Portrait of a Predator

Publisher: Smithsonian Books
Illustrated with more than 250 dramatic original color photographs depicting not only fangs and rattles but also intricate patterns and extraordinary camouflage, Rattlesnake traces the evolution and behavior of the more than eighty living species and subspecies of rattlesnakes—from East Coast timber rattlesnakes to California's desert-dwelling sidewinders to South America's neotropical species. Explaining the functions of anatomical characteristics such as heat-sensitive facial pits, Manny Rubio also describes rattlesnakes' diverse habitats, feeding strategies, reproductive cycles, and seasonal hibernation patterns. Drawing on recent research and replete with never-before-published photographs, Rattlesnake is landmark guide for both professional and amateur herpetologists, as well as a fascinating introduction to the most maligned reptile of the Americas.


“It is impossible to be neutral about this marvelous new book on rattlesnakes . . . . Three excellent appendixes contain scientific and common names (in English and Spanish) of all species of rattlesnakes, addresses of North American herpetological societies, and a glossary of biological terms relevant to rattlesnakes. A lengthy bibliography completes an extremely valuable book.”—Booklist

“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. . . . 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. . . . This book will hold the attention of both recreational readers and budding herpetologists.”—School Library Journal

“A particularly handsome work of natural history.”—Kirkus Reviews