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The New Encyclopedia of Snakes Hardcover – September 9, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This updated reference on snakes from around the world will appeal to the student and the lay reader. The book is arranged thematically and covers such topics as “The Origin and Evolution of Snakes,” “Morphology and Function,” “Feeding,” “Taxonomy,” and more. Of special interest is a chapter on the interactions of snakes and humans throughout history. The detailed text provides a wealth of information.  There are significant changes in this revised edition. First, advances in DNA technology have led to changes in snake biology and classification, including a number of new families being added to the taxonomy. Other revisions include a change in focus in the field from concerns about the loss of habitat to the implications of global climate change. The author is from the United Kingdom, and this is apparent at times (for example, in the chapter title “Defence”). Photographs, more than 200 in all, appear on every page spread and will appeal to the casual reader. Maps and charts are scattered throughout the book, and sidebars are used to highlight topics of special interest. The volume concludes with a bibliography, which includes print and Web resources, as well as a thorough index, which provides access via common names as well as scientific names. This title would be a valuable addition for high-school and public libraries, especially those owning the earlier edition. --Maren Ostergard

Review

"Learn about snakes from around the world, the relationships between the species, snake biology--how and where they live, feed and reproduce--and how they interact with humans. This updated edition would make a great holiday gift for any young naturalist."--Lexington Herald Leader

"The New Encyclopedia of Snakes is a must-have... Mattison's work is a breathtaking wonder. How he managed to fill 271 pages with reams of scientific and plain entertaining information, then added 200 beautiful photographs that deal with every snake on this planet, is simply astonishing...It's all there, our American snakes, the Asian, Australian, African and European snakes, their lives, mating habits, raising of young, feeding and potential threat to humans who bother them. You will be blown away by the color photography, but you also will begin to read and probably not stop for a long time."--Gene Muller, Washington Times

"This revised and updated edition of The Encyclopedia of Snakes delivers three new snake families and 400 new species. [As] the most comprehensive of Mattison's herpetology texts this edition covers all aspects of snake biology and habitat...The work contains a wealth of information about our scaled friends, including patterns of distribution and matters relating to evolution and morphology, feeding, reproduction, and defensive strategies...Full of some 200 marvelous color photographs, this captivating work will appeal to students and snake lovers everywhere. Scholarly enough to serve as a core resource for herpetologists but also readable, it deserves a wide audience."--Kelli Perkins, Library Journal

"[T]his text with its incredible close-ups of iridescent scales and vertical-slit eyes and gaping pink-lined jaws details the where, why and how of snakes' lives."--Marcy Smith, Raleigh News & Observer

"This updated reference on snakes from around the world will appeal to the student and the lay reader. Of special interest is a chapter on the interactions of snakes and humans throughout history. There are significant changes in this revised edition. Advances in DNA technology have led to changes in snake biology and classification, including a number of new families being added. Other revisions include and a change in focus in the field from concerns about the loss of habitat to the implications of global climate change. Photographs, more than 200 in all, appear on every page spread."--Maren Ostergard, Booklist

"Snakes are among the most feared and misunderstood creatures on earth. A comprehensive and richly illustrated new reference book dispels these misconceptions by addressing the natural history of snakes. This is an idea reference for anyone interested in snakes. The New Encyclopedia of Snakes is one of the most comprehensive single-volume guides ever written about snakes, a work that is highly recommended."--Larry Cox, King Features Syndicate

"Snake lovers will love this text, complete with over 200 color photographs of snakes from all over the world."--Wildlife Activist

"Snakes are among the most feared and misunderstood creatures on earth. A comprehensive and richly illustrated new reference book dispels these misconceptions by addressing the natural history of snakes and their relationship with each other and with other groups of animals. The New Encyclopedia of Snakes incorporates new information on snake biology and classification and includes a complete List of every family genus, with notes on each. The 200 color photographs document the fascinating variety of snake coloration and camouflage, and illustrate and clarify the many topics covered. This book is organized thematically, making it easy to use. This is an ideal reference for anyone interested in snakes."--Larry Cox, Dover Post

"Important changes in classifying and naming snakes, the addition of new species, advances in behavioral biology, new concerns about habitat loss, and the state of the art as influenced by the Internet, have all prompted Mattison to revise his 1995 The Encyclopedia of Snakes. As a promoter of herpetology, especially snakes, the author provides this nicely written and beautifully illustrated update, suitable for readers ranging from the beginning naturalist to the focused professional. Worldwide in scope, this well-referenced volume incorporates an evolutionary theme to discuss in some depth the entire range of knowledge about snakes."--D.M. McKinstry, Choice

"Great pictures and great prose make a memorable combination, and it certainly does not hurt the credentials of the encyclopedia that the contents have been pieced together with such up-to-date, painstaking precision. Simply put, Dr. Mattison's book is a sheer delight and deserves pride of place on the shelves of many more than just the noble band of the herpetologically minded."--John Mathew, Science Books and Film
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (September 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 069113295X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691132952
  • Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 8.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Kowalski on January 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Chris Mattison has done it again. What a wonderful book - both the photographs and writing. It is chock full of fascinating information about the world of snakes. It is a great general book - snakes overall - but also quite detailed about some specific species and interesting tidbits. It is updated from the first edition, with new photos, research, and classifications (e.g. Boidae and Pythonidae are now separate).

A must have for any snake afficionado!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Smilingbird on October 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My fourth grade son checked this book out of his school library for most of last year. When library visits started this year, guess which book was the first one he brought home and showed me with excitement. I noted the ragged shape it is in (probably from having spent nearly 9 months in his backpack last year!), and realized I have to buy him his own copy. He's a snake-lover, and has more snake books than many branch libraries, bu this is the one he reads over and over.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Steven Cloutier on February 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book was a gift for my girlfriend's 10 yo nephew, who owns 5 exotic snakes. He was delighted with its thoroughness and the photos. My girlfriend and I agreed that it was of a sophisticated enough level that we would enjoy it ourselves, and her nephew will probably continue to appreciate it for years to come.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Marty Essen on February 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
As a nature writer and speaker, I own a large collection of natural history encyclopedias. The New Encyclopedia of Snakes is one of my favorite reference books for two reasons:

Although some snake guides have more pictures, the photography in this one is outstanding. The photos are generally large and often show the surrounding habitat. If you want to identify a particular species of snake, this book is a great place to start.

What I like best in this book, however, are its extensive natural history sections. Subjects range from evolution to senses to locomotion to habitats to hunting methods to reproduction to predators to defense strategies.

I recommend The New Encyclopedia of Snakes not only for adult snake lovers, but also for budding young naturalists. If this book were available when I was kid, I would have had every page memorized in no time. If you buy this book for a child (fourth grade or older), don't be surprised if a college major in herpetology becomes part of his or her plan!

Marty Essen, author of Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents
Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By S. Gerges on March 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the most intriguing aspects of such a book is undoubtedly the quality of the pictures taken of the snakes. Mattison's Encyclopedia seeks not only to provide information about these beautiful organisms, but to gravitate the attention of the reader and to fully address the inherent beauty these creatures possess - through the detail and intricacy of the pictures captured.

Regardless - the reason I gave this book 4/5 is simply because some information is simply a recycling, or a gathering - of the countless documentaries and National Geographic programs which have been made about Snakes. Truly, I have yet to come across a book which dives into snakes and studies them on a molecular level - in an attempt to understand fully how they function as reptiles.

Despite this minor setback, there is plenty of information here which I have not stumbled upon as of yet, concerning snake interaction with habitat and humans. One of the nicest sections at the end of this includes one which classifies snakes, making this an amazing reference point for any true herpetologist to refer to in times of need.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lexie on October 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was SO SO worried when I got this book that it was entirely too wordy. Yes, it had so many wonderful pictures and so many different kinds of snakes, but it also had a ton of informative content as well. I just wasn't sure if it would be good for a 6 year old! But as it turns out, he LOVES it! He reads it all the time, brings it to his cousin's to show off, brings it in the car.. It will be a gift that he will enjoy for years to come - I couldn't be happier!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gia on October 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent source for studying the biology of snakes. However, I was looking more for a book that covered species identification. That is not to say that I don't like this book. I do and I plan to read every page of it. The photos are beautiful too!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By SBW on December 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is very informative! We ordered it for a friend's son, and he loved it. It is very graphic!
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