Book reviews:    Snakes and other reptiles of southern Africa


Title
Snakes and other reptiles of southern Africa
Author
Bill Branch
ISBN
1 86825 575 1
Edition
Second edition 1994
Publisher
Struik Publishers
Pages
326
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Another book from South Africa in the Field Guide series by Struik. This one by Bill Branch covers most of the 400 species of reptiles found in southern Africa. It is a very comprehensive and good guide book on this subject. It is not intended just for identification, although it serves this purpose very well. Besides identification this book will also help you to learn more about each individual species.

The book starts with an introduction about the reptile live in southern Africa and a desciption of the different climate zones and habitats. Then in the first part of the book each species is described in detail. There is a distribution map for each species. Besides identifation there is also a paragraph about Biology and breeding, Habitat and Range. Where applicabale also all subspecies are described. All venomous snakes have detailed information about their venom.

The second half of the book has 96 color plates with more than 500 full colour photographs clearly showing all species. The photographs are very good quality and are very helpfull in identifaction.

Bill Branch is born in London and got a PhD from the university of Southampton. Since 1971 he is living in South Africa, where he is the herpetologist for the Port Elizabeth museum. He is one of the leading authorities on southern african reptiles and has published numerous scientific and popular articles on reptiles.

Conclusion: If you are looking for a good field guide on reptiles in southern africa, look no further. This book gives you great photographs for easy identification. And much more also lots of detailed information on each species. The book is not only suitable for South Africa but is equally suitable for all other countries in the region. I have used this book very thoroughly during my field guide training in South Africa and it has never let me down. All the information I wanted to find, was in the book. This is a book I can really advise.

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