Landscape with Reptile
Rattlesnakes in an Urban World

Thomas Palmer

An original look at our relationship and interactions with rattlesnakes


"Prime nature writing, capably focused through multiple views of natural history, ecology, medicine, history, evolution, and anthropology."
Kirkus Reviews

"Palmer's book is a rarity—fascinating nature writing that includes human history and sociology along with ecology and evolution. Palmer takes that unlovable creature, the timber rattlesnake, and uses it to discuss an incredible variety of topics related to our relationships with the natural world. . . . He shows us the world and its history from a perspective we seldom even imagine. Landscape with Reptile is essential for herpetological and regional New England collections and is an excellent selection for general natural history collections."
Library Journal

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In this authoritative and entertaining book, first published in 1992, 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 United States. Recognizing the unexpected proximity of rattlers in our urban environs, Palmer examines not only Crotalus horridus but also the ecology, evolution, folklore, New England history, and American culture that surrounds this native species.

Landscape with Reptile celebrates the rattlesnake’s survival with a multifaceted journey through nature, literature, and history. It includes a spirited defense of an outlaw species, an investigation of the hazards of snakebite, an account of a multimillion-dollar development project halted by Crotalus, a collection of tall tales, and a meditation on the spectacle of life on earth. Like the best nature writers, Palmer lives and breathes his landscape, but unlike most nature writers, he finds his landscape is his own backyard. Rarely has a book of natural history addressed so many historical and cultural touchstones in such original and unexpected ways. Palmer’s story is as authentic as the woodlands from which it sprang.

Page count: 360 pp.
46 b&w illus., 1 diagram, 1 map
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: $24.95

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Thomas Palmer is an amateur naturalist, photographer, conservation advocate, and the author of The Transfer and Dream Science. He lives in Milton, Massachusetts.