence means restoration efforts in the river are working. Maybe more snapping turtles could be seen soon …

A piping plover on sand

Monty the piping plover at Montrose Harbor in 2022. (Brian Cassella / Tribune / Getty)

Monty & Rose the Piping Plovers

When the two birds returned to Montrose Beach year after year, Chicagoans were enthralled. Plovers are endangered, and the star-crossed lovers were the first in the area in decades. Today, birders are following Imani, the offspring of the late Monty and missing Rose, as he looks to mate.

An alligator peeks out of a lagoon at night

An alligator in the Humboldt Park Lagoon in 2019. (Armando L. Sanchez / Tribune / Getty)

Chance the Snapper

The alligator was captured in the Humboldt Park Lagoon in 2019. Likely someone’s pet unleashed into the West Side lagoon, Chance was captured by trapper Alligator Robb. Chicagoans helped fund Robb’s recent health procedure. As for Chance? He’s been kicking it in Florida.

+ Remember the coyote at Quiznos? Or the cow that fled a South Side school? Reminisce about other iconic Chicago animals.

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