Veteran Texas Rattlesnake Handler Bitten & Killed at Roundup


FREER, TX – A professional rattlesnake handler was killed over the weekend after he was bitten at a rattlesnake roundup. 

According to members of the family, on Apr. 30, Eugene De Leon Sr. was bitten by a rattlesnake while handling it at the 2022 Freer Rattlesnake Roundup. Following the bite, De Leon was airlifted to the hospital where he later died from his injuries.

De Leon's sister posted to social media the following day to make the announcement. 

Facebook Post Regarding Eugene De Leon Sr.

Facebook Post Regarding Eugene De Leon Sr. (Contributed: Monica Dimas)

De Leon was a professional snake handler for more than 20 years. 

This year the Freer Rattlesnake Roundup was held at the Duval-Freer Airport. During mass rattlesnake events the room is cooled to temperatures under 70 degrees. This is to keep the snakes docile while handling.

Rattlesnake anti-venom is not kept at rattlesnake roundup events. Those who get bitten have to be rushed to the hospital. 

According to the USDA, Rattlesnake bites are rarely fatal with less than 1 in 600 resulting in death, and approximately 33 percent not containing injection of venom at all. However, you should assume for your own sake that venom has been introduced and always seek treatment. 

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It was God's plan and, just like when rape victims become pregnant, we should all take comfort and make the most out of this opportunity

I would like to know the circumstances, specifically, what he was doing when the bite occurred. If he was doing something stupid, like zipping himself in a sleeping bag full of snakes, or putting a coiled rattler on his face, things I've seen Jackie Bibby do, or simulating kissing a rattler as indicated in the photo above, I can have no sympathy for him. Yes, sympathy for the family certainly, but not him. If he was involved in reckless acts in a performance when bitten, I can only say that playing with fire will get you burned.

Sounds to me like he wasn't up to owning the professional snake handler title that somebody gave him..... Playing stupid games always wins you stupid prizes....

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