Should Rattlesnakes Be Gassed? Texas Parks and Wildlife Says No
Texas Parks and Wildlife officials note in the release that there are other ways to get the snakes out of the burrows and that some roundup contests have already stopped gassing snakes. Changing the rules would also put Texas on the same page with dozens of states that have banned gassing in recent years. (Not that we care as a rule about what other states are doing, but this might be one time we could be followers in the Lone Star State.) There will still be some exceptions, if the rule is put in place, allowing exterminator-type people to gas snakes when they need to be removed from inhabited areas.
Some states even require you to have a hunting license to kill a rattlesnake. Of course we've got no such thing in Texas, because, come on, it's Texas, but Texas Parks and Wildlife's consideration of the rule change is still a step toward not killing them all wholesale.
And yes, we know that snakes are scary and rattlers are poisonous and all that, but all of this rattlesnake killing has had an unintended consequence -- the development of the rattle-less rattlesnake. The theory goes that people have killed so many of the rattling rattlesnakes that it's weeding them out and producing snakes that don't rattle at all before striking. We're nowhere near not killing rattlesnakes in Texas -- this isn't California, people -- but it's a step toward not destroying animals and sections of the environment to get at some snakes.