Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup

Since its beginning 58 years ago, the annual Rattlesnake Roundup in Sweetwater Texas has caught and killed over 250,000 wild rattlesnakes. The festival’s activities include live handling demonstrations, beheadings, participatory skinning demonstrations, fried snake eating contests, and a Miss Snake Charmer beauty pageant. Proponents of the roundup defend the tradition in stating the primary purpose of roundups is to promote awareness and safety of wild rattlesnakes.

In collaboration with Advocates for Snake Preservation, I went to the Sweetwater Roundup in 2015 to document capture this story, and try to understand and expose the fallacies that lead us to the mass killing of these maligned creatures.

Photography and video by: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals and Melissa Amarello / Advocates for Snake Preservation

Soundtrack by: Moby

Editing by: Kelly Guerin