Skip to main content

Herpetological Notes Fromarizona

June 2024
1min read

Glancing through the Summer, 1977, issue of La Reata , the quarterly newsletter of the Arizona Historical Society, we encountered the rather startling photograph below. After making inquiries, we learned that it was taken sometime in the late 1920's by a staff photographer for the Albert Buehman studio in Tucson, and now reposes among the nearly 200,000 photographs in the Society’s Albert Buehman Memorial Collection.

The picture, it appears, was taken to advertise the sterling virtues of the Hobart meat grinder, which is shown administering a weekly feeding to a rattlesnake, perhaps a denizen of one of Arizona’s tourist-attracting snake farms. We do not know what was ground up and pumped into the snake, but then we also do not know why this would have been considered an important function of the Hobart meat grinder. However, the photo probably attracted would-be buyers in the 1920's, as it attracted us, and that was all that mattered.

The same issue of La Reata , dwelling further on reptilian matters, provided the following folk prescription for a cure for asthma: “You get a rattlesnake. You kill it before it has been made mad, for if it is mad then all the poison goes through its body.… Then you take one inch of the rattlesnake body and you boil it in four glasses of water until one glass is boiled off. Then you let it cool and you drink one glass in the morning, one at noon and one at night. You must not use any salt. You do this every day.” Ill

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.

Donate