The Rise and Fall of the Timber Rattlesnake
Yet most of us have never seen a timber rattler. Though they’re found in thirty-one states, and near many major cities, in contemporary America timber rattlesnakes are creatures mostly of imagination and innate fear.
Ted Levin aims to change that with America’s Snake, a portrait of the timber rattlesnake, its place in America’s pantheon of creatures and in our own frontier history—and of the heroic efforts to protect it against habitat loss, climate change, and the human tendency to kill what we fear. Taking us from labs where the secrets of the snake’s evolutionary history are being unlocked to far-flung habitats whose locations are fiercely protected by biologists and dedicated amateur herpetologists alike, Levin paints a picture of a fascinating creature: peaceable, social, long-lived, and, despite our phobias, not inclined to bite. The timber rattler emerges here as emblematic of America and also, unfortunately, of the complicated, painful struggles involved in protecting and preserving the natural world.
A wonderful mix of natural history, travel writing, and exemplary journalism, America’s Snake is loaded with remarkable characters—none more so than the snake at its heart: frightening, perhaps; endangered, certainly; and unquestionably unforgettable.
1 An Introduction to Crotalus horridus
Part One Egress: The Dangers of Leaving Home
2 A Quirky Subculture
3 Quasimodo in the Blue Hills
4 Live Free or Die
5 Zero at the Bone
6 A Long, Muscular Tube
Interlude: High Summer: On the Trail with Timber Rattlesnakes
7 The Dangers of Being Male
8 The Dangers of Being Female
9 A Commodity of Rattlesnakes: Snakes Today, Bibles Tomorrow
Part Two Ingress: The Dangers of Coming Home
10 Chaos of Rocks
11 Among Rattlesnakes
12 Into the Abyss
13 The Very Last Rattlesnake
Epilogue: The Ambiguous World of the Timber Rattlesnake