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A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern and Central North America [Paperback]

Joseph T. Collins , Roger Conant , Roger Tory Peterson , Isabelle Hunt Conant , Tom R. Johnson
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 15 1998 Peterson Field Guides
This newly designed field guides features detailed descriptions of 595 species and subspecies. The 656 full-color illustrations and 384 drawings show key details for accurate identification. More than 100 color photographs and 333 color photographs and 333 color distribution maps accompany the species descriptions.

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A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern and Central North America + Peterson Field Guide to Mammals of North America
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About the Author

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Roger Tory Peterson, one of the world's greatest naturalists, received every major award for ornithology, natural science, and conservation as well as numerous honorary degrees, medals, and citations, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Peterson Identification System has been called the greatest invention since binoculars. These editions include updated material by Michael O'Brien, Paul Lehman, Bill Thompson III, Michael DiGiorgio, Larry Rosche, and Jeffrey A. Gordon.

Roger Conant was an American herpetologist, author, and conservationist.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

ALLIGATOR SNAPPING TURTLE Pls. 3, 9 Macroclemys temminckii IDENTIFICATION: 15–26 in. (38–66 cm); record 311?2 in. (80 cm). Weight 35–150 lbs. (16–68 kg); record 251 lbs. (113.9 kg) for a specimen maintained in captivity for nearly 50 years; 316 lbs. (143.3 kg) for a wild-caught example. Look for the huge head with its strongly hooked beaks, the prominent dorsal keels, and the extra row of scutes on each side of the carapace. Likely to be confused only with Snapping Turtles. Young (Pl. 3): Brown, shell exceedingly rough; tail very long. About 11?4–13?4 in. (3–4.4 cm) at hatching. This gigantic freshwater turtle, our largest and one of the largest in the world, often lies at bottom of lake or river with mouth held open. A curious pink process on floor of mouth resembles a worm, wriggles like one, and serves as a lure for fish. similar species: Snapping Turtle has a saw-toothed tail and a smaller head, and also lacks the extra row of scutes be-tween costals and marginals. range: Sw. Ga. and n. Fla. to e. Texas; north in Mississippi Valley to Kans., Iowa, and sw. Ky.; an isolated record in cen. Tenn.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Have Reference Jan. 3 2004
This book has been a faithfull field companion to countless herpers since the first edition was published in 1958. It is the best selling herp book of all time for a good reason. The text is both concise and comprehensive. The color plates are not only works of art but are designed to highlight markings that are useful for field identification. The images in most competitors are generally the most attractive color photos available. This makes a pretty book but is not always useful for identification. The book is also small enough to be unobtrusive in any backpack or large pant pocket. Many of the "field guides" being produced now are too large and heavy. My copy has stood up to years of abuse remarkably well. This version added excellent color photographs to compliment the original color plates. The one criticism I have is that this version spread the maps throughout the text. Previous editions had the maps bundled together in taxanomic order. Imagine you are trying to identify a skink in Missouri. In the previous editions you could flip open the book to the skink maps and immediately see which species are found in Missouri. In this edition you would have to flip through all of the skink species accounts to get that information. It does not seem like a big difference,unless you have ever attempted to hold onto a skink in Missouri. Overall I would have to characterize this book as a must have for any North American herper young or old.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bible of Amphibians and Reptiles of this region April 4 2001
This book was my bible as a boy. For anyone who enjoys watching small creatures in their natural habitats, the life-histories of amphibians and reptiles can be very enjoyable. This book is educational and extremely comprehensive. Even after moving to Europe, I kept my copy of this book, purely for sentimental value (none of the species from back home are to be found over here).
The book is written for those who want a lot of information, yet it is accessible for anyone from a very inquisitive boy or girl, through to university students who want to identify species in the wild. (I know, I used my copy from the age of ten to twenty-five on countless field trips and excursions.)
It's sturdy and affordable, especially considering the amount of information it contains. There are many b/w illustrations within the text showing specific identifying features, and a nice set of colour and black and white plates. More useful than Audubon, if you like these peaceful little animals this book will be with you for a long time.
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As a casual amateur watcher of frogs, turtles, snakes, and lizard-like beasts, I recommend the Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North American. The first part of the book consists of 48 colour plates, each illustrating about 10 similar species. Following the plates, the main part of the book consists of a very readable summary description of each species, together with a map showing its geographical range. Special line drawings illustrate particular features of some of the species, that help in their identification, and add to the reader's appreciation. The volume is well-indexed, and includes a glossary, and a reference list. It is sturdily bound in an attractive cover. I am writing this at a computer in a cold northern January, and I look forward to the spring and summer when I can sortie into the open spaces with my Guide, to enjoy a renewed appreciation of these marvellous creatures. Search as I might, I cannot find anything negative to write about this beautiful book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best! April 13 2004
There is no other guide which I would consult prior to herping trips. The color plates are fantastic and so well-drawn that I can recall seeing the animals depicted in the field. A knowledge of the arrangement of this guide will make this the most easily perused guide in the field as well.
Any budding herpetologist would be wise to study the book from cover to cover in order to share in the wisdom of Conant/Collins.
The field guide is easy to read (though technical details are necessarily prevalent) and can be understood by even the least herpetologically-inclined person.
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By A Customer
Beautiful color photographs, realistic paintings of each species illustrating diagnostic characteristics, and wonderful accounts on each form, from two of the most respected herpetologists to ever live. The color maps are not as good as the original black and white versions, but color photographs by the foremost authority on North American wildlife photography, more than make up for this. The maps are still better than those used in any field guide covering the same geographic area. Every kid should have at least one.
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