While this summer has created a strong, unlikely connection between the city of Chicago and a surprisingly adorable, lagoon-dwelling alligator, the final weeks of the season have added a new animal—and the human who filmed it—to the mix. While the mammal in question is unlikely to achieve the incredible star power of its reptilian counterpart, it features heavily in a video shot by a guy sure to gain a place in the city’s heart: A man named Tony with a heavy Chicago accent who recently narrated his rescue of a sickly coyote pup.
The clip, shared yesterday by @eedrk, comes from Tony Santoro and his YouTube channel Crime Pays But Botany Doesn’t, which describes itself as a place to find “a Low-Brow, Crass Approach to Plant Ecology as muttered by a Misanthropic Chicago Italian.”
True to form, the video shows the Santoro filming himself following a young coyote until it lets him get closer and he can promise, “I’m not gonna fuck with you.”
“You gotta go to a rehab facility or somethin,’” he says, walking behind it until it lies down in the grass in front of him. “You probably got mange. Maybe you got rabies? I shouldda brought my goddamn gloves.”
“Did some redneck shoot your parents?” Santoro asks. “What’s goin’ on?”
The poor coyote, camera zoomed in on its face now, looks scared, but allows itself to be petted.
“I’m not gonna fuck withchu,” he promises the pup. “Not in a bad way.”
When Santoro asks “what happened to your folks?” again, tells the coyote that he has a friend who works at an animal rehabilitation spot, and observes, “Oh my god, you’re fucking emaciated,” the Chicago accent comes out in full force. The clip cuts to the scared pup in the back of the Santoro’s truck. Filming it before heading off to get more help, he asks, “have we not established that I’m not gonna eat you?” After talking a bit more its condition, Santoro says he’s “gonna see that you have a chance” to get better.
“You know what I’m gonna do?” he adds. “Is take you to a nice rehab facility and then they’ll release you back to the wild and you can go eat some feral cats and squirrels and stuff like that, you know?”
Although the above clip endeared Santoro enough on its own, he’s only gained more popularity in the hours since. Twitter soon discovered other videos from his channel and realized that he doesn’t look, as might’ve been expected, like one of the polka players featured in John Candy’s Home Alone cameo.
Santoro’s gaining even more fans now and, hopefully, extra attention for his YouTube channel, which sees him documenting flora and occasional fauna in videos with titles that include “Tony Santoro & A Weird Ass Plant Called Gunnera,” “Real Nice Trick to growing Epiphyllum and other epiphtic cacti,” and “Venus Flytraps in habitat n’ what the shit.”
To truly understand Santoro’s viewpoint, though, round out his coyote rescue video with his “Botany Crash Course,” which gives a good run-down of what he’s all about. Listen to his philosophy, don’t be “an ignorant oblivious fuck,” and discover the joy of an Attenborough that Chicago can call its own.
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