Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog, Adder's Fork and Lizard's Leg: The Lore and Mythology of Amphibians and Reptiles

Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog, Adder's Fork and Lizard's Leg: The Lore and Mythology of Amphibians and Reptiles

by Marty Crump


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Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog, Adder's Fork and Lizard's Leg: The Lore and Mythology of Amphibians and Reptiles by Marty Crump

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226116006
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 12/22/2015
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 934,227
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 10.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Marty Crump is currently an adjunct professor of biology at Utah State and Northern Arizona Universities; she has been a herpetologist for more than forty-five years. For at least that long, she has been intrigued with the folklore of amphibians and reptiles. She is the author of In Search of the Golden Frog, Headless Males Make Great Lovers, and Sexy Orchids Make Lousy Lovers, all published by the University of Chicago Press, as well as the recent award-winning children’s book The Mystery of Darwin’s Frog. She lives in Logan, UT.

Table of Contents

1 Talk to the Animals
2 In the Beginning: Creation Myths
3 Snakes: “Good” or “Evil”?
4 Songs and Thunderbolts: Frogs, Snakes, and Rain
5 A Second Chance: Frogs, Snakes, and Rebirth
6 Of Love, Morals, and Death: Amphibians and Reptiles in Folktales
7 The Lighter Side: Trickster Tales and “How” and “Why” Stories
8 Tailless Wonders, Naked Serpents, and Fire Lizards: Perception of Amphibians through Folk Beliefs
9 Marshmallow-Eaters, Methuselahs, Spiny-Backs, Were-Lizards, and Protectors: Perception of Reptiles through Folk Beliefs
10 Move Aside, Viagra: Reptile Sexual Power
11 Pick Your Poison—Blood, Venom, Skin, or Bones: Folk Medicines
12 Like a Hell-Broth, Boil and Bubble: Witchcraft and Magic
13 “How ’bout Them Toad Suckers”: Other Ways We Use Amphibians and Reptiles
14 Singing Tuatara from Their Holes
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