Nature is full of all types of creatures. They come in all shapes and sizes, populating our planet with an inconceivably huge variety of life. But some animals we like, we find them cute even, while others we find disgusting by their very nature. And all of that is owed to our natural instincts.
The animals we find cute we find cute because of anthropomorphic features. They are actually nature’s way of tricking us into liking babies. Others, meanwhile, mostly because of their complete lack of resemblance to anything human, we find disgusting whether we want to or not – take insects and snakes for examples.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that people sometimes vent that pent up frustration. To the horror of environmentalist groups all over the country, the Sweetwater rattlesnake slaughter still makes millions. While they are attempting to stop the slaughter of thousands of snakes, locals are trying to uphold their traditions.
Sweetwater’s annual World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundup festival ended this Sunday, marking another successful year for the Texas town. Visitors could watch rattlesnakes slither in a pit before getting beheaded and skinned by snake handlers. They could participate in the skinning and leave their snake blood covered handprints on a wall.
While the town officials claim that the festival is necessary to stop overpopulation and protect humans and livestock from the creatures, data from the CDC and herpetologists kind of begs to differ. The CDC shows between 7,000 and 8,000 snake bite victims every tear, with only about five of these people actually dying.
Meanwhile, according to Auburn University’s reptile and amphibian expert David Steen,
If you don’t do any of those things, the risks of getting bitten by a snake are really low. What does a snake have to gain by attacking you? It’s not going to try to eat you. If we respect their place in the environment and also respect their space, then I think we can live alongside them with no problem at all.
So, the town’s second reason for maintaining the gruesome tradition is that it brings huge amounts of money and that it does nothing to the animal’s population. Last year, the event brought the little Texas town $8.4 million, most of it going to local charities and businesses.
The townsmen also claim that the snake numbers remain the same every year, as supported by the number of snakes found in each nest every year, and also that no part of the snake goes to waste – with the snake and poison sold, and the meat eaten.
Still, according to the co-founder of Advocates for Snake Preservation, Melissa Amarello,
We recognize that these festivals happen in small towns. It’s a really important source of revenue for the local economy. It’s part of their culture and their tradition, and we don’t want to take all that away from them. We just want them to stop killing snakes at the roundup.
Image source: Pixabay