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Boas and Pythons of the World [Hardcover]

Mark O'Shea

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Book Description

Feb. 18 2007

Few reptiles command more respect than the mighty boas and pythons. Prized for their size, relative docility, and spectacular coloration and patterning, they are the most dramatic snakes in the world. But the same snakes that many consider gentle giants--the Green Anaconda can exceed twelve yards in length--are also finely tuned killing machines. In Boas and Pythons of the World, renowned snake expert Mark O'Shea takes readers on an exciting continent-by-continent journey to look at these snakes in their native habitats. Stunning color photographs and intriguing stories from O'Shea's encounters with these snakes in the wild bring these reptiles to life.

There is a tremendous variety of boas and pythons. While the largest are measured in yards, the smallest, the Javelin Sand Boa, is no longer than thirty-two inches. And they inhabit a vast range of habitats on five continents, from stony desert to lush tropical forest. In more than one hundred detailed species accounts, Boas and Pythons of the World examines snakes as different as the cryptically patterned Madagascan Ground Boa and Australasia's beautiful Green Tree Python.

Although some of these snakes are capable of attacking and killing humans, boas and pythons are much more likely to be man's victims. Across the world, these snakes are retreating in the face of habitat destruction, hunting, and climate change. Addressing the dire risks they face, O'Shea discusses what can be done to help save what are among our most fascinating reptiles.

  • Snake expert Mark O'Shea's tour of the fascinating world of boas, pythons, and basal snakes--from primitive blindsnakes to the mighty anaconda
  • Dramatic accounts of O'Shea's personal encounters with these great snakes in their natural habitats--on five continents
  • Detailed information about the snakes' habitats and behaviors
  • Over 150 superb color photographs that capture the diverse beauty of more than 100 species, including rarely seen and endangered species
  • Two world maps showing the distribution of the various families of boas, pythons, and basal snakes

Frequently Bought Together

Boas and Pythons of the World + The New Encyclopedia of Snakes
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; 1 edition (Feb. 18 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691131007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691131009
  • Product Dimensions: 32.5 x 25.4 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 Kg
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #520,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The pythons and boas--the largest snakes in the world--command respect for both their size and their ability to constrict their prey. But some of their relatives in the other families of basal snakes (the earlier-evolved, nonvenomous snakes), the blind snakes, worm snakes, and thread snakes, are the smallest of the world's serpents. In a companion volume to his Venomous Snakes of the World (2005), herpetologist O'Shea examines these snakes in a geographic format, covering the Americas, Europe and Asia, Africa and Indian Ocean islands, and Australia and Pacific Coast islands. An introductory section discusses general snake biology, including evolution and anatomy, and also examines constriction, the myths and realities of giant snakes, and conservation. Species accounts follow in each geographic area, moving from the tiny blind snakes to the large boas and pythons. The Americas are home to the infamous boa constrictor and the world's heaviest snake, the green anaconda. Asia's star is the reticulated python, the world's longest snake, and Africa features that staple of the pet trade, the royal (or ball) python. Australia has probably the most photogenic species, the green tree python. These well-known species and their more obscure cousins are all magnificently illustrated with beautiful color photos, with short write-ups of their life histories, range, size, prey, and other natural history. This excellent book is highly recommended. Nancy Bent
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"These well-known species and their more obscure cousins are all magnificently illustrated with beautiful color photos, with short write-ups of their life histories, range, size, prey, and other natural history. This excellent book is highly recommended."--Nancy Bent, Booklist

"Arranged geographically, with a nice introduction regarding snake classifications, myths, and conservation, this book will either give you the willies or make you smile in delight."--Juneau Empire

"Colour photographs and clear text make this an informative and visually appealing compendium of constrictor habits and habitats."--Globe and Mail

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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars O'Shea,s BOAS AND PYTHONS May 9 2007
By Edward mednick - Published on Amazon.com
Mark O'Shea,s "Boas and Pythons" is 160 pages covering boas and pythons as well as other "basal" snakes, such as the blindsnakes, closer in evolutionary terms to the lizards from whom snakes are derived. The coffee-table sized volume examines these in their geographical categories ("The Americas", Australasia and the Pacific Ocean Islands"), etc. The first part of the volume briefly describes snake evolution, anatomy, internal organ structure, diversity, the place in the suborder serpentes of the snakes described and their families. The author goes on to the subject of constriction and a discussion of snake size, myths about snakes and snakes as maneaters.

This book is directed at the amateur with an interest in herpetology, perhaps, someone whose interest in snakes stems from having watched some of the Mr. O'Shea,s TV episodes. A minimum of technical terminology is used, descriptions being clear and understandable to non-professionals. THe book is richly illustrated with photographs of most of the species. After each species is discussed, i.e., the discovery history, scale numbers, color variation and other information, the author provides a final paragraph briefly summarizing range, size, habitat, prey, egg-laying(number of eggs) or live birth and similar species. A four page index and two page bibliography for further reading appear at the end of the book. An interesting feature throughout the text are italicized paragraphs quoting the personal field experiences of O'Shea and other herpetologists with some of the snakes described.

Maps are printed on the inside front and rear covers, sketching the world's continents with colored outlines of the ranges of the families covered in O'Shea's book. One drawback to this feature is that the author, in referring to islands and nations within a species range, does not provide a detailed-enough map to locate these, i.e., the Sunda Islands. Most readers would have to refer to a world atlas to determine where these are found.

Nevertheless, O'Shea does a fine job informing and stimulating the interest of non-professionals in these families of snakes and in herpetology, in general.
5.0 out of 5 stars boa & pythons Jan. 27 2014
By Thomas A. Carlton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great books! I use this book to train and identify wild escape snakes in the Everglades and during Search & Rescue operations!
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! Nov. 16 2011
By Terzula - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Mark O'shea knows his reptiles. He is one of the pioneers of herpetology and this is a handy book for lovers of constrictors large and small. It covers a wide range of locality-spefic species and sub-species. Great info, lots of color photos and very well written. A nice addition to anyone interrested in animals and specifically constrictors.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but photos are doctored July 6 2012
By wild_cat_enthusiast - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As with Mr O'Shea's other book "Venomous Snakes of the World", it is a good buy - nice pictures and adequate information.

However, most of the pictures are doctored to some degree. That is to say the photos have been edited to make them look nicer. Why not just keep it real instead of playing around with the colors??? One of my pet peeves...

Having said that - I'd still say this book is one of the best for it's price tag. Worth checking out.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My review about this magazine Aug. 6 2010
By Dino - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I liked this magazine because here in Brazil we have nothing on this literature, unfortunately.

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