Proponents of rattlesnake roundups defend the snake slaughter with many of the following myths.

Click on the myths to learn the facts about rattlesnake roundups.

 

FACT: Science does not support claims that roundups are required to prevent rattlesnake overpopulation. Like other wild animals with natural predators, snake populations are maintained by prey abundance and levels of predation and disease.
FACT: Most antivenom is produced from venom collected from captive colonies of rattlesnakes. Unsanitary conditions at roundups make their venom unsuitable for reputable medical companies.
FACT: The USDA’s Cattle Death Loss report has logged no deaths from snakes in more than two decades. Anecdotally, ranchers report that snakes are not a threat to livestock, who usually recover from snakebites, even without treatment.
FACT: Arizona has more rattlesnakes than any other state in the US and no rattlesnake roundups. The police spend very little of their time managing rattlesnakes.
FACT: Rattlesnakes are shy, gentle creatures that want nothing to do with us. There are fewer than five deaths in the US from snakebites annually, including people who refuse treatment. Most snake bites happen when people handle, approach, or try to kill the snake. Respect snakes, keep your distance, and watch where you put your hands and feet — this would prevent virtually ALL snakebites.
Melissa and Henry, a western diamondback rattlesnake

Research on Rattlesnake Roundups

  1. Adams, C.E., J.K. Thomas, K.J. Strnadel and S.L. Jester. 1994. Texas rattlesnake roundups: implications of unregulated commercial use of wildlife. Wildlife Society Bull. 22(2): 324-330.
  2. Arena, P.C., C. Warwick, and D. Duvall. 1995. Rattlesnake round-ups. Pages 313-324 In R. L. Knight and K. Gutzwiller, editors. Wildlife and Recreationists. Island Press, Washington, DC.
  3. Campbell, J. A., D.R. Formanowicz, Jr., and E.D. Brodie, Jr. 1989. Potential impact of rattlesnake roundups on natural populations. The Texas Journal of Science 41: 301-317.
  4. Fitzgerald, L.A. and C.W. Painter. 2000.  Rattlesnake commercialization: long-term trends, issues, and implications for conservation. Wildlife Society Bulletin 28:235-253.
  5. Franke, J. 2000. Rattlesnake roundups: uncontrolled wildlife exploitation and the rites of spring. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 3: 151-160.
  6. Means, D.B. 2009. Effects of rattlesnake roundups on the eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus). Herpetological Conservation and Biology 4(2):132-141.
  7. Pisani, G.R. and H.S. Fitch. 1993. A survey of Oklahoma’s rattlesnake roundups.  Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter 92:7-15.
  8. Warwick, C. 1990: Disturbance of natural habitats arising from rattlesnake round-ups. Environmental Conservation 17:172–174.
  9. Warwick, C. 1991. Observations on collection, handling, storage and slaughter of western diamondback rattlesnakes (Crotalus atrox). Herpetopathologia 2: 31-37.
  10. Warwick, C., C. Steedman, and T. Holford. 1991. Rattlesnake collection drives—their implications for species and environmental conservation. Oryx 25(01): 39-44.
  11. Weir, J. 1992. The Sweetwater rattlesnake round-up: a case study in environmental ethics. Conservation Biology 6(1): 116-127.

 

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