There’s no sound quite like it, or as viscerally terrifying: the ominous rattle of the timber rattlesnake. It’s a chilling shorthand for imminent danger, and a reminder of the countless ways that nature can suddenly snuff us out.
Yet most of us have never seen a timber rattler. Though they’re found in thirty-one states, and near many major cities, in contemporary America timber rattlesnakes are creatures mostly of imagination and innate fear.
Ted Levin aims to change that with America’s Snake, a portrait of the timber rattlesnake, its place in America’s pantheon of creatures and in our own frontier history—and of the heroic efforts to protect it against habitat loss, climate change, and the human tendency to kill what we fear. Taking us from labs where the secrets of the snake’s evolutionary history are being unlocked to far-flung habitats whose locations are fiercely protected by biologists and dedicated amateur herpetologists alike, Levin paints a picture of a fascinating creature: peaceable, social, long-lived, and, despite our phobias, not inclined to bite. The timber rattler emerges here as emblematic of America and also, unfortunately, of the complicated, painful struggles involved in protecting and preserving the natural world.
A wonderful mix of natural history, travel writing, and exemplary journalism, America’s Snake is loaded with remarkable characters—none more so than the snake at its heart: frightening, perhaps; endangered, certainly; and unquestionably unforgettable.
The product of fifteen years of work by top herpetologists, this book is a comprehensive examination of the amphibians and reptiles of Arkansas, featuring over 136 species and subspecies. With over five hundred four-color photos, line drawings, and over one hundred maps, this user-friendly book will become the definitive text on the subject.
World renowned for its biological diversity and model conservation system, Costa Rica is home to a wide variety of amphibians and reptiles, from the golden toad to the scorpion lizard and the black-headed bushmaster. Jay M. Savage has studied these fascinating creatures for more than forty years, and in The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica he provides the most comprehensive, up-to-date treatment of their biology and evolution ever produced.
Savage begins with detailed discussions of the natural and cultural history of Costa Rica, setting the stage for a detailed treatment of each of the 396 species of amphibians and reptiles that may be found there. Each species account synthesizes and analyzes everything that is known about the animal's anatomy, behavior, geographic distribution, systematics, and evolutionary history and provides keys for identifying amphibians and reptiles in the field. In addition to distribution maps and systematic and morphological illustrations, the book includes color photographs of almost every known species, many taken by the distinguished nature photographers Michael and Patricia Fogden.
Because Costa Rica has played, and continues to play, a pivotal role in the study of tropical biology as well as in the development of ecotourism and ecoprospecting, and because more than half of the amphibians and reptiles in Costa Rica are also found elsewhere in Central America, The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica will be an essential book for a wide audience of nature lovers, naturalists, ecotourists, field biologists, conservationists, and government planners.
The revised edition of this well-loved guide is the essential reference for the identification of amphibians and reptiles in the Great Lakes region. Fully updated treatments of over 70 species feature detailed information on the distribution, habitat, behavior, and life history of these fascinating animals. This edition includes all new distribution maps as well as 90 additional color photographs showing close-ups of distinguishing features, common color phases, and different metamorphic stages. A thorough introduction provides a wealth of information on the evolution, natural history, classification, and conservation of these animals and examines changing Great Lakes ecosystems and their impact on herpetological diversity. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region is a must-have resource for teachers, students, naturalists, professional biologists, and anyone else with an interest in this region’s ecology.
This study analyzes the ecological distributions of reptiles and amphibians in southern Tamaulipas of northeastern Mexico. Observations are confined to a small, though topographically complex, section of the Sierra Madre Oriental to enable a more careful definition of zonal distribution than would be possible had the same amount of fieldwork been expended in a larger geographical unit. Geology, climate, and vegetation are environmental features of primary concern to the animal ecologist, and this study discusses each of these in turn. Such information should clarify the environmental basis for certain distribution patterns both throughout eastern Mexico and, locally, in the Gomez Farias region. In addition it should be useful in comparing this with other peritropical areas.
With over 7,000 known species, frogs display a stunning array of forms and behaviors. A single gram of the toxin produced by the skin of the Golden Poison Frog can kill 100,000 people. Male Darwin’s Frogs carry their tadpoles in their vocal sacs for sixty days before coughing them out into the world. The Wood Frogs of North America freeze every winter, reanimating in the spring from the glucose and urea that prevent cell collapse.
The Book of Frogs commemorates the diversity and magnificence of all of these creatures, and many more. Six hundred of nature’s most fascinating frog species are displayed, with each entry including a distribution map, sketches of the frogs, species identification, natural history, and conservation status. Life-size color photos show the frogs at their actual size—including the colossal seven-pound Goliath Frog. Accessibly written by expert Tim Halliday and containing the most up-to-date information, The Book of Frogs will captivate both veteran researchers and amateur herpetologists.
As frogs increasingly make headlines for their troubling worldwide decline, the importance of these fascinating creatures to their ecosystems remains underappreciated. The Book of Frogs brings readers face to face with six hundred astonishingly unique and irreplaceable species that display a diverse array of adaptations to habitats that are under threat of destruction throughout the world.
For millennia, humans have regarded snakes with an exceptional combination of fascination and revulsion. Some people recoil in fear at the very suggestion of these creatures, while others happily keep them as pets. Snakes can convey both beauty and menace in a single tongue flick and so these creatures have held a special place in our cultures. Yet, for as many meanings that we attribute to snakes—from fertility and birth to sin and death—the real-life species represent an even wider array of wonders. The Book of Snakes presents 600 species of snakes from around the world, covering nearly one in six of all snake species. It will bring greater understanding of a group of reptiles that have existed for more than 160 million years, and that now inhabit every continent except Antarctica, as well as two of the great oceans.
This volume pairs spectacular photos with easy-to-digest text. It is the first book on these creatures that combines a broad, worldwide sample with full-color, life-size accounts. Entries include close-ups of the snake’s head and a section of the snake at actual size. 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 herpetoculturists 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 suborder Serpentes.
“Tick, tock, tick, tock.” Thanks to Peter Pan, this sound, if heard near water, means run: a hungry crocodile is on its way. J. M. Barrie isn’t fully to blame for spreading the word that crocodiles are our enemies, or at least the enemies of one-handed pirates—innumerable songs, stories, and legends have characterized these reptiles as a symbol of pitiless predation and insatiable appetite. Tracking twenty-three crocodilian species from India and Egypt to Africa, Australia, and beyond, Crocodile advocates that we do a complete one-eighty in our views of these magnificent creatures.
Dan Wylie traces the crocodile in myth, art, and literature, demonstrating that though we commonly associate the reptiles with ferocity and deceit, they have also often been respected and revered in human history. Discussing how crocodiles were all but wiped out in the middle of the twentieth century by hunters and skin traders and are now making a comeback, he reveals that, as apex predators, they are today an increasingly important indicator of the health of an ecosystem and may outlive humans like they did dinosaurs. Presenting a concise, cogent case for why we should respect these fearsome animals, this beautifully illustrated volume is a tribute to one of the world’s ultimate survivors.
A new edition of a classic on a beloved turtle species.
She’s the mascot for the University of Maryland’s sports teams and her ancestors were nearly driven to extinction by Victorians who indulged in turtle soup. But as she buries herself in the mud every night to sleep, the diamondback terrapin knows none of this. The size of a dinner plate and named for the beautiful concentric rings on her shell, she can live at least forty years and is the only turtle in North America who can live in brackish and salty waters. Several diamondback populations have been the subjects of ecological studies in recent years, but most of that information was buried in scientific literature and various state and federal reports—until this book.
Synthesizing all known research on this remarkable animal, Diamonds in the Marsh is the first full-scale natural history of the diamondback terrapin. Focusing on the northern diamondback, Barbara Brennessel examines its evolution, physiology, adaptations, behavior, growth patterns, life span, genetic diversity, land use, reproduction, and early years. She also discusses its relationship to humans, first as an important food source from colonial times through the nineteenth century, and more recently as a cultural icon, frequently depicted in Native American art and design. She concludes with a look at contemporary hazards to the terrapin and urges continued study of this marvelous creature. Updated with a new introduction by Brennessel, and with a foreword by Bob Prescott, former executive director of Massachusett’s Audubon Wellfleet Bay Sanctuary, Diamonds of the Marsh is perfect for those interested in the conservation of a species.
In these essays that survey the burgeoning field of tropical herpetology, former students and associates pay tribute to Jay Savage's four decades of mentoring. The result is a book unlike any other available in tropical herpetology. Covering a wide array of subjects, Ecology and Evolution in the Tropics is the first book in more than two decades to broadly review research on tropical amphibians and reptiles. A tribute to Savage and an invaluable addition to the herpetological literature, this work will be cited for years to come.
Through its emphasis on recent research, its many summary tables, and its bibliography of more than 4,000 entries, this first modern, synthetic treatment of comparative amphibian environmental physiology emerges as the definitive reference for the field. Forty internationally respected experts review the primary data, examine current research trends, and identify productive avenues for future research.
Frogs are worshipped for bringing nourishing rains, but blamed for devastating floods. Turtles are admired for their wisdom and longevity, but ridiculed for their sluggish and cowardly behavior. Snakes are respected for their ability to heal and restore life, but despised as symbols of evil. Lizards are revered as beneficent guardian spirits, but feared as the Devil himself.
In this ode to toads and snakes, newts and tuatara, crocodiles and tortoises, herpetologist and science writer Marty Crump explores folklore across the world and throughout time. From creation myths to trickster tales; from associations with fertility and rebirth to fire and rain; and from the use of herps in folk medicines and magic, as food, pets, and gods, to their roles in literature, visual art, music, and dance, Crump reveals both our love and hatred of amphibians and reptiles—and their perceived power. In a world where we keep home terrariums at the same time that we battle invasive cane toads, and where public attitudes often dictate that the cute and cuddly receive conservation priority over the slimy and venomous, she shows how our complex and conflicting perceptions threaten the conservation of these ecologically vital animals.
Sumptuously illustrated, Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog, Adder’s Fork and Lizard’s Leg is a beautiful and enthralling brew of natural history and folklore, sobering science and humor, that leaves us with one irrefutable lesson: love herps. Warts, scales, and all.
Charlotte Sleigh Reaktion Books, 2012 Library of Congress QL668.E2S57 2012 | Dewey Decimal 597.89
As Kermit the Frog taught us—it’s not easy being green. With good reason, since you’ll likely be dissected in biology class or have your legs gobbled up by a hungry Frenchman. And yet, these slimy creatures have captured our imagination, appearing in everything from fairytales about frog princes to Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Jeremy Fisher and Arnold Lebel’s Frog and Toad. They even appear as a tasty chocolate snack in the Harry Potter series. Examining the significant role played by this slippery amphibian in art, literature, and popular culture, Charlotte Sleigh gives us an entertaining—and sometimes shocking—account of this both loved and misunderstood animal.
Weaving the natural history of the frog together with its mythology, this witty book answers questions like why frogs have been so prominent in science throughout the years and what place the frog holds in religion. Sleigh also explores the frog’s many faces—the devilish and comic, sophisticated and chauvinist, the revolting and delicious. Featuring many images of frogs from nature and culture, Frog—the fiftieth entry into the Animal series—will draw pet owners, frog-leg devourers, and seekers of princes alike.
Frogs and toads have become canaries in the coal mine when it comes to conservation, as the discovery of malformed frogs has brought increased attention to global habitat loss, declining biodiversity, and environmental pollution. Midwestern species of frogs and toads—already declining due to habitat loss from agriculture—have been greatly affected by this worldwide phenomenon. VanDeWalle includes a complete description of each species along with distinguishing characteristics for three subspecies, information about range and habitat preferences, diet, types of calls, and breeding season.
Trundling along in essentially the same form for some 220 million years, turtles have seen dinosaurs come and go, mammals emerge, and humankind expand its dominion. Is it any wonder the persistent reptile bested the hare? In this engaging book physiologist Donald Jackson shares a lifetime of observation of this curious creature, allowing us a look under the shell of an animal at once so familiar and so strange.
Here we discover how the turtle’s proverbial slowness helps it survive a long, cold winter under ice. How the shell not only serves as a protective home but also influences such essential functions as buoyancy control, breathing, and surviving remarkably long periods without oxygen, and how many other physiological features help define this unique animal. Jackson offers insight into what exactly it’s like to live inside a shell—to carry the heavy carapace on land and in water, to breathe without an expandable ribcage, to have sex with all that body armor intervening.
Along the way we also learn something about the process of scientific discovery—how the answer to one question leads to new questions, how a chance observation can change the direction of study, and above all how new research always builds on the previous work of others. A clear and informative exposition of physiological concepts using the turtle as a model organism, the book is as interesting for what it tells us about scientific investigation as it is for its deep and detailed understanding of how the enduring turtle “works.”
Our storybooks are full of lizards, but we usually call them something else—dragons, serpents, dinosaurs or monsters. These stories vastly increase their size, bestow wings upon them, make them exhale flame, and endow them with magical powers. Lizards stimulate the human imagination unlike most other animals, despite generally being small, soundless, and hidden from sight in burrows, treetops, and crevices. They can blend into a vast range of environments, from rocky coasts to deserts to rain forests. Their fluid motion can make us think of water, while their curvilinear form suggests vegetation. Their stillness suggests death, while their sudden arousal is like resurrection.
This delightful book gives lizards their due, demonstrating how the story of lizards is interwoven with the history of human imagination. Boria Sax considers the lizard as a sensual being—a symbol, a myth, a product of evolution and an aesthetic form. He describes the diversity of lizards and traces the representation of the reptile in cultures including those of pre-conquest Australia, the Quiché Maya, Mughal India, and central Africa. Illustrated throughout with beguiling images, Lizard is a unique and often surprising introduction to a popular but little-understood reptile.
Lizards and Snakes of Alabama
Craig Guyer, Mark A. Bailey, and Robert H. Mount University of Alabama Press, 2019 Library of Congress QL666.L2G895 2018 | Dewey Decimal 597.9509761
An up-to-date and comprehensive herpetological guide to Alabama
Lizards and Snakes of Alabama is the most comprehensive taxonomy gathered since Robert H. Mount’s seminal 1975 volume on the reptiles and amphibians of Alabama. This richly illustrated guide provides an up-to-date summary of the taxonomy and life history of lizards and snakes native to, or introduced to, the state.
Alabama possesses one of the most species-rich biotas in north temperate areas and this richness is reflected in some groups of lizards, such as skinks, and especially in snakes. The authors examine all known species within the state and describe important regional variations in each species, including changes in species across the many habitats that comprise the state. Significant field studies, especially of Alabama’s threatened and endangered species, have been performed and are used to inform discussion of each account.
The life-history entry for each species is comprised of scientific and common names, full-color photographs, a morphological description, discussion of habits and life cycle, and a distribution map depicting the species range throughout the state, as well as notes on conservation and management practices. The illustrated taxonomic keys provided for families, genera, species, and subspecies are of particular value to herpetologists.
This extensive guide will serve as a single resource for understanding the rich natural history of Alabama by shedding light on an important component of that biodiversity. Accessible to all, this volume is valuable to both the professional herpetologist and the general reader interested in snakes and lizards.
In 2005 Kate Jackson ventured into the remote swamp forests of the northern Congo to collect reptiles and amphibians. Her camping equipment was rudimentary, her knowledge of Congolese customs even more so. She knew how to string a net and set a pitfall trap, but she never imagined the physical and cultural difficulties that awaited her.
Culled from the mud-spattered pages of her journals, Mean and Lowly Things reads like a fast-paced adventure story. It is Jackson’s unvarnished account of her research on the front lines of the global biodiversity crisis—coping with interminable delays in obtaining permits, learning to outrun advancing army ants, subsisting on a diet of Spam and manioc, and ultimately falling in love with the strangely beautiful flooded forest.
The reptile fauna of the Republic of Congo was all but undescribed, and Jackson’s mission was to carry out the most basic study of the amphibians and reptiles of the swamp forest: to create a simple list of the species that exist there—a crucial first step toward efforts to protect them. When the snakes evaded her carefully set traps, Jackson enlisted people from the villages to bring her specimens. She trained her guide to tag frogs and skinks and to fix them in formalin. As her expensive camera rusted and her Western soap melted, Jackson learned what it took to swim with the snakes—and that there’s a right way and a wrong way to get a baby cobra out of a bottle.
Finding a salamander in the woodlands rates as one of the most enjoyable surprises of an early morning hike. Active mainly at night, these secretive, shiny, lizardlike amphibians often glow like jewels when found under the logs or rocks that many prefer. This colorful addition to Iowa’s popular series of laminated guides—the twenty-fifth in the series—will inform both amateur and professional naturalists about twenty-five species of salamanders found in the Upper Midwest states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, South Dakota, North Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri.
Common mudpuppies and lesser sirens spend their entire lives in water, never losing the gills that they developed as larvae; the lungless four-toed salamander distracts predators by detaching its tail; the eastern newt discourages predators by secreting poisonous chemicals from its skin; the flat-bodied hellbender, which can reach twenty-nine inches in length, breathes by absorbing oxygen through the folds of its skin. These, plus the well-named slimy, zigzag, tiger, and other salamanders in this guide, are now threatened by loss of habitat, pollution, and a deadly fungus.
Terry VanDeWalle provides a complete description of each species as well as distinguishing characteristics for twenty-one subspecies, from the striking orange and yellow spots of the spotted salamander to the lichenlike patches of the green salamander to the prominent rounded head of the mole salamander. He also includes information about the salamanders’ range and habitat preferences, from twilight zones of limestone caves and crevices to seepages and spring-fed bogs. His comparisons of similar species and his comprehensive key are most helpful for identifying individuals in the field. Superb photographs by Suzanne Collins make this new guide the perfect companion for outdoor expeditions in all kinds of moist environments.
A snake smells with its tongue, hears with its flesh, and breathes under the sand with one lung; it can copulate for days with one snake or with fifty at once; it has infrared radar; and it can induce spontaneous bleeding if threatened. With all these qualities, it is easy to see how snakes have such varied associations in cultures around the world: while celebrated in tattoos and tales, and for medicinal benefits, snakes are also so universally feared that they constantly endure intense persecution and rarely enjoy protected rights. Drake Stutesman explores here in Snake the fascinating natural history of the maligned serpentine.
Stutesman examines a wide range of sources to investigate the complex and widespread symbolism the snake has inspired, including the serpent's temptation of Eve in the Bible, Kaa in The Jungle Book, the Chinese zodiac, Indian snake charmers, and the Hollywood film Anaconda. She looks at the role snakes have played in human culture and science, from snake cuisine and the use of venom in medicine to the intriguing history of snake symbolism in art, architecture, cinema, and even clothing. Richly illustrated and written in an engaging style, Snake is an invaluable resource for snake enthusiasts and scholars, as well as for all who love, admire, or fear this fascinating and enduring animal.
Twice a year, spring and fall, numerous species of reptiles and amphibians migrate between the LaRue–Pine Hills’ towering limestone bluffs and the Big Muddy River’s swampy floodplain in southern Illinois. Snakes, especially great numbers of Cottonmouths, give the road that separates these distinct environments its name. Although it is one of the best places in the world to observe snakes throughout the year, spring and fall are the optimal times to see a greater number and variety. Among the many activities that snakes can be observed doing are sunning themselves on rocks, lying in grasses, sheltering under or near fallen tree limbs, or crossing the road. In this engaging guide, author Joshua J. Vossler details what to expect and how to make the most of a visit to what is known around the world as Snake Road.
Vossler catalogs twenty-three native snake species by both common and scientific names, lists identifying features, and estimates the probability of spotting them. Throughout this book, stunning color photographs of each species’ distinctive physical characteristics enable identification by sight only, an important feature, since Illinois law prohibits the handling, harming, or removal of reptiles and other wildlife on and around the road. Since snakes are visually variable—individual snakes of the same species can differ tremendously in size, color, and pattern—photographs of as many variations as possible are included. To aid in identification, eleven sets of photographs contrast the features of similar species and point out how and why these snakes may be easily confused. Visitors can keep track of the snakes they have identified by using the checklist in the back of the book. A list of recommended reading provides sources of additional information about snakes in southern Illinois and beyond.
From the rare and docile massasauga, which relies on camouflage to remain unnoticed, to the more familiar bullsnake, which defends itself by hissing loudly and vibrating its tail from an S-shaped striking position, to the eastern racer, often seen crawling at more than three miles an hour during daytime, snakes are beautiful animals with habits both fascinating and beneficial to humans. Their relatives the lizards, most of which are more easily seen and identified, exhibit similarly fascinating behavior. This colorful addition to our series of laminated guides informs both amateur and professional herpetologists about twenty-seven species of snakes and six species of lizards in the Upper Midwest states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, South Dakota, North Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri.
Terry VanDeWalle provides a complete description of each species, both adult and young, as well as distinguishing characteristics for thirty-two subspecies of snakes and two subspecies of lizards: length, color, head and neck patterns, scales, and so on. Also included is information about habitat preferences: forests, wet meadows, and sand prairies, for example. Most helpful for identifying snakes and lizards in the field are his comparisons of similar species and his comprehensive key.
Superb photographs by Suzanne Collins of adult and, when needed for identification, young snakes and lizards make this guide the perfect companion for hikers in all kinds of environments whenever a snake ripples across your path or a lizard darts into the underbrush.
In 1990 an international group of biologists, meeting to discuss rumors of declines in the number of amphibians, discovered that amphibian disappearances once thought to be a local problem were not—the problem was global. And, even more disturbing, amphibians were disappearing not just from areas settled by humans but from regions of the world once believed to be pristine. Under the mantle of the Declining Amphibian Populations Task Force, this timely book addresses three fundamental questions for the midwestern United States: are amphibians declining; if so, why; and, if so, what can be done to halt these losses?
In the Midwest—defined here as Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan—there can be no doubt that the number of salamanders and frogs has declined with Euro-American settlement and the conversion to an agriculturally dominated landscape. Habitat loss and landscape fragmentation have been major factors in this decline, as have aquacultural uses of natural wetlands. Bullfrog introductions have eliminated populations of native amphibians, and collecting for the biological supply trade has reduced the number of individuals within many populations. The goal of the forty-two essays in this well-documented, well-illustrated book is to put between two covers all we know now about the status of midwestern amphibians. By doing this, the editor has created a readily accessible historical record for future studies.
Organized into sections covering landscape patterns and biogeography, species status, regional and state status, diseases and toxins, conservation, and monitoring and applications, this landmark volume will serve as the foundation for amphibian conservation in the Midwest.
Their Blood Runs Cold is entertaining, informative reading that not only enhances our understanding of a unique group of animals, but also provides genuine insight into the mind and character of a research scientist.
Whit Gibbons possesses the rare talent of conveying the challenge and excitement of scientific inquiry. A research ecologist who specializes in the study of reptiles and amphibians, he gives accounts of work in the field that are as readable as good short stories.
From the dangers of being chased by an angry rattlesnake to the exhilaration of discovering a previously undescribed species, Gibbons brings to life the everyday experiences of the herpetologist as he chases down lizards, turtles, snakes, alligators, salamanders, and frogs in their natural habitats. With essays like “Turtles May Be Slow but They’re 200 Million Years Ahead of Us” and “How to Catch an Alligator in One Uneasy Lesson,” Their Blood Runs Cold both entertains and informs.
The thirtieth anniversary edition of Their Blood Runs Cold features a new prologue and epilogue, additions that address changes in the taxonomy and study of reptiles and amphibians that have occurred since the publication of the original edition and offer suggestions for further reading that highlight the explosion of interest in the topic.
Today, small populations of timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) quietly inhabit parts of Rutland County in Vermont, and Warren, Washington, and Essex counties in New York. Because the species is endangered, the exact locations of established dens in this area are a closely guarded secret. Insider, naturalist, and author Jon Furman has devoted years to the study of the snake’s past and present range, its habitat and biology, the period in Vermont and upstate New York history during which timber rattlesnakes were ruthlessly hunted for a bounty, and the outlook for this severely threatened species in both states. Soundly anchored in the latest scientific data, Furman proffers an accessible and engaging account of contemporary fieldwork and first-person interviews with herpetologists and old-time bounty hunters. For expert and lay readers interested in snakes and reptiles, northeastern fauna and natural history, conservation, and endangered species, this volume clearly explicates the timber rattlesnake’s biology as well as what happens and what to do when one bites. It also explores the troubling decline of the northeastern population caused by bounty hunting between the 1890s and the early 1970s, other past and present threats to the species’ survival, and what measures are being taken—and additional ones that must be taken—to ensure that timber rattlesnakes survive and thrive in the northeast. Historical and contemporary illustrations bring these reptiles and their world to life. Timber Rattlesnakes in Vermont & New York shines a new light on a maligned and misunderstood species.
Peter Young Reaktion Books, 2004 Library of Congress QL666.C584Y68 2003 | Dewey Decimal 597.924
Tortoise is the first cultural history of these long-lived and intriguing creatures, which have existed for more than 200 million years. The book covers tortoises worldwide, in evolution, myth and reality, ranging across paleontology, natural history, myth, folklore, art forms, literature, veterinary medicine and trade regulations.
The tortoise has been seen as an Atlas-like creature supporting the world, as the origin of music and as a philosophical paradox. Peter Young examines the tortoise in all these guises, as well as a military tactical formation, its exploitation by mariners and others for food, as ornament (in tortoiseshell), as a motif in art, and in space research. He looks at the movement away from exploitation to conservation and even the uses of the tortoise in advertising. As well as examples of species, illustrations from around the world include monuments, sculptures, coins, stamps, objets d’art, drawings, cartoons, advertisements and X-rays.
The book will appeal not only to tortoise lovers but also to readers of cultural histories around the world.
"Peter Young’s Tortoise, on the other claw, can be warmly recommended."—Jonathan Bate, The Times
As ancient creatures that once shared the Earth with dinosaurs, turtles have played a crucial role in maintaining healthy terrestrial and marine ecosystems for more than one hundred million years. While it may not set records for speed on land, the turtle is exceptional at distance swimming and deep diving, and some are gifted with astounding longevity. In human thought, the animal’s ties to creativity, wisdom, and warfare stretch back to the world’s earliest written records. In Turtle, Louise M. Pryke celebrates the slow and unassuming manner of this doughty creature, which provides a living model of endurance and efficiency. In the increasingly fast-paced world of the twenty-first century, it has never been more important to consider the natural and cultural history of this remarkable animal.
From the hefty alligator snapping turtle—the largest freshwater turtle in North America and the only turtle in the world with a predatory lure in its mouth—to the wood turtle, which uses “worm stomping” to catch earthworms, to the lovely ornate box turtle, which closes its shell completely for self-defense, the slow-but-sure turtle is an intriguing reptile. Terry VanDeWalle provides a complete description of each species, both male and female, along with distinguishing characteristics for fourteen subspecies, information about range and habitat, and natural history notes about behavior, hibernation, diet, and nesting. Two panels devoted to hatchlings provide short descriptions of the young of each species as well as photographs of some commonly seen young turtles.
Turtles of Alabama
Craig Guyer, Mark A. Bailey, and Robert H. Mount University of Alabama Press, 2015 Library of Congress QL666.C5G89 2015 | Dewey Decimal 597.9209761
For nearly 200 million years, Earth has been occupied by reptiles—a lineage of terrestrial vertebrates that includes some, like birds, that have invaded the aerial environment, and others, like turtles, that have invaded aquatic environments. With thirty-nine known species, Alabama harbors more turtle species than any other state in the nation, and its Mobile River basin is the center of the world's greatest biodiversity in turtles, surpassing all other river systems around the globe, including the Amazon and the Nile. Turtles of Alabama documents that extraordinary wealth and presents each species in full, describing its physical appearance, habitat and range, behavior, conservation and management, and taxonomy.
In addition to providing sixty-five full-color photographs of juveniles and adults along with forty-two colorfully detailed distribution maps, this volume features an introductory section explaining the physiography, climate, and habitats of the state, and offers illustrated taxonomic keys for all the species considered, including the oceanic behemoths that lay their eggs on Alabama's gulf beaches and the lumbering gopher tortoise that provides safe haven for countless other animals and arthropods in its underground burrows of the Coastal Plain. With fine line drawings to highlight various distinguishing attributes of the animals, this volume is the definitive guide to the state’s fascinating and diverse turtle populations—freshwater, marine, and terrestrial.
Although they are notoriously slow-moving, turtles still survive on Earth because of their remarkable adaptations—an exterior shell for body protection, long lives, high reproductive output, stamina, and a capacity for doing without. Turtles are cold-blooded reptiles that were here long before mammals, and they're still around, continuing to adapt to many different habitats and ecological niches, still interbreeding, evolving, and speciating. Turtles of Alabama is a fitting celebration of that phenomenal variety and strength.