Snakes in ‘hog’ heaven at Crow-Hassan Park Reserve; Three Rivers reintroduces hog-nosed snakes to prairie

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Senior Manager of Wildlife for Three Rivers Park District John Moriarty holds a plains hog-nosed snake at Three Rivers Parks’ Crow-Hassan Park Reserve in Rogers. The goal is to reintroduce a dozen hog-nosed snakes, and it could take as long as 20 years before the snakes successfully spread throughout Crow-Hassan. (Photo by Aaron Brom)

Senior Manager of Wildlife for Three Rivers Park District John Moriarty holds a plains hog-nosed snake at Three Rivers Parks’ Crow-Hassan Park Reserve in Rogers. The goal is to reintroduce a dozen hog-nosed snakes, and it could take as long as 20 years before the snakes successfully spread throughout Crow-Hassan. (Photo by Aaron Brom)

John Moriarty is hoping the snake species’ biggest predator doesn’t harm the newest animals introduced to Three Rivers Parks’ Crow-Hassan Park Reserve in Rogers.

“The biggest problem snakes have is people,” he said.

The Senior Manager of Wildlife for Three Rivers Park District is leading the park district’s newest reintroduction project, bringing plains hog-nosed snakes to the prairies of Crow-Hassan.

The hogs-nosed isn’t the first snake species Moriarty helped introduce to Crow-Hassan. About 20 years ago he spearheaded the effort to introduce bull snakes to the prairie, a vastly successful effort.

While bull snakes are now thriving at the park, not everyone is enthused about it, as Moriarty has seen headless snakes left on the side of popular trails used by horseback riders and hikers.

“There is no need to fear these snakes. They are harmless and don’t bite,” he said of the characteristic shared by both hogs-nosed and bull snakes.

The park district even placed signs at the trail head alerting park users to the presence of bull snakes and urging them not to harm the animals.

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