Rescued rattlesnakes serve as education tool - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Rescued rattlesnakes serve as education tool

When not at the rattlesnake festival, Chehaw's rattlesnakes are housed in the reptile house in the zoo. (Source: WALB) When not at the rattlesnake festival, Chehaw's rattlesnakes are housed in the reptile house in the zoo. (Source: WALB)
Tortoises and other animals suffer from rattle snake hunting. (Source: WALB) Tortoises and other animals suffer from rattle snake hunting. (Source: WALB)
Rattlesnakes like this one in the reptile house severe as educational tools against round ups. (Source: WALB) Rattlesnakes like this one in the reptile house severe as educational tools against round ups. (Source: WALB)
Biologist Josh Jenson with the DNR is picking up rattlesnakes from around the state ahead of this weekend's festival. (Source: WALB) Biologist Josh Jenson with the DNR is picking up rattlesnakes from around the state ahead of this weekend's festival. (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Rattlesnakes from across the state are being moved to Claxton, Georgia for the weekend.

This weekend's rattlesnake festival has been converted from what was once a rattlesnake roundup.

Captive rattlesnakes from Chehaw along with facilities in Griffin and Mansfield, Georgia will be used as a teaching tool instead of killed.

The Department of Natural Resources is against roundups and prefers using rattlesnakes for education at festivals like these where the animals won't be harmed.

"The educational opportunity is greatly enhanced, because so many conservation organizations have been pushing for change on these rattlesnake roundups, to get them away from the environmental impacts that they cause and the harm to the animals themselves," said John Jensen, senior biologist for the Department of Natural Resources.

In addition to hurting the rattlesnakes, other animals are impacted due to rattlesnake roundups.

“Our major concern is the impact to rare species, not just the rattlesnake itself. The primary method for catching these rattlesnakes by hunters is to find them when they are using Gopher tortoise burrows as dens during the winter when the tortoises are dormant. They are blowing gasoline fumes down there which drives the snakes out, but the tortoises just sit down there and suffer,” said Jensen.  

There is only one rattlesnake round left in the state of Georgia which Chehaw and the DNR hope will eventually be converted to a festival.

For more information on this weekend's rattlesnake festival in Claxton, click here.

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