Landscape with Reptile: Rattlesnakes in an Urban World

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Globe Pequot, 2004 - Nature - 340 pages
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In this marvelously original and authoritative book, Thomas Palmer introduces us to a community of rattlesnakes nestled in the heart of the urban Northeast, one of several such enclaves found near cities across the country. From this unusual springboard, Palmer plunges into an examination not only of Crotalus horridus, but of ecology, evolution, folklore, New England history, and American culture.
Just south of Boston, within view of the State House, a range of low, rugged hills interrupts the suburbs. In these Blue Hills lives one of the last populations of timber rattlesnakes-easy enough to find if you know where, and how, to look. LANDSCAPE WITH REPTILE celebrates their survival with a kaleidoscopic journey through nature, literature, and history, a journey guided and informed by the snake's own serpentine passage through time. It includes a spirited defense of an outlaw species, a glance at the hazards of snakebite, an account of a multimillion-dollar development project halted by Crotalus, a travelogue, a collection of tall tales, and a meditation on the spectacle of life on earth. Like the best nature writers, Palmer lives and breathes with his landscape; but unlike most nature writers, Palmer finds his landscape is his own backyard.
Rarely has a book of natural history moved out in such original and unexpected ways from a focus so original and unexpected. A master craftsman, Thomas Palmer serves up a story with the authentic flavor of the woodlands it comes from, telling us everything we ever wanted to know about rattlesnakes-and much more we'd never dream to ask.

  

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Review: Landscape with Reptile: Rattlesnakes in an Urban World

User Review  - Bob Peru - Goodreads

freakin' excellent. filled with "lore". i love "lore". and rattlesnakes. i love rattlesnakes. Read full review

Contents

Snake Heaven
7
Habeas Corpus
18
Black Arts
25
Tree House
31
Primitive War
45
Joe Blow and Jake the Snake
53
Why Calvin Grith Doesnt Live in the Woods
61
Family Matters
76
The Country Doctor
164
First Do No Harm
183
A WorstCase Scenario
212
Four Bullets and an Ignoramus
230
Death Made Easy
238
The Snake Fence
259
Mother of Heroes
292
Midsummer
306

A Change of Heart
110
An Abominable Mystery
153

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About the author (2004)

THOMAS PALMER is the author of two novels, The Transfer and Dream Science, as well as several species reports from local conservation land surveys. An enthusiastic amateur naturalist, he describes LANDSCAPE WITH REPTILE as the result of a childhood obsession he never outgrew. When not observing rattlers, teaching his practice of ecological preservation scales down any remaining hours in the day. He lives in Milton, Massachusetts, with his wife and their two children.

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