No, for the truly strange, we must look inward. How weird is it that humans hold annual celebrations in which the main focus is rounding up and killing animals for entertainment? How bizarre is it that this is socially acceptable and encouraged?
These thoughts occurred to me recently as I was reading a number of newspaper articles promoting, excuse me, reporting on the events associated with the Sweetwater, Texas Rattlesnake Roundup. How else can we explain why skinning a recently decapitated and still-squirming animal is considered, "laugh-inducing"? Is it really that much fun to cut up an animal, feel it's still-beating heart, and then slap your bloody handprints on the wall? If so, I have to admit that I have been looking for entertainment in entirely the wrong places. I think it's much more interesting if the snake's heart is beating when the skin is still on.
I wrote last week about how the organizers of the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup raised their rattlesnake bounty this year in hopes of gathering more snakes. It didn't work. As this press-release, excuse me, newspaper article, notes in relation to a rattlesnake-eating contest, it was once again a below-average year. Whether the roundup organizers are correct in attributing low rattlesnake densities to weather patterns, there seems to be no arguing the fact that there have been less rattlesnakes crawling around Texas lately. I guess this means people should
try harder to round up what's left? After all, those bloody handprints on the wall aren't going to get slapped on themselves.
Now that is what I consider bizarre.
David A. Steen received his Ph.D. from Auburn University, his B.S. from the State University of New York-College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and his B.S. from the University of New Hampshire. He researches the ecology and conservation biology of wildlife and blogs about his work at www.LivingAlongsideWildlife.com. His copyrighted work appears here under a Creative Commons license.