- Associated Press - Monday, May 23, 2016

LAKE PROVIDENCE, La. (AP) - Participants in the annual East Carroll Snake Rodeo don’t round up the snakes on Lake Providence: they go out in boats and shoot them.

Participants on Saturday killed 273 snakes: 84 cottonmouth moccasins and 189 non-venomous reptiles, Army Corps of Engineers biologist Steven George told The News-Star (https://tnsne.ws/22kIZQ7). The count included 166 diamondback water snakes, 15 broad-banded water snakes and two rat snakes.

Those were just the snakes that could be brought in.

T.J. O’Neal and his two teammates said they shot three snakes, but two of them sank too quickly to retrieve them with a net.

The East Carroll Parish Sheriff’s Office sponsors the event, with a goal of keeping down the snake population.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Louisiana Amphibian and Reptile Enthusiasts both work at the event to educate people about the types of snakes living on the lake.

They’re not trying to stop the rodeo, said Jared Streeter of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Heritage Program. But, he said, it’s important to understand the likely effects.

“If you remove the non-venomous snakes it creates the opportunity for the venomous snakes to move in,” Streeter said.

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Information from: The News-Star, https://www.thenewsstar.com

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