The Snake ‘Rodeo’ is Back for 2022 In Lake Providence, Louisiana
There's no doubt about it, it's snake season once again! The temperature is plenty high enough for our least favorite leg-less Louisiana critters to come out and play, and you better believe have.
While the entire state is a haven for snakes, some places have way more than others. Take Lake Providence, Louisiana for example. This town is situated between the mighty Mississippi River and an oxbow lake. When the river swells, it fills up the lake and low laying areas with water - and a lot of snakes. According to the report from U.S. News and World Report, the town of about 3,500 becomes overrun with nope-ropes every spring.
To deal with the issue, the East Carroll Parish Sheriff's Office regularly a organizes a huge hunting party. They split up and hit the area lakes to make a sport out of taking out as many snakes as possible. When the time is up, they bring their harvest to the weigh-in headquarters. Prizes are awarded for the longest snake and the most snakes killed within the 5-hour time limit. There are rules like: Only 2 people to a boat, and only shotguns can be used. There are no restrictions on the number or type of snake killed - as long as they're scaly and leg-less, they count.
The first snake rodeo since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Lake Providence was held over the weekend. The tally for this past Saturday's event hasn't been reported yet, but after a 2 year hiatus - you can bet those lakes and ponds were loaded with those slithery suckers!
Opponents of the practice say that killing the snakes indiscriminately removes more non-venomous ones than the venomous ones, which in turn disrupts the local ecosystem. During the last Lake Providence snake rodeo in 2019, the final numbers seem to support their claim. According to the report, only 22 of the 134 snakes killed were dangerous to humans.
Snake lovers and animal-rights protestors have asked the Sheriff to end the practice. Although Sheriff Wydette Williams has decided he will continue with the tradition that dates back the 1960's - he had this to say about those who would oppose the Snake Rodeo:
I welcome them, they have a right to be here.