The word amphibian comes from the Greek words meaning two lives. Amphibians are animals that, with only a few exceptions, spend part of their life in water, and part on land. Scientists so far have identified more than 4,500 species of amphibians. Frogs are probably the best-known amphibians.
Steve Grenard's latest book, Amphibians: Their Care and Keeping, is an essential reference for anyone interested in these fascinating creatures. Grenard is a herpetologist with more than thirty years experience with amphibians.
He starts with the evolutionary history of amphibians, a story that "began some 350 million years ago during the Devonian period." Today, they're the "most numerous of all living vertebrates, [and] have adapted to virtually every climatic and geographic locale, save for full-strength sea-water."
Grenard then describes the biology of amphibians, explaining how they eat, sleep, and reproduce. He also explains how they defend themselves against predators. He devotes one chapter to taxonomy, listing the three orders of amphibians: limbless (cecillians); tailed (salamanders and newts); and tailless (frogs and toads).
The second section of the book describes how to care for captive amphibians. He starts with how to chose the best animal and where you can find healthy specimens. He then provides information on how to provide the best home for your pet. He says that "amphibians are primarily for display, study and exhibit purposes--they should not be handled any more than is absolutely necessary." He describes the procedures to follow when handling is required, such as when cleaning the cage.
Most amphibians eat live foods. Grenard explains food preferences and offers tips on obtaining the correct foods. He also describes good health care, both to prevent a diseased pet, and the transmission of disease from animal to human.
He finishes with a discussion of conservation and legal protection. Some amphibians are already extinct, and others are endangered. Grenard also incudes listings of resources in the appendices, including national and international societies, finding a knowledgeable veterinarian, and habitat and equipment suppliers.
Amphibians: Their Care and Keeping is a must-have book for anyone contemplating sharing their home with these creatures.