America's Snake: The Rise and Fall of the Timber Rattlesnake
Of all the rattlesnakes in the Western Hemisphere, the timber rattlesnake has evoked the widest, most controversial constituency. The first venomous snake encountered by European colonists, it was the first New World snake classified by Linnaeus, who gave it the Latinized name Crotalus horridus, which translates to scaly beast with musical rattle.” Benjamin Franklin was enamored by the timber rattlesnake. The timber rattlesnake is also the most thoroughly studied rattlesnake by amateur and professional herpetologists. E. O. Wilson has suggested that we fear them innately, but there is a population for whom these scaly predators charm better than any snake handler can attempt to do. These characters coil in the pages of Ted Levin's America's Snake, where the narrative slithers through the fascinating world of snake research and quackery, including everything from rattlesnakes’ unique reproductive behaviors to its relatively recent evolutionary history. We also come face to face with hucksters, such as the "Cobra King," who in his lifetime collected 9000 of the snakes for illegal trade, and who sold maps to Timber dens for $50, and guided tours for $5000. In America’s Snake, the rise and fall of the timber rattlesnake is examined, scale by scale.