Sweetwater Jaycees bring rattlers to the Capitol ahead of roundup

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — You may hear a rattle or two while walking by the Capitol this week. The Sweetwater Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce) are holding safety demonstrations outside the Capitol, featuring around 20 rattlesnakes.

The Jaycees put on what they call the “world’s largest rattlesnake roundup” every year in the second weekend of March in Sweetwater, Texas. This is the 58th year the roundup has been held, and the group has been coming to Austin, as the guest of various representatives, since 1982.

The roundup, which thousands attend every year, was started as a way to control the local population of snakes.

Riley Sawyers, a member of the group, addressed some misconceptions of rattlesnakes, “They are pit vipers, they are venomous reptiles, which are dangerous to people, dogs and everything. We’re not out to deplete the population, it’s all about keeping the population under control.”

And what does Sawyers recommend as a course of action if you ever come across a rattlesnake? “Stand still, remain calm, let this snake go on about its business. A snake strikes for two reasons and that’s food and fear. He knows people are too big to eat, so he’s going to go on his way.”

The Sweetwater Jaycees will be at the Capitol Extension open air rotunda again on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. State Representative Susan Lewis King, R-Abilene, is hosting the group.

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