Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A West Texas Perspective on Rattlesnake RoundUps

Here is a West Texas writer's retrospective on the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Round-up,the  largest rattlesnake slaughter. Who would like to do the math on how many rodents 300,000 pounds of rattlesnakes could consume, and how many predators and scavengers could have been fed on that amount of biomass? Rattlesnakes may taste more like catfish - but they certainly don't convert food into body mass like catfish. The following story by Brittany Molinar is from KTSK.com.

SWEETWATER, Texas -- Thousands of people were in Sweetwater over the weekend enjoying the 54th Annual World's Largest Rattlesnake Roundup.

The Rattlesnake Roundup originally started back in 1959 by the Sweetwater Jaycees.

"Everything we do is for this community and we put it back into the community youth to buy scholarships for college and that's what it's all about taking care of our community and making it a better place," said Jaycee Chairman Chris Soles.

Since the beginning the Jaycees have collected more than 300,000 pounds of Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes.

This year, you might have noticed fewer snakes. The club said it's because of the chilly, rainy temperatures along with wildfires.

With the ones they were able to catch the Jaycees made sure to milk every snake for their venom used for anti venom and sold to pharmaceutical companies.

On average the roundup retrieves about 1,500ml of venom.

For all those snake enthusiasts who like to take it a step further and eat the venomous reptiles that many people fear, fried rattlesnake was on the menu.

First time rattlesnake eater Mario Alvarez said rattlesnake is something he would definitely eat again.

"It's good, it does taste a little bit like chicken, but I think it taste more like catfish," said Alvarez.

The roundup wrapped up Sunday evening, buyers went out and bought up the remaining rattlesnakes.

The longest rattler caught this year was a whopping 73 and a half inches long.


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