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Rescued snakes are returned to habitat

Rob Carmichael, curator of the Lake Forest Wildlife Discovery Center, holds several brown snakes that spent the winter in a wine chiller in the center. The snakes were released Monday in Illinois Sate Beach Park in Zion. Michael Tercah/Chicago Tribune

Rob Carmichael, curator of the Lake Forest Wildlife Discovery Center, holds several brown snakes that spent the winter in a wine chiller in the center. The snakes were released Monday in Illinois Sate Beach Park in Zion. Michael Tercah/Chicago Tribune

After spending most of the winter curled up in a 6-foot-tall wine chiller in a Lake Forest wildlife center, scores of squirming reptiles were set free Monday and took up residence in new digs.

Beneath a sunny sky with temperatures hovering near a snake-friendly 50 degrees, Rob Carmichael placed handfuls of 4- to 10-inch long brown and garter snakes into a newly crafted outdoor den at Illinois Beach State Park.

There were 82 in all, including one western fox snake, some of them outfitted with microchips so their movements can be tracked.

“We hope these snakes will recognize this as their new home,” said Carmichael, director of the Lake Forest Wildlife Discovery Center, which hosted them for the last few months in the donated wine chiller.

Read more onĀ  chicagotribune.com.

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