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Acrylic on illustration board
15" x 40"
The rattlesnakes comprise a subfamily of two genera and around thirty species of New World pit vipers which are unique among snakes in having tails which end in a specialized horny segmented scale that produces a characteristic buzz when shaken. The center of rattlesnake diversity lies in the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico, but fossil evidence suggests that the first rattlesnakes appeared in the American Great Plains. Presumably, these reptiles found an advantage in being able to warn away large ungulates, chief among them the American bison (Bison bison). Today, the rattlesnakes are represented in the American midwest by the prairie rattlesnake, a race of the widespread western rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis). Incidental creatures in the painting include horseflies (Tabanus sp.) metallic bee (Augochlora sp.), banded grasshopper (Trimerotropis sp.), skipper (Epargyreus sp.), common nighthawk (Chordeiles minor), horned larks (Eremophila alpestris), and a groundsquirrel (Spermophilus sp.).