As Chace is not a juvenile author but a herpetologist, he dispenses with the ""rattlesnakes in literature and art. . ."" approach and instead discusses how different snakes react to being picked up and what to expect if you stumble on one. His summary of snake physiology--the heat pits, three-chambered heart, and long inflatable lung, of the various rattler species and their characteristic environments--and of enemies human and animal, are specific and economical. Some of this can also be learned from more general snake and reptile handbooks, but anyone who wants to know his local rattler from others of its kind will appreciate Chace's expertise.