Book reviews: Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa
|Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa|
|Chris and Tilde Stuart|
|1 86825 519 0|
|Second edition, second impression, 1995|
|Struik Publishers Ltd, Capetown SA|
|Order this book from Amazon|
This book has been and still is my principal mammal guide on trips to Africa. I bought it on my first trip to South Africa. Every guide I met had this book in his little safari library to hand out to the tourists. Its also available in nearly every bookstore in South Africa.
It is a comprehensive and easy to read field guide about all mammals in southern Africa. Although it does focus on species found in southern Africa it is also usuable for trips to east Africa. But species endemic to eastern Africa will of course not be presented in the book. The book does not just focus on the big five. Besides the more obvious mammal species, a big part of the book describes the smaller species of the orders Insectivora (e.g. shrews and moles), Rodentia (squirrels, rats and mice), Chiroptera (bats) and Lagomorpha (hares and rabbits). Included are also marine mammals like: whales, dolphins, seals and dugong.
The book starts with an introduction about the southern African eco systems, followed by introductions of the different mammal families. All orders and families are systematically described in short in an easy to understand way.
The biggest part of the book consist of detailed species desciptions. Each species is listed with english and scientific name, size and short identification. This is followed by a more detailed text divided into: description, distribution, habitat, behaviour, food, reproduction and some general information. There is also a distribution map and one or more colour photographs. Some species have extra b&w drawings.
As an example I have put a picture here of the pages about the families of Foxes, Jackal and Wild Dog. Photographs are good quality and easy to use for identification.
Conclusion: This is a great book to take with you on a safari trip in southern Africa, if you are interested in identifying the mammals and finding out more about them. It is not a full encyclopedia but it is a very good quality field guide, which does all it promises. Together with a field guide about birds, this should be the basic library for anyone going on a safari in southern Africa. If you use this book a lot, you might want to strengten the paper cover with adhesive plastic. Very much recommended.
You can order this book from Amazon directly.
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