Rattlesnake roundup tradition needs to change

About 60 years ago, someone figured out that by pumping a little gasoline vapor into gopher tortoise burrows, you could drive out the inhabitants and round up a ton of rattlesnakes.

Twenty-three towns in Florida, Georgia and Alabama created rattlesnake roundups as a way for farmers and ranchers to rid their land of the reptiles and make a little money. Prizes were awarded for the most snakes and the heaviest snakes. Only three roundups persist in the 21st century: Opp, Ala., and Whigham and Claxton, Ga.

A few years ago, Lori Varn attended the Whigham roundup with her children. “They had a fenced ring, just like a rodeo, and big tanks filled with hundreds of rattlesnakes. Men pulled snakes out and walked around with them. They tore the rattles off live snakes and gave them to some of the children. My son thought this was so cool,” she said.

Back home, Varn’s son, toting his BB gun, went exploring in the woods. An eastern diamondback rattlesnake was sunning itself next to a log. It coiled up and rattled.

Read full story HERE.

About Candace M Hansen

Wildlife advocate, conservationist and environmentalist.
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