Ready, Set, Gas: Texas Town Set to Kill Thousands of Rattlesnakes

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Ready, Set, Gas: Texas Town Set to Kill Thousands of Rattlesnakes

Rattlers would be wise to steer clear of Sweetwater, Texas, this weekend.

(Photo: Greg Ward/Getty Images)

March 06, 2014       By Richard Conniff
      Richard Conniff is the author of ‘The Species Seekers: Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth’ and other books.
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Members of the Texas State Parks and Wildlife Commission had a rare opportunity in January to commit an act of political courage. If they’d done it, hundreds of native Texans—and the creatures living around them—might have been spared a needlessly horrifying death this week.

A vote originally scheduled for the commission’s January meeting would have ended the practice of spraying gas fumes into cracks and crevices in the ground to drive rattlesnakes out of their dens. The groggy victims are then rounded up and delivered to a…

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