Join us as we welcome nature writer, photographer, and VPR commentator Ted Levin as he presents his new book 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. Levin's book captures the snake's natural history and unique behaviors, and looks at the people who love them, loathe them, and have abused them through illegal trade.
A former Bronx Zoo zoologist, Levin is the author of Blood Brook: A Naturalists Home Ground, Backtracking: The Way of the Naturalist, and Liquid Land: A Journey through the Everglades, which won the Burroughs Medal in 2004. He has written for Sports Illustrated, Audubon, National Wildlife, National Geographic Traveler, and other publications.
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There’s no sound quite like it, or as viscerally terrifying: the ominous rattle of the timber rattlesnake. It’s a chilling shorthand for imminent danger, and a reminder of the countless ways that nature can suddenly snuff us out.
Yet most of us have never seen a timber rattler.