Where Does Your Rattlesnake Meat Come From?

There are no rattlesnake farms. The largest source of commercially available meat is Rattlesnake Roundups.

A Jaycee member clears a path through hundreds of wild-caught rattlesnakes. Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur.

Each year, tens of thousands of rattlesnakes are taken from the wild to be displayed and slaughtered for entertainment and profit at Rattlesnake Roundups. Professional collectors remove unlimited numbers of snakes from their native habitats, usually by gassing snake dens.

Roundups are Unsustainable

  • There is no monitoring to assess the effect of the roundups on rattlesnakes, their predators, or their prey
  • Most snakes are caught by pouring gasoline into their dens, polluting land and water, and negatively impacting other wildlife
  • Roundups contributed to the decline of Eastern Diamond-Backed Rattlesnakes (proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act)

Roundups are Unnecessary

  • Roundups are not required to prevent rattlesnake overpopulation – their populations are maintained by native predators, prey abundance, and disease
  • Venom needed for research and antivenom production is collected from captive colonies of rattlesnakes
  • Zero livestock deaths from snakes have been reported to the USDA in more than two decades

Roundups Depend on Gassing

Gassing is a destructive and unethical method of collecting snakes wherein gas or other noxious substances are pumped into holes and crevices, forcing animals to emerge, gasping for air.

  • Gassing pollutes water. Toxins dumped on porous Texas soil contaminate drinking water and pollute springs, which provide important habitat for wildlife and recreational opportunities for people.
  • Gassing threatens wildlife. Hundreds of species depend on the crevices and burrows that unethical collectors poison with gasoline, including 20 endangered species.
  • Gassing isn’t hunting. There is nothing sporting about forcing wildlife from their shelter with noxious chemicals.

Rattlesnake Meat is Not an Ethical or Humane

Rattlesnakes are not farmed, nor are they humanely or ethically harvested. Rattlesnake are not managed or monitored like game species; unlimited numbers are collected for roundups, usually by gassing. Pouring gasoline into rattlesnake dens pollutes land, water, and the snakes themselves, who ingest and inhale the toxic substance. There is nothing traditional, healthy, or hip about gasoline-marinated rattlesnake meat.

Get the facts about rattlesnake roundups here.

Would you like a printable copy of this to hand to your local restaurant serving rattlesnake meat? Download it here.