If you never witnessed killing for entertainment’s sake, then you never participated in a Rattlesnake Roundup. The gory event is part of the tradition of Sweetwater, Texas. This year, apart from making a lot of animal protection groups outraged, the inhabitants of Sweetwater even managed to break the weight record of the murdered snakes.
But the Jaycees aren’t just killing for entertainment’s sake. They are raising money for the local economy, paying off the studies of the lovely local girl who was able to “charm” a bunch of gassed and blind snakes and even organizing other fun activities for their children.
2016 was a good year for the Jaycees. They managed to gather 24,481 pounds of rattlesnakes. That’s two African bush elephants or four Asian elephants put together. The local snake handlers attributed this highly fortuitous catch to the wet fall. All of the water allowed plants to grow, rats and bunnies to feed more and, as nature designed it, snakes to get fatter, healthier and reproduce more.
There were over 25,000 people who came from all over the United States, some even from other countries, to join the population of 11,000 individuals in the festivities.
Participants in the Rattlesnake Roundup were able to see how a snake gets skinned (alive), disemboweled (still alive) and then thrown in a bucket where it was later fried and served to the hungry crowd.
Almost nothing was wasted from the tons of rattlesnakes that were crowded in a few pits. The skin was sold, the meat was eaten. The only parts that were thrown away were the pebble-shaped hearts that continued to beat for a couple more minutes and the empty guts.
If the actual skinning was too much for some of the visitors, they were invited to join other spectacles. Miss Texas herself participated in the events for a while when she climbed into the pit where the live snakes were being kept and helped the local snake handler to stir them so that they wouldn’t die before the others managed to behead and skin them.
Apart from raw snakeskin, the people who traveled miles to participate in the traditional local festival were able to purchase other snake-themed items like boots, pants, purses, and souvenirs.
Children often opted for snake skulls or skeletons.
According to a member of the Jaycees, the festival is being organized with the well-being of children in mind. The primary goal is to teach the younglings how to behave if they ever encounter the venomous reptile in the wild.
So the Jaycees are not only killing for entertainment’s sake but also for that of education.
Image source: www.pixabay.com