Sympathy for the devil?
Author: Ted Levin
Rattlesnake defenders. There may be no smaller minority in America. But despite the deeply seated terror they generate for the average human, naturalist Ted Levin is a devoted fan of all things rattlesnake. And there may be no snake more in need of a robust defense than the timber rattler. Once ubiquitous throughout eastern North America, Crotalus horridus has suffered ceaselessly as humans have waged an astonishingly cruel war on this remarkable – and surprisingly docile – species. America’s Snake is Levin’s passionate and determined appeal for an immediate cessation of hostilities. Before it’s too late.
But wait, what about snake bites? Aren’t rattlesnakes incredibly dangerous? Right out of the gate, Levin makes it clear that an envenomation by a timber rattler is undoubtedly a medically serious event. But snake bites are vanishingly uncommon. Moreover, the vast majority of people who do get bit are harassing the snakes – and often intoxicated at the same time. In other words, even when you’re in rattlesnake country, you really have to go out of your way to get bit. Rattlesnakes only bite as a last defense and would much rather slither out of your way and save their venom for an unsuspecting mouse or chipmunk.