Rattlesnake roundup is this weekend in Whigham

Published 11:44 am Friday, January 27, 2012


News Intern

Members of the largest species of rattlesnakes, the Eastern Diamondback, will again be brought to the 52nd Annual Rattlesnake Roundup in Whigham, Ga., on Saturday Jan. 28.

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The Roundup festivities will begin at 9 a.m. with admission at $2 and snake presentations will be held throughout the day at 11:45 a.m., 12:45 p.m. and 2:45 p.m.

During the snake presentations, demonstrations will be given on how to milk the venom from a snake and explanations on how the venom is used to make anti-venom. A professional when it comes to milking snakes, Ken Darnell, will return this year to extract venom from the snakes that are brought to the roundup. The venom extracted from the snakes this year, as in previous years, will be sold to medical facilities to use in the production of antivenin.

Darnell said, as an example, that the drug Integrilin, which helps prevent blood clots and heart attacks, was developed from the study of snake venom. Darnell said there are only five major providers of snake venom in the United States, of which he provides the largest amount from his lab in Alabama. Darnell has a B.A. degree in chemistry from Georgia Tech, where he graduated from in 1967.

Snake hunters will be eligible for first-through-fifth place prizes for the most snakes and first- and second-place prizes for the largest individual snakes.

A good number of vendors will be present for the roundup this year as well. There will be about 140 arts-and-crafts and resell vendors and 15 food vendors. Some local non-profits regularly set up booths at the roundup as well. About 20,000 visitors come to the Rattlesnake Roundup each year, organizers said.