Sunday, March 10, 2013

Rattlesnake Roundup

On Saturday, Vol Fan and I trekked to Sweetwater, Texas for the annual Rattlesnake Roundup.  This was the 55th year of the event.

It all started as ranchers realized they had a real problem with rattlesnakes not getting along with their cattle.  So they put their heads together with the local Jaycees and came up with a way to control the rattlesnake population.  Thus the roundup was born.

Local ranchers and snake hunters bring in Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes and receive $ for their trouble.  The snakes are milked for the venom which is used to make antivenin serum.  Then they are moved to the research pit where they are sexed, weighed, and measured.  This data is sent to the TX Department of Wildlife (who also oversees the event) for research on the population.

The snakes then move to the skinning pit.  Their heads are lopped off.  Their skins removed to be made into boots, belts, etc.  And the meat is cooked and sold.  Unfortunately the line to buy the meat was like 5000 miles long and we weren't real excited about eating a snake so we skipped that.  We've heard that it tastes like gator but since we haven't eaten a gator, we have no idea what it tastes like.

But I was brave (or crazy) and had one draped around my neck :)  

Well, maybe not so brave....  Right as he started to wrap it around me, the snake opened its mouth!!

This is my "OMG he is putting a live rattlesnake on me!!!!" face

This is my "HOLY COW THAT THING JUST MOVED!! But I'm still trying to smile when I really want to run screaming like a little girl" face

This photo kinda freaks me out.  I'm thinking he needs some duct tape around his ankles.  What if that snake decides he wants to be warm?!?

The things nightmares are made of!

Milking the venom

Wow!  Just look at those fangs!

The skinning pit.
The snakes would continue to coil and move as the people skinned them, making the skinners jump like crazy!

Rolling the skins

Vol Fan decided he needed something prettier than a rattler to pose with
so he was happy to see Miss Texas :)

 If you are ever near Sweetwater, Texas during the 2nd weekend in March, be sure to stop in for a fun afternoon!


Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

You are brave! I ate it at a restaurant called Diamondbacks in TX. I thought it tasted kind of like scallops.

George said...

I had snake for dinner when I was in China, but I'm not sure I would want a rattler wrapped around my shoulders. I'm very impressed with your bravery. This does look like a fun event, however.

Kylie Sanders said...

I'm ashamed that anyone could enjoy this. Rattlesnakes Roundups are driving some species of rattlesnakes to extinction, and the snakes are mostly gathered from their natural habitats, not our homes. Rattlesnakes rarely attack people in the wild, and normally only do because people mess with them or get too close. The venom is used in some medicines, and we won't have that if they're wiped out. The snakes don't die immediately after their heads have been cut off. They can see their bodies moving around and it scares them, and they might lash out because of that. Then kids put bloody hand prints on a wall and sign their name like barbarians; that's a good influence. And how is it humane to rip their fangs out and sew their lips shut?