Buckeye Herps Blog

A photographic journal of the reptiles and amphibians of Ohio, Michigan and other places interesting wildlife call home.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rattlesnake Roundups...

One of the unfortunate truths to face as a nature lover, and a herper, is that every year hundreds of snakes will be barbarically butchered each year in the southern US.  I am not even referring to the woefully high road mortality, or the persecution by hunters and landowners.  Each year, hundreds of snakes are captured by spraying gasoline down burrows that many other animals use, and then all slaughtered in front of crowds who love to cheer on the blood and gore.  These roundups typically occur in Texas, the Sweetwater Jaycees Annual Rattlesnake Roundup being the most well known, but also occur in parts of the SE US.

I won't provide them web traffic by leading your to pictures of the event.  I also won't ever drink a Coors beer again as they are one of the events biggest sponsors.  Instead I will show a couple pictures of healthy western diamondback rattlesnakes that were not found by gassing burrows, and I will highlight how a terrible thing can be transformed for the good.

One of the countries other biggest yearly roundups occurred in Claxton, Georgia.  Concerned individuals were able to convince the organizers of the event to change the roundup from an event focused on persecution and slaughter to a celebration of all wildlife.  This year, the "45th" Annual Claxton Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival was held, although really the first under this new name.  They were able to draw much more vendors, including zoos, conservation organizations who were all very supportive of the new direction of the event.  The event still drew 15000 visitors over two days and was still a success.

Check out this article on the Orienne Society's website, a wonderful conservation society that focuses on reptiles and amphibians.

Will the Sweetwater Roundup ever go the way of the dodo?  Hard to tell at this point, but if smaller roundups can show they are successful even after a change in "format" maybe there will be hope for the future.

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