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*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
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"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