Snakebit: Confessions of a Herpetologist

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Overview


Snakebit traces author Leslie Anthony's journey from a childhood fascination with snakes and amphibians through academic flirtation to professional association with some of the world's greatest herpetologists. In this book, he leads the reader on a rollicking ride through desert, swamp, jungle — and a few laboratories — to reveal the strange world of these cryptic creatures and the often-stranger fraternity that pursues them. Detailing his travels to New Orleans, Mexico, Fiji, Vietnam, Armenia, and Canada, ...
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Overview


Snakebit traces author Leslie Anthony's journey from a childhood fascination with snakes and amphibians through academic flirtation to professional association with some of the world's greatest herpetologists. In this book, he leads the reader on a rollicking ride through desert, swamp, jungle — and a few laboratories — to reveal the strange world of these cryptic creatures and the often-stranger fraternity that pursues them. Detailing his travels to New Orleans, Mexico, Fiji, Vietnam, Armenia, and Canada, Anthony offers a headlong, fun-for-all read packed with personalities, history, geography, culture, and adventure. Along the way, readers are served a generous helping of saccharine-free science, from modern evolutionary theory to uni-sexuality and biodiversity, always seasoned with more than a dash of humor.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Part memoir, part sociological investigation of herpetologist culture, Anthony explores what it means to be "snakebit" from a young age, having collected his first garter snake at age six, in the suburbs of Ontario. Chapters describe the adventures of the herpetology Ph.D.-turned-nature writer, including trips into the field to go "herping," Anthony's made-up term for "tromping around outdoors looking for reptiles." Focusing on his student days at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and Montreal's Redpath Museum, Anthony details his education and the ecological role of reptiles through time. A late chapter about a New Orleans convention of herpetologists and ichthyologists includes discussing of new research on deformed amphibians and current, baffling reptile extinctions. He also looks at taxonomic issues, fossil evidence behind reptilian evolution, and how the evolutionary relationships among birds, dinosaurs and crocodiles (all descended from the same ancient tetrapods) remain unexplained. As Anthony joins scientists in the field, his old passions frequently draw him out of his reporter role, happily landing him (and readers) back in the thick of things, collecting vipers in Armenia or king cobras in Vietnam. Unfortunately, this thorough, informative look at a fascinating field is often marred by prose as purple as an Amazonian snail-eater.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781553655275
  • Publisher: Greystone Books
  • Publication date: 6/1/2011
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,216,974
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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