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.
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.
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.
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.
The Peterson Field Guide series are a must-have for cottagers, as they are perfect in identifying animals and learning their habits. This book is especially useful in identifying snakes, lizards, turtles, etc., and knowing what to do in case of a confrontation (for example, identifying a rattlesnake, and knowing how to be safe around them). Please buy this book, especially those who have a cottage. Even perusing through it every once in a while will really help you understand the environment you live in, and will help you take precautions, stay safe, and learn a LOT!
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.
Excellent guide, color plates are great aids for quicky identification as well as colored maps explaining range of each specie, it also explains details of each specie in a very detailed way and suggest many tips in order to recognize particular species. I own many guides and honestly this is part of my favorites and best guides, maybe you wont find anything better than this except for the Audubon Guides, considering the extensive color pictures on those... Sorry about my grammar, Im from Mexico.
A useful guide to help identify specimens. They profile similiar species in similar poses, very helpful. It doesn't offer as many species as the RTP guides, but then RTP guides don't show photos. I also suspect that the guide I have isn't as likely to handle weathering (mud/rain/etc) as well as the RTP bindings.
If you enjoy herping anywhere in eastern north america then this is definately the guide for you. Has every species listed with pictures, as well as all the information you would need in order to understand and find them.