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The Book of Snakes: A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred Species from around the World
by Mark O'Shea
University of Chicago Press, 2018
eISBN: 978-0-226-45942-4 | Cloth: 978-0-226-45939-4
Library of Congress Classification QL666.O6O74 2018
Dewey Decimal Classification 597.96

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY
ABOUT THIS BOOK
For millennia, humans have regarded snakes with an exceptional combination of fascination and revulsion. Some people recoil in fear at the very suggestion of a snake, while others keep sixty-pound Boa Constrictorsas pets. They were etched as hieroglyphics into stone and now appear as coiled pixels on our phones. And for as many meanings as we attribute to these creatures—from fertility and birth to sin and death—the real-life species present an even wider array of wonders.
The Book of Snakes presents 600 species of snakes from around the world, covering one in six of all snake species. It is one of the few books on these creatures that encompasses a broad, worldwide sample. It will bring greater understanding of a group of reptiles that have existed for over 60 million years, and that now inhabit every continent except Antarctica, and two of the great oceans. Not only have snakes adapted to live in a vast array of habitats and microhabitats, they have also evolved to prey on a vast array of their fellow inhabitants.
This volume pairs spectacular photos with easy-to-digest text. Entries include close-ups of the snake’s head and a segment of the snake at actual size—the tiny Texas Threadsnake fits atop a few words of text while a Green Anaconda (the heaviest snake in the world) spills off the page. The detailed images allow readers to examine the intricate scale patterns and rainbow of colors as well as special features like a cobra’s hood or a rattlesnake’s rattle. The text is written for laypeople and includes a glossary of frequently used terms.
Herpetologists and ophiophilists alike will delight in this collection, and even those with a more cautious stance on snakes will find themselves drawn in by the wild diversity of the Serpentes suborder.

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