Claxton rattlesnake event no longer a roundup - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Claxton rattlesnake event no longer a roundup

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Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes have been a part of spring in Claxton for nearly half a century. Hunters have traditionally been the ones to bring the reptiles for the Rattlesnake Roundup. But parts of this tradition will change this year.

"We've been talking the past couple of years about the possibility of not buying and selling rattlesnakes," explained Bruce Purcell, president of the Evans County Wildlife Club. "It's just a situation where it's time to make that change."

They'll call it the Claxton Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival. Purcell said several factors played into the changes. Primarily, the number of hunters bringing snakes has dropped over time. Also, the drug companies who originally bought the snakes no longer use ones collected through roundups to make venom antidotes. The event has also come under criticism by animal rights groups. But a new name and new focus doesn't mean the snakes will disappear.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Georgia Southern University's Wildlife Education Center will bring rattlers and other animals and teach visitors about them all. In addition, Steve Scruggs, a wildlife expert and long time speaker at the Claxton event, will bring his Let's Get Wild demonstration as well. Purcell said they hope to preserve an event that started to help a snake bite victim and prevent other injuries.

"It's nothing but education and conservation, which is what our club was intended for in the beginning. We hope it's going to be a bigger, better festival and everyone will benefit," he noted.

The group and the community are still working to update websites and event pages. For information about the Evans County Wildlife Club, visit

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