Rattlesnake Love Letters

Nearly 1000 residents of Sweetwater, Texas received handwritten letters from children asking them to urge the Sweetwater Jaycees to transform their rattlesnake roundup into a no-kill, educational festival where local wildlife is celebrated instead of slaughtered.

Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
A kindergartner gets straight to the point: “Please don’t kill snakes.”

“I am writing to you because I am worried about rattlesnakes; please support making rattlesnake roundups no-kill events!”

Madeline, an elementary school student in Seattle, Washington.

In early 2023, Advocates for Snake Preservation (ASP) and Team Rattlesnake Rebrand, an honors class at Cal Poly SLO led by Emily Taylor, PhD., provided lesson plans and materials about rattlesnake ecology and wildlife advocacy to teachers, scout leaders, and parents throughout the United States. Through this program, hundreds of children voiced their concerns for rattlesnakes in letters sent to residents of the town that hosts the largest rattlesnake roundup in the world and asked them to pressure the Sweetwater Jaycees to transform their roundup into a no-kill, educational festival.

“Rattlesnakes actually control rodent populations; they reduce the spread of disease. I write to ask you to reconsider attending the rattlesnake roundup this year for the sake of these amazing creatures!”

Maya, a high school student in Apison, Tennessee.

At these annual roundups, wild rattlesnakes are rounded up by the thousands from their native habitats to be displayed and slaughtered in public spectacles. Professional collectors, not bound by ‘bag’ or ‘take’ limits, are awarded with cash prizes for bringing in the most and biggest snakes. Most snakes are caught by pouring gasoline into their winter dens, which pollutes surrounding land and water and impacts up to 350 other wildlife species.

Conservationists have long criticized rattlesnake roundups, arguing that they contradict principles of science-based wildlife management. There is no evidence that human intervention is needed to regulate rattlesnake populations in Texas or elsewhere; like other wild animals, snake populations are controlled by natural processes like food availability, predation, and disease. Nor is there any evidence that rattlesnake roundups benefit wildlife or the ecosystem. Both ethical hunters and conservation biologists recognize the importance of responsible stewardship over all wildlife and ecosystems.

“Rattlesnakes are really shy creatures,. Their rattle sound is not one of ferociousness but one of screaming.”

Cielo, a student at Aldo Leopold Middle School in Silver City, New Mexico.

Children, who understand that rattlesnake roundups are cruel and antiquated, have joined conservationists in urging the Sweetwater Jaycees to transform their roundup into a no-kill, educational festival, as many communities have done.

Community festivals are important to local culture and economy, but rattlesnake roundups have been rightfully relegated to a thing of the past in many areas. The success of those that now celebrate, rather than slaughter, native wildlife demonstrates that we can keep our festivals and the income they generate while protecting our natural heritage.

  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
  • Hand-written letter from a student asking Sweetwater to stop killing rattlesnakes
"This is our home too!" says the rattlesnake on this poster made by Girl Scouts hanging in the East Bay Vivarium.
“This is our home too!” says the rattlesnake on this poster made by Girl Scouts, hanging in the East Bay Vivarium.
Rattlesnakes help people by playing important roles in the ecosystem.
Rattlesnakes have social lives, where moms care for babies.

Check out our FAQ about rattlesnake roundups
View statements from experts about rattlesnake roundups