Boas and Pythons of the World Hardcover – Feb 18 2007
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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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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