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Mammals of North America: (Second Edition) (Princeton Field Guides) Paperback – November 29, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0691140926 ISBN-10: 0691140928 Edition: Second

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Product Details

  • Series: Princeton Field Guides
  • Paperback: 816 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Second edition (November 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691140928
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691140926
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Praise for the first edition: "Will be welcomed by amateur naturalists and field biologists."--Science

Praise for the first edition: "Makes all other field guides for mammals of the United States (exclusive of Hawaii) and Canada obsolete."--Jerry R. Choate, Journal of Mammalogy

Praise for the first edition: "Sets new standards in field guides. A must for any biological traveller to the US or Canada, as well as for residents."--Adrian Barnett, New Scientist

"Probably the easiest to use of the field guides to the mammals of North America."--Ian Palsen, Birdbooker Report

"When it comes to field guides, Princeton University Press has long held a position of honor and respect among both professional and amateur naturalists for consistently providing exceptional levels of accuracy and attention to detail. With its new and updated illustrations, revised identification information, and the addition of twenty recently recognized species to its contents, the new second edition of Mammals of North America by Roland Kays and Don Wilson more than upholds this well-earned reputation."--John Riutta, The Well-read Naturalist

"This is an excellent, handy field guide in the Princeton Field Guides series."--Robert Hoopes, Wildlife Activist

"This is a perfect guide for naturalists of all ages and skill levels. . . . [A] wonderfully compact and easy to use field guide."

"This is a truly indispensable guide for the experienced mammal watcher as well as a real treat to the novice. . . . With 112 color plates covering 462 species of North American mammals, the guide is up-to-date, accurate, handsome and handy. If you only have one reference to your local furry friends, be sure this one is on your book shelf."--Cathy Taibbi, Wildlife Conservation Examiner,

"Many people with a 'nose for nature' want to identify whatever they see and certainly for North America this would be the book to have in your pocket. . . . This book is aimed at both professional mammalogists and amateur naturalists and would be great for travellers."--Helen Ashton, Reference Reviews


Mammals of North America is a must for anyone really interested in properly identifying every animal that can be found on our continent. The text superbly highlights every characteristic needed for species identification. The latest range maps, shown on the facing page, confirm whether or not the species you think you have identified can be found where you are seeing your subject. The superb paintings of all the mammals have captured the very essence of the animals.
(Leonard Lee Rue III) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Sorry, but words are missing.
Kay Fuhrmann (Mr.)
The new guide book by Kays and Wilson is a great resource for identifying the mammals of North America.
Christopher Byrne
This book is a great reference and field guide with beautiful picture and very detailed information.
Noah F. Kays

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
I'd looked forward to this book for a long time, but now that it's here, I'm not so sure I'm going to get rid of my Burt and Grossenheider. My current favorites among the Rodentia--packrats and grasshopper mice--are painted so badly here as to be unrecognizable, as biologically accurate as Du"rer's rhinoceros but without anything like the artistic interest. What's really disappointing, though, is that with this book available, I can't imagine another mammal guide appearing for years to come.
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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Kay Fuhrmann (Mr.) on March 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
The long awaited new field guid is out and I was able to get a copy. The first up to date treatment of all 442 North American mammals lies in front of me. I'm involved in mustelid research for the last ten years and when the pre-announcement came out, saying that all relevant subspecies, geographical and sexual variation to be included it was a must for me to get a copy.
I think in a coloured field guide the painted plates are the most important and hence most discussable part of such a book. My mood after carefully checking the guide is a little bit neutral as I don't know if it is well done or a catastrophy due to unbelivable bad "art" included in parts. Two illustrators made a fantastic job. Both have their own differnt stile and I can't decide if one is the better. Todd Zalewski painted the Opossum, Armadillo, Porcupine, Sewellel, Muskrat, Beaver, Marmots and all the squirrel relatives except the Chipmunks as well as the vole-lemming relatives in a briliant, colourfull and sharp art. The impression of the faces of especially the rodents results in indepth studies of these mammals. Great in a word ! Elizabeth McClelland was responsible for Gophers, Pocket Mice, Kangaroo Rats and the Ungulates. Her paintings are less colourfull and less sharp in contrasts but are brilliant due to her exact way of leading the brush when creating fur structure. When looking into the painted eyes you could think her candidates will jump out of the plates emediately. Brilliant ! Her talent is especially shown by some painting of gophers which were painted from a slight forewart angle.
What is strongly influencing the complete result are plates which show the complete opposite. If you are interested in Hares and Rabbits, Pikas, Jumping Mice, Woodrats, Rats and Grasshopper Mice don't buy this book !
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By B. Moorhead on October 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm a retired biologist and have owned this book since it first came out in 2002. It's a fine, compact yet comprehensive treatment of the mammals of North America, with one rather glaring exception. Other than for the marine mammals, any animal larger than a hare covered in this book is illustrated (painted) in a surprisingly amateurish way with few exceptions, in my view, and hardly worthy of a major natural history publisher like Princeton. This includes the cats, dogs, bears and hoofed mammals. Many of the smaller mammals, including bats, are rather beautifully portrayed. I don't mean any of these as comments as snobbery, but more as "they simply don't look this way in life." So to me it's neither particularly useful, nor accurate, and certainly not pleasurable for those of us who have worked with some of these mammals, and know a bit about their biology and beauty firsthand to see them portrayed in such an awkward manner. I applaud the many useful technical details offered in such a compact, well-organized field guide, but at the same time have found it a continual annoyance every time I open it to have to ignore the many unattractive illustrations of so many animals...and can only hope that the text material is accurate enough to counter such inadequacies.

So it's rather uneven in this way and needs to be significantly improved in any new edition in my view. But I would definitely like to own that better illustrated edition. Yet, before I purchase such a new edition, would want to first scan through it and see if these larger mammals are in fact more knowledgeably and sensitively they occur in the wild and close at hand.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
Based on the favorable reviews I ordered this book and was anxious to see how it compared with the Peterson Field Guide on mammals which is the current standard. I was disappointed in this book and wonder if other people who give it 5-stars are familiar with the Peterson Guide. The Peterson Field Guide on Mammals provides more comprehensive information on each species and does a better job of explaining differences between similar species. It remains the standard and you would be advised to buy that title if you were looking for just one book on mammals. If you are a naturalist like me and love having as many titles as is reasonably possible, then by all means buy this book to add to your collection.
Besides the species accounts which are not as comprehensive as the Peterson Guide the biggest complaint about this book is the illustrations. Color plates were completed by SEVEN different artists making for very uneven treatment. Some of the species look cartoonish while others don't do the species justice. For example, the Woodchuck appears mostly bald which is a persitent criticism I have of the artist of this particular plate. All of his animals look like they are losing their fur. Additionally, the Woodchuck looks paunchy and more black than is typical. The Porcupine looks wildly unkempt and unlike ones I have seen in the wild. The illustration of the Eastern Cottontail on Plate 11, a species for which almost everyone in eastern North America is familiar, looks like it has been injured with a case of whiplash (and possibly a neck brace on as the neck is stiffly extended) and an injured front right paw. By comparison, the Peterson Guide was illustrated by one artist who captured each species very well.
I could provide more comments, but I think you get the point.
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Mammals of North America: (Second Edition) (Princeton Field Guides)
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