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Rattlesnake - Portrait of a Predator Hardcover – August 17, 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA-In this remarkable study, Rubio provides detailed information on almost everything anyone would want to know about rattlesnakes-their origins, habitats, physiology, and anatomy. But he doesn't stop there. He also examines our different relationships with them, from commercial exploitation to their place in lore and religion. Appendixes list the scientific, English, and Spanish names of the snakes and include a detailed glossary of terms relevant to their study. The real draw of Rattlesnake, however, is the more than 250 full-color photographs that capture both the beauty and the power of these reptiles. Whether it is a picture of a diamondback posed to strike or of snake-handling religious sects, the illustrations are not for the squeamish. This book will hold the attention of both recreational readers and budding herpetologists.
Robert Burnham, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

No one is neutral on the subject of rattlesnakes--people either loathe them or find them fascinating. It is also impossible to be neutral about this marvelous new book on rattlesnakes, the only poisonous snakes with the buzzing warning. Lawrence Klauber's monumental Rattlesnakes (1956) is the standard scholarly work on the subject, but Rubio's new semipopular work is a worthy successor, beautifully illustrated with the author's color photographs (which Klauber lacked). Fourteen chapters cover the basics of anatomy, senses, reproduction, fangs, and poison, as well as more esoteric subjects, such as rattlesnake roundups and religious snake-handling, with equal thoroughness and depth. Rubio's captivation with his subject comes through in his writing, but he is able to present the accounts of snake-handling and roundups with dispassion, allowing readers to form their own opinions on these controversial practices. Three excellent appendixes list scientific and common names (in English and Spanish) of all species of rattlesnakes and addresses of North American herpetological societies, and a glossary defines biological terms relevant to rattlesnakes. A lengthy bibliography completes an extremely valuable book, which is highly recommended for all libraries. Nancy Bent
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press; 1St Edition edition (August 17, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560988088
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560988083
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 1 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #375,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is a good resource for those who are interested in rattlers without being interested enough to read Klauber's treatise on the subject. The information is sound, and goes into fair depth, although at times I felt that a more scholarly less pop tone would have worked better. Still the author did what he set out to do; produce a great work on rattlesnakes that was accessible. It's easily worth reading, and is very informative. Although much of the info you can get from Klauber, there are many cases where Rubio has provided useful and worthwhile revisions/changes/additons to material (medicinal significance, the ecological effect of roundups, taxonomy etc.). These make the book more than a contemporary rehash of Kaluber's masterpiece.

The text alone would be worth the price of the book; the photography makes the book a steal. This man knows how to take pictures; some of the best photos of rattlers I've ever seen (and I've seen and taken several) are here. I borrowed this book from a library, expecting something that was little more than an update on Klauber; however, this work stands alone very well, and is informative--I intend to buy it. The photos are on par with any herp photography I've ever seen, and are impressive and useful; almost worth the price of the book themselves. This book is a must have, and well worth the time and money that one must invest to read it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have always been fascinated by rattlesnakes, ever since living in the heart of California's rattlesnake country as a young lad. This book covers the subject in loving and fascinating detail, with loads of superb photographs which splendidly support the excellent text. These are magnificent and beneficial animals and the author does a superb job of writing about them.
My only criticism of the book is that it spends a lot of time dealing with human activities as regards rattlesnakes, such as the notorious "rattlesnake roundups," which the author rightly explains to be unconscionable predations by man against innocent and essential creatures. I would have rather seen even more space devoted to a pure scientific study of rattlers. But this is a minor quibble, and many will doubtless disagree with me because these sections are very well done and interesting.
The book's scientific discussion of rattlesnakes is very interesting. These are amazing creatures and the author plainly is highly motivated by the subject. This book is a labor of love in which the reader will delight to share.
This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in rattlers.
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Format: Hardcover
I received a copy of this excellent book as a gift this past Christmas. Finally I was able to put it down and I wanted to support this book.The Photography is unbeleivable and the information is presented clearly and without the stuffy know it all attitude of many other authors. I get the sense he wants the reader to understand and appreciate the material without making it too complex. This is an excellent choice for beginning herpetologists. I have been to several of the locations mentioned in the text and the book reminded me of my own experiances with these magnificant animals. I would highly recommend this book to all those intersted in rattlesnakes.
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Format: Hardcover
This book contains some of the most fantastic photography ever done of rattlesnakes, as well as a thoroughly-researched text which makes the latest scientific information available to everyone with an interest in snakes. Very entertaining and readable.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a large, well-crafted book. The photographs found throughout are absolutely stunning. As a rattlesnake fan, that alone makes the book worth the price. But it gets better...

Rubio writes about rattlesnakes with an even-handed, scientific coolness, but his passion for the subject shines through in every sentence. This volume is undoubtedly a work of love and it's a pleasure to read. The torch lit by Klauber has been most honorably hoisted again by Rubio.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, not just rattlesnake enthusiasts.

If you're wondering if it's worth it--yes, it is!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Manny Rubio is an outstanding photographer with many accomplishments. Most notably his work photographing the NHL in New York and Atlanta in the 1970's where he produced amazing photographs in some very tough lighting situations. It was my knowledge of that work that led me to this book.

Not only are Rubio's photographs of these snakes all well crafted but his study and knowledge of Rattlesnakes is beyond thorough. There is attention to detail and his accuracy is dead on with even the slightest variances in the species. If you have an interest in Rattlesnakes, and or want to improve your knowledge of them then this is the book to get.
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Format: Hardcover
Manny Rubio's "Rattlesnake: Portrait of a Predator" is an impressive piece of work, and an adequate follow-up to Gloyd's and Klauber's earlier masterpieces. It is well written and provides a great amount of valuable and accurate information concerning all aspects of rattlesnakes. As this book is interesting to both the rattlesnake curious as well as the professional herpetologist, it highly recommendable for any Crotalus/Sistrurus enthusiast or anyone who is intrigued by these fascinating creatures.

As some of the other reviewers have already noted, the photography that is displayed in this book is absolutely stunning. Many of the pictures are some of the best ever published on this subject, which in itself makes the book well worth its price.
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