Throwing a bunch of rattlesnakes in a pit and jumping in with them isn’t typically the way you would want to spend a weekend, but that’s exactly the type of show you’ll experience if you visit the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup.
This annual event takes place in Sweetwater, Texas. 2017 marked its 59th year and the event has grown to become the world’s largest rattlesnake roundup.
Typically, about 5,000 pounds of rattlesnakes are caught every year for this event. However, the spring 2016 event brought in nearly 25,000 pounds, a record for the roundup.
Once the snakes are caught, they go through a few different processes. First, they have their venom removed from their glands, which allows for the production of anti-venom.
Information is then gathered regarding length, weight and sex of the snakes and passed along to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for documentation and academic studies.
Finally, the snakes are taken to the skinning pit, where their heads are removed and their meat and hides are harvested. From there, the meat is cooked and the hides are turned into things like wallets and belts. Watch the video above to see what this unique event looks like in action.
When the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup was first founded in 1958, the intent was to control the rattlesnake population in the area. Without the attempts to create some sort of control, those living in the area would be quickly outnumbered by rattlesnakes.
About 30,000 to 40,000 people venture into this unique event annually. Along with seeing an impressive collection of rattlesnakes, they are also treated to a carnival, cookouts, beauty pageants and much more. You can even go behind the scenes by going on a guided rattlesnake hunt yourself.
The next roundup is scheduled for March 2017, so mark your calendars now.