Why snake education?

The Problem

  • Many Texans see snakes as something to be feared, unfortunately believing that “the only good snake is a dead snake”. It is not uncommon, after spotting a snake, for citizens to feel that it is necessary to follow and kill the snake.
  • Hunts such as rattlesnake roundups damage our environment and teach a violent message. During the notorious Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup, hunters pump gasoline into the ground to drive snakes out of their dens. Snakes are then beheaded, skinned, and eaten. This year, children were able to place their hands in a bucket of snake blood, and then sign their bloody handprint on a wall. An event that attracts visitors from across the world, Sweetwater’s Rattlesnake Roundup gives the impression that Texans have a very negative relationship with our wildlife. Read Amber Smith’s recent article for an in-depth look at the harm that these roundups pose to biodiversity.
Photo of handprints in snake blood at Sweetwater's Rattlesnake Roundup via Daily Mail

Handprints in snake blood at Sweetwater’s Rattlesnake Roundup via Daily Mail

The Plan

  • Unlearning misconceptions and prejudices about snakes is one way to create a more snake-friendly Texas. We plan to focus on teaching children, before they develop a hard-to-break fear of snakes.
  • Part of these educational efforts will include snake safety tips! Kids growing up around people who fear snakes may not know much about snake behavior. We can show kids examples of areas that snakes are likely to hide, and explain that they should not play near these areas. Further, we can teach them to leave snakes alone if they encounter one in the wild.
  • Teaching efforts can foster a healthy respect for snakes in the public eye. We hope that the more people know about the animal, the less they will fear it.
  • We are excited to work with people who love snakes, and share our enthusiasm with those who don’t.

Juvenile Texas Rat Snake by Chris Harrison via Birds and Herps

As always, thanks for saving snakes with us!

Comments 6

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  4. Jessica February 4, 2016

    The prints on snake blood show how barbaric and viciously sick some morons can be. This should be illegal. If they had a dog or cat festival in Sweetwater, people would be up in arms. This should be the case for the snakes too. They are animals who deserve to live and not be slaughtered as entertainment. Brutality is wrong in every form. Sweetwater one day they will look at your festival as we look at dog festivals in Asia.


  5. Pingback: How to Snake-proof Your Chicken Coop – TXSI

  6. Pingback: If You Love Texas, Love its Wildlife – TXSI

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