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Tango,

It has to do with how you're brought up. My granddad killed every venomous snake he ever came across. My Dad did the same. My mother did the same. She rode horseback to school back in those days and if they came across a rattlesnake it was expected that they would kill it. If I am not close to the house, I let a venomous snake crawl away. But my conscience still bothers me. I may have just let the snake get away that might bite me next time.

I remember GrandDad, born in the 1880s, saying they were too dangerous to let live. He had a shepherd dog that would kill them by grabbing the snake behind the neck and shaking him to death. I've never seen that actually happen (before my time), but I've heard the story many times.

Many of the rattlesnakes I see on my place are 5' or 6' long. I would not be qualified to safely capture them.
 

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For some years, researchers have known that juvenile rattlers often have stronger venom than that of their larger, more mature counterparts — a difference that may have arisen because small snakes inject much less venom than adults and may go after different or faster prey. In some species, young snakes have a higher proportion of neurotoxins in their venom than do older individuals.

Because humans often kill, capture, or intentionally run over larger snakes when they encounter them, Biardi argues, we may be affecting the age of the overall rattlesnake population. One need only look at the annual "rattlesnake roundup" in Sweetwater, Texas, where in 1997 more than 18,000 pounds' worth of rattlers were killed during the weekend hunt. Prizes go to those who bring in the largest and heaviest ones. To qualify for the competition, a hunter must submit at least 100 pounds of rattlesnakes. According to Biardi, if humans continue to selectively eliminate older rattlesnakes, it will be mostly younger ones — with the neurotoxic venom — that remain in the wild.

Click on the following link for the entire article..

http://www.amnh.org/naturalhistory/features/0700_feature.htmlRattlesnake Venom</A>
 
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