Rattlesnake Roundup

Over 12.5 tons of snakes were caught for a rattlesnake festival in Sweetwater, Texas! The Sweetwater rattlesnake roundup is said to be the largest one in the world. Every year, about 25,000 people gather to watch and participate in the capturing and beheading of thousands of diamondback rattlesnakes. No part of the snake goes unused—the skin is turned into leather, the meat is fried up to be eaten, and the venom is collected for research purposes. The live rattlesnakes are kept in a giant pit, where they must be “stirred” to keep them from suffocating.

snake wrangler

rattlesnake roundup

CC Kimberly Vardeman

fried rattlesnake

Fried Rattlesnake/CC Kimberly Vardeman

Though state regulators typically bring the biggest haul of snakes of the festival, a team led by snake wrangler Andy Lee managed to bring in over 2,000 pounds of snakes all by themselves. The longest snake captured measured 60 inches,  which doesn’t come close to the festival record of 81 inches.

This year marked the 59th year of the Rattlesnake Roundup. Every year they also crown a Miss Snake Charmer who isn’t afraid to get up close and personal with these ravenous rattlers! Part of the judging criteria even involves the girls skinning their own rattlesnake.

rattlesnake roundup

miss snake charmer

Miss Snake Charmer 2010/CC Kimberly Vardeman

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