Timber Rattlesnakes in Vermont & New York

Biology, History, and the Fate of an Endangered Species

Jon Furman

Today, small populations of timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) quietly inhabit parts of Rutland County in Vermont, and Warren, Washington, and Essex counties in New York. Because the species is endangered, the exact locations of established dens in this area are a closely guarded secret. Insider, naturalist, and author Jon Furman has devoted years to the study of the snake’s past and present range, its habitat and biology, the period in Vermont and upstate New York history during which timber rattlesnakes were ruthlessly hunted for a bounty, and the outlook for this severely threatened species in both states. Soundly anchored in the latest scientific data, Furman proffers an accessible and engaging account of contemporary fieldwork and first-person interviews with herpetologists and old-time bounty hunters. For expert and lay readers interested in snakes and reptiles, northeastern fauna and natural history, conservation, and endangered species, this volume clearly explicates the timber rattlesnake’s biology as well as what happens and what to do when one bites. It also explores the troubling decline of the northeastern population caused by bounty hunting between the 1890s and the early 1970s, other past and present threats to the species’ survival, and what measures are being taken—and additional ones that must be taken—to ensure that timber rattlesnakes survive and thrive in the northeast. Historical and contemporary illustrations bring these reptiles and their world to life. Timber Rattlesnakes in Vermont & New York shines a new light on a maligned and misunderstood species.

Paper: $19.95 | E-book: $14.99
ISBN-13: 9781584656562
Pages: 228 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: December 1, 2007


  • Every once in a while a book comes along that defies categorization. Such is the wonderful slithering conundrum that West Rutland author Jon Furman poses for booksellers with his "Timber Rattlesnakes in Vermont & New York."Its title and 208 extensively footnoted pages argue for placement on the shelf with other nature guides. But there are easily a half dozen reasons Furman's book deserves a much wider readership, not the least its stunning cover photo of a yellow morph timber rattler, its fierce glare through yellow-slitted eyes striking us - as it were - with fear, fascination and repulsion.

    Rutland Herald
  • . . . Furman, an experienced naturalist and writer, provides a fresh look at the often sensationalized but frequently misunderstood timber rattlesnake . . . . Aside from the literature, Furman relies heavily on his own observations andthose of a wide variety of experts, both professional and amateur, to give a lively account of this species . . . Recommended.

  • Every once in a while, a book comes along that defies categorization. Such is the wonderful, slithering conundrum that author Jon Furman poses . . . with his Timber Rattlesnakes in Vermont and New York. What Furman has crafted . . . is nothing less than a remarkable snake stew, a blend of history book, field trip, old-fashioned yarn, ecological and biological study, mythology, and sociological treatise . . .

    Northern Woodlands
  • Furman's book is a great read, covering the life history of timber rattlesnakes, as well as a host of fascinating stories of the timber rattlesnake populations in four specific counties: Essex, Warren and Washington counties in New York and Rutland County in Vermont.

    Press Republican
  • This a well written interesting treatise on the timber rattlesnake bounty system in the Northeast. It includes good summaries of the life history of the snake, its bite and the treatment for it, and the effects of bounties on the populations of the reptile. I highly recommend it to persons interested in the snake and conservation of Northeast wildlife in general.

    Carl H. Ernst
    Division of Amphibians and Reptiles, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C.

About the Author

Jon Furman

Jon Furman is an accomplished amateur naturalist and writer who studies timber rattlesnakes in the northeast.

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