Monday, February 28, 2011

Need Info on Rattlesnakes? [Updated]

Then don't go to the Opp Rattlesnake Rodeo's website and click Rattlesnakes: Facts, Information [UPDATE: This link no longer works; as of 5 March there is no longer a link to ANY sort of rattlesnake info from the Opp Rodeo page  UPDATE#2: It's inexplicably back again, same as before]. Although the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, the Timber Rattlesnake, and the Pigmy Rattlesnake are the three species native to south Alabama, they are not even mentioned by name. But there's tons of generic information on diet, reproduction, etc. Who pulled all this together? Nobody with Opp, it turns out. The local effort that went into this educational resource is zero. It's all lifted verbatim from the Wikipedia Rattlesnake page, minus certain details and all hyperlinks and citations (thanks Dave).
And under "Safety," a photo is provided of a young woman needlessly bare-handing a large eastern diamondback while a grown, bearded man assists. (An old Rodeo program I once had said the snake hunt was "the call of the wild to grown, bearded men.") If you need to pick up a rattler, always use a snake hook. This is safety? More like a display of what not to do.
April 11 2011 edit: At the request of the photographer (a City of Opp employee; see comments below) I've removed the image from this blog post.  There's no photographer credit on the official page I link to above (I couldn't know who to credit) and this kind of thing falls within "fair use" allowances, but I wouldn't want my photo being used without my permission, either.  You can see it here as long as the City keeps it on the website.
The Opp Rodeo has a wonderful opportunity to reach young people with a responsible environmental and safety message. It's a shame they're falling so far short of that potential.