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A Guide to the Reptiles of Southern Africa Paperback – Mar 7 2008
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About the Author
GRAHAM ALEXANDER is an associate professor at the University of Witwatersrand, where he lectures and supervises postgraduate students. He has authored many scientific papers and popular articles, and his research has been the subject of documentaries on television. Alexander served as editor of the African Journal of Herpetology and associate editor of African Zoology, and has been curator at FitzSimons' Snake Park and of the herpetology division at the State Museum in Windhoek.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The lay out is exactly the same as the other Johan Marais book, snakes of southern Africa, and as i think snakes of is great i was very dissapointed by the reptiles of book.
Why you are asking ? Well i have got the impression that the book is the snakes of southern africa with a little addition,an addition that is not specified enough.
The snakes are allready cramped together,dwarf bitis species for example are put together as dwarf adders and are generally spoken of,snakes so special for the region merit it to be seperated into species instead of being piled together.
The lizard chapter was for me the most dissapointing part. All the lizards (few exeptions) are cramped together in little family groups and not described or shown seperated on the maps, a big mis as a lot of the reptiles of southern Africa have a small distribution range. Why i ask myself ? Mister Marais is capable of making great books as shown before,photowork is great,lay out,but not it is not enough in my opinion.
So if you want to know something about the reptiles of southern africa,this book is great. Do you need some expert advise on distribution,species etc...sorry this is not what you need.
better books excist: Snakes of southern africa,Chameleons of southern africa and the southern african tortoise book still rule....
I have no special knowledge in the field
I have made a few comments in the Comment section of the review by M G Kuijper-- "Nice but disappointing."
How extensive should a guide be ?
I trained in Hospital Internal Medicine. As Physican's we would have several general texts on Internal Medicine usually of 2--3 volumes, several sub special books on say Cardiology - heart, Gastroenterlogy- gut and Endocrinology - hormones ( I worked in a small hospital )
Then the computer revolution arrived and we got the massive UptoDate database.
If a patient asked for a book on say heart attacks or stokes I would recommend one set of books
If a final year medical student asked me what to read on Medicine I would recommend another set of books
If the person was a young doctor thinking about a career in Internal Medicine I would recommend others
If the person was studying to be physican I would recommend a selection ( our New Zealand System of Physican training follows on British lines ).One could carry on.
What one has to do is fit the book(s) to the need and knowledge base of the person.
All some people need is a simple well written book-- in many cases good illustrations and diagrams really help with the reader's information uptake.
For people to break into a field, there need to be these well written ,well illustrated books. They may not cover all the field but they may meet the need of the person. Some may go on and read more deeply
Set the bar to high then only those with specialist knowledge will be able to admire these reptiles. I for one am very pleased to own this book-- I also took the reviewer's advice and got the book on Snakes and the one on Chameleons.
New Zealand is one of the only countries that are Snake free.
For those of us who were born in, and have lived in New Zealand all our lives , we tend to get squimish about snakes. I only had a very brief look at the snake section. No doubt later on I will attempt to tackle it.
Introductory Chapthers on Diversity of Reptiles
Biology and Behaviour
Finding and Observing Reptiles
Seperate entries on Reptiles
Snakes. Blind snakes //. Worm Snakes. // Pythons. //. African Burrowing Snakes //.Colubrids, // Elapids // Vipers.
Lizards. Agama //. Chameleon. //. Monitors. // Lacertids //. Amphisbaenia // Skinks // Cordylids. // Plated Lizards. //. Gecko
Terrapins and Turtles::
Terrapins Side Necked, //. Soft Shelled.
Turtles etc. Leatherback Turtles. // Sea Turtles. // Tortoises
( sorry if there are copying mistakes but reviewing Kindle books is hard as you are constantly flipping between the Kindle Reader and the review page. )
I found this guide very helpful
There was a brief summary about setting. Day // Night // land. // Water etc
There were one or more pictures of the reptile
There was a description of the reptile covering such elements as appearance and identification features, habitat, reproduction
Usually only 1 or several species are discussed. The author's note the total number of species in each group.
I must admit that hat once you get to know the reptiles ( snakes not included in my case ) the more you want to know.
I got the Chameleon book which I have been a noting and now I need a good book on lizards in general.
I found this a very useful book. It gave me a leg up to start learning about reptiles.
Helpful descriptions with. Helpful photos.
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