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HOME RANGE: Notes on Literature, Nature, Working Dogs, History, Martial Arts, Other Obsessions and Sundry Annoyances by Henry Chappell

Rattlesnake Feature

Here's my latest Texas Wildlife feature. Incredible photos by Laurie Hall and Wyman Meinzer. Click on the image and check it out!
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A Snakeish Outing

A few days ago, I received an email from Kim Rothe, my editor at Texas Wildlife:

"Just a friendly reminder about your feature on rattlesnakes."


Perhaps someone in an editorial meeting decided I ought to write a rattlesnake piece, and no one informed me. More likely, I signed up to write the piece and promptly forgot all about it. In any case, I'm happy to write the article, and ever-patient Kim has mercifully given me an extra 10 days.

Irresponsibility on my part, you say? I prefer to think of myself as a high-maintenance writer who's worth the extra aggravation.

I could simply pull out a few field guides, bone up on rattlers, call a couple experts, reuse one or two old tales, write a decent article, and collect a check. Sometimes, that's the best you can do.

Instead, I'm heading west day after tomorrow for a very close look at some rattlesnake dens - just to get in the right mood. I have an excellent guide.

Last night, I took my old copy of J. Frank Dobie's Rattlesnakes from my shelf and spent a couple hours freshening up my rattlesnake lore. As I read about 10-foot rattlers and prickly pear flats carpeted by snakes, I kept hearing the voice of one of my favorite Texas philosophers:

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