- Associated Press - Saturday, July 18, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo is trying to boost the population of smooth green snakes in northern Illinois.

Zoo officials say eight snakes were reintroduced Thursday on McHenry County Conservation District land that’s part of their native prairie habitat. The snakes were hatched at the zoo so they could mature before being released.

Biologists say the population of smooth green snakes has fallen dramatically because of habitat loss.

Lincoln Park Zoo has partnered with officials in Lake and McHenry counties to try to reverse the decline. Sixty snakes have been released in Lake County as part of the program.

This week’s release of eight snakes was the first in McHenry County.

The nonvenomous, insect-eating snakes are a rich green color, which helps camouflage them in tall prairie grasses and marshlands.

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