Reptile Victory: From Rattlesnake Roundup to Wildlife Festival

The annual Rattlesnake Roundup in Claxton, Georgia has changed into a wildlife festival that will celebrate the increasingly rare reptiles instead of killing them. The Evans County Wildlife Club recently announced the switch; for 44 years, hunters would bring in rattlesnakes to the Roundup to show the attendees, milk them for their venom, then butcher them for their meat and skin. At the renamed Claxton Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival, snakes will still be on hand, but brought by conservation groups to educate the public. The club’s head noted, “”It’s nothing but education and conservation, which is what our club was intended for in the beginning. We hope it’s going to be a bigger, better festival and everyone will benefit.”

“Georgia is blessed with a rich natural heritage of animals and plants. All of these species — even the rattlesnakes — should be allowed to exist,” said Bill Matturro of Protect All Living Species. “Rattlesnakes serve an important role in the food chain by controlling rodent populations and should be respected.”

Hunters, habitat loss and road mortality have imperiled the reptiles. Conservation groups the Center for Biological Diversity, Protect All Living Species and One More Generation last year began the multi-year process of requesting protection as “threatened” for the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake under the Endangered Species Act. The Eastern Diamondback is the largest rattlesnake in the world, and is now absent or rare across large portions of its former habitat.

Take action

While Claxton has made the switch, Rattlesnake Roundups still happen in the U.S. across the Midwest and South (see a list of Roundups here.) Sign One More Generation’s petition to stop Rattlesnake Roundups  here.

 

Photo: © D. Bruce Means via Center for Biological Diversity

106 comments

Vivian B.
Vivian B.3 years ago

We used to go to the "Round-Ups", but as of late, we have decided to forego this kind of stuff and instead donate to conservation efforts!

Fred Krohn
Fred Krohn4 years ago

In India they have 'cobra roundups' where the snakes are caught in jars, taken to festival and shown off, and finally returned in the jars to where they were caught and released to go back to consuming rats. Why we can't switch the 'roundups' in the USA to something similar, I'll never understand. At least they eat the kills at the roundups, though, but it would be far better to release most or all the snakes to where they were found so the rodent populations stay low.

Terry Vanderbush
Terry V.4 years ago

When will people learn? Leave Mother Nature ALONE

Lori M. Smith
Lori Smith4 years ago

Great news - I commend Claxton GA for changing the focus from persecution of the snake to admiration, conservation and education.

People forget that snakes are an important part of the ecosystem and their favorite prey are mice, shrews, voles and other rodents. Get over your fear people and learn to admire the snake! Keep your distance from the venomous ones (you can identify them by the shape of their head, it is more triangular. A non-venomous snake head is smooth and round). But don't kill one just because it is venomous. Either way it plays an important role in nature.

Lori M. Smith
Lori Smith4 years ago

Great news - I commend Claxton GA for changing the focus from persecution of the snake to admiration, conservation and education.

People forget that snakes are an important part of the ecosystem and their favorite prey are mice, shrews, voles and other rodents. Get over your fear people and learn to admire the snake! Keep your distance from the venomous ones (you can identify them by the shape of their head, it is more triangular. A non-venomous snake head is smooth and round). But don't kill one just because it is venomous. Either way it plays an important role in nature.

Summer Foovay
Summer Foovay4 years ago

That is such a great idea and wonderful piece of news. I can only hope that more rattlesnake roundups will be replaced by such festivals!

Netty van Driest
Netty v.4 years ago

So glad to hear that. These horribly cruel roundups always make me sad. Rattlesnakes are such phenomenal animals. And they eat lots of mice and rats. Sure, they can be dangerous, and should be respected. But snakes are not evil incarnated. No animal is. Except for some humans.

Dawn F.
Dawn F.4 years ago

GREAT example for the other states who still practice this BARBARIC round-up.

Dawn F.
Dawn F.4 years ago

Good! Now only about 7-10 more states to go.

richa blue akasha
Raiin Blue4 years ago

good switch