There are many signs of spring in the southeast, and one sure way to know that the weather is warming up is the start of festival season. The subject of these celebrations range from swine to mayhaw, pine trees, and watermelons. For Tortoise Burrow readers, one festival that should draw attention is the Whigham Rattlesnake Roundup. This event focuses on environmental education. In a change from many rattlesnake roundups of the past, this roundup has been reinvigorated as a celebration of serpents.
The Whigham Rattlesnake Roundup, which was held on March 5th, 2022, was attended by more than 8,000 revelers. Throughout the day, which was cloudless and pleasant, there were 10 educational reptile and wildlife shows against the backdrop of conservation-focused booths, carnival food, vendors, live music, and a midway. The Tortoise Burrow readers will also be pleased to hear that GTC members Dr. Lora Smith (The Jones Center at Ichauway) and Dr. Jess McGuire (Quail Forever) gave insightful educational talks during their time on the main stage. Around the festival grounds, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Rattlesnake Conservancy, Cheehaw Park and Zoo, Southeastern Reptile Rescue, the University of Georgia Herpetological Society, and the Georgia Herpetological Society provided reptile and amphibian displays, many of which were hands on (hand sanitizer provided). Several venomous species including timber rattlesnakes and cottonmouths were also featured on the main stage.
The Gopher Tortoise Council is glad that this new opportunity to celebrate and appreciate our diverse wildlife exist. The Whigham Rattlesnake Roundup first occurred in 1960. Proceeds from the Whigham Rattlesnake Roundup support contributions to local schools, community groups, and Whigham Troop 383.
If you find yourself celebrating Spring in south Georgia, a rattlesnake adventure may be closer than you think.