Three Chicago-area environmentalists have likely saved hundreds of endangered snakes by moving them to a 6-foot tall wine refrigerator — maybe just like this one. The story, as reported by the Chicago Tribune, is impressive:
Construction on old railroad tracks uprooted the snakes' winter den, where they were hiberating. The garter, brown and western fox snakes would have died if they had not been moved to a 6-foot-tall wine chiller in north suburban Lake Forest. The snakes are living in the fridge in boxes filled with leaves and soil to simulate their wild hibernation dens, about 20 to a box.
"The wine chiller acts as an artificial hibernating den," Rob Carmichael, curator of the Wildlife Discovery Center in Lake Forest, told the Tribune. "It can be set right at the temperature snakes need to survive in winter ? about 48 degrees." This spring, when it's time for the snakes to wake up, Carmichael will raise the temperature in the refrigerator to 60 degrees to simulate warmer weather.
The story does not say where in Lake Forest the snakes are living, but the Wine Curmudgeon is sure they are in good hands. Lake Forest is a very ritzy suburb on Lake Michigan, and its residents are not only wealthy, but old money. I know this first-hand from time spent in my youth caddying at the Onwentsia Club, which earned a passing mention in "The Great Gatsby."
So the snakes may well be in someone's personal wine refrigerator, with the wine moved out to make room for them. And, knowing Lake Forest, that would be very impressive wine. No doubt Jay Gatsby would have approved.
Photo courtesy the Illinois State Museum, using a Creative Commons license