Park Hill Family’s 77-Foot Reptile Dazzles And Stuns Global Audiences
By Cara DeGette
At the end of February, Morn Mosley II and five of his siblings decided to take advantage of a big, sloppy, late-winter snow dump. They spent nearly 10 hours building and painting what turned into a 77-foot long snow snake — a friendly-looking monster-sized reptile that dominated their front yard at 28th and Olive Street.
What happened next is a testament to the potent combination of television, social media, and an insatiable public appetite for, well, giant green reptiles made out of snow. Mosley posted the impressive result of their handiwork on Facebook and Instagram and sent some video to the local TV stations.
CBS Denver carried the story (“Snow Snake Slithers Into Denver Front Yard”), and so did 9News (“Family Builds Massive Snow Snake In Denver’s Park Hill Neighborhood.”)
The other local stations quickly got in on the action, and when the story hit the newswires, away it went. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) picked it up (“Denver Family Wows Neighbourhood With Snow Art”). Depending on which TV station you watch and in which time zone across the globe — from Suriname to Dubai, to Japan and the Philippines — viewers were “shocked,” “dazzled,” “amazed,” even “stunned” by the video footage of the snow snake slithering all the way from Park Hill, USA.
PRZED DOMEM W DENVER POJAWIŁ SIĘ 23-METROWY WĄŻ screamed one Polish news station. (Translation: “23-METRE SNAKE APPEARED IN FRONT OF HIS HOME IN DENVER”)
A French TV station reported the story with this headline: Les Champions Des ‘Bonshommes De Neige’ Ont Encore Frappé (Translation: “The Champions Of The ‘Snowmen’ Have Struck Again”)
One station in India led with a blaring headline in Hindi that loosely translated to “Snow Covered And The Big Snake Stunned.”
Another Indian station, News Track Infomedia, reported the story under the headline “Man Made 77 Feet Measure Snake With Snow, People Shocked.” The story included this introduction:
“You all must have seen many unique artists in this world who win the hearts of all with their artistry. Now today we are going to introduce you to one such artist who has surprised everyone with his artistry. Yes, we are talking about artist Morn Mosley. These days, he is showing his amazing art on the ice and those who see it are being left watching. This artist and his family make such things with snow, after seeing that everyone’s senses will go numb.”
In an interview with the Greater Park Hill News, Mosley didn’t appear particularly dazzled, shocked or numbed by all of the international attention. But he did seem amused, and was happy to provide a few additional details.
The oldest boy in a family of eight siblings, Mosley, 29, grew up in Park Hill. His dad, also named Morn Mosley, was an artist whose talents included painting the horses and seals and firetrucks that are beloved by every child who has ever slugged a penny into a kiddy ride at the grocery store or the mall.
His dad, said Mosley, encouraged creativity in his kids. When it snowed, he was the first one out the door, ready to build a polar bear, an Africana lion, a crocodile or an igloo. Mosley has photos of himself sitting astride sculpted snow tigers when he was two or three years old, “as far back as I can remember.”
“When we were younger, my dad would pile up a bunch of snow and tell us to let our imaginations run wild,” Mosley says. Once they figured out what they were making, they would get it as close to finished as possible and then paint it, using watercolor or acrylic paint that won’t be toxic to humans or the environment. “Since we’re artists we usually have paint sitting around,” he says.
The senior Mosley passed away in 2018. The following winter, when it snowed, Mosley and his siblings were inspired to continue the tradition, a sort of a tribute to their dad and “just for old times sake,” he says. His youngest sister, Nesiyah, 11, usually sparks her siblings into getting motivated. They generally average one big sculpture each year, given the number of hours each takes to make — meaning the Mosley’s are likely done for this season.
In case you are considering imitating the Mosley’s handiwork, consider this cautionary advice from Reptiles Magazine — which yes, also covered the story:
“Do You Want To Build A Snow Snake? These Coloradans Already Did.”
“When it snows what do you do? Build a snowman? For a family in Denver, a snowman was too quaint, so they set out and built a snow snake. That’s right, a 77-foot (23 meters) Colorado snow snake (Pythonicus mosleysnowitis). This species is native to Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood and is only seen after severe snowstorms. The interesting trait with this species is it grows to full length in just 10 hours but can disappear in a single day with warm temperatures and sunshine.”
Editor’s Note: This story notwithstanding, as a general rule the Greater Park Hill News prefers to not get scooped by every news outlet in the world on a story happening in our back yard. If you have a news tip, call or email us first, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 720-979-4385.