Customer Reviews: Peterson Field Guide to Mammals of North America: Fourth Edition (Peterson Field Guides)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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on November 2, 2006
As someone majoring in Wildlife Science, I needed to have a field guide for my studies. I bought the previous edition about 3 yrs ago, but found it lacking. For example, it showed the historic range of raccoons, but not the current (expanded) range. It also used older genera (plural for genus) names & had very few bat species depicted. These & other factors made it impractical for me to use the book in my studies.

However, this new edition appears to be much more applicable for someone like me. It has color maps (the 3rd edition's maps were black & white) which are included in the species accounts (rather than at the end). Introduced species & their populations are shown in blue; historic ranges are shown using dashed lines; & sea mammals' ranges are included (no ranges were given for them in the 3rd ed.). Select maps are even shown with county lines drawn in in large states like CA & TX so residents can easily determine whether a species is in their county or not.

The color plates are better too. Animals are depicted in more natural body positions & appear more lifelike. There are many many more bat species depicted than in the 3rd ed. Sea mammals are included in the color plates; in the third edition, they were only depicted in black & white drawings. Introduced species (like the Blackbuck) are also depicted in this section. Select black & white animal tracks are included in the color plate section, rather than on the inside cover.

Skull identification is very important to biologists, since skulls are often all you'll find of an animal. This book has color photos of various skulls. The 3rd ed. had only black & white photos, which wasn't so bad, but I like the color photos better. Also, the dental formulae are given in this section for the respective genera. I will say, however, that I did like the dental formulae chart in the 3rd ed. because it summarized them all in 1 place, rather than spreading them out over several pages.

Immediately following these plates is a section of illustrated shrew teeth & molars of sm mammals. On the page just before the Species Accounts section is a depiction of pocket gophers with grooves on their incisors, a feature often used to distinguish between them.

Although most color photos are found in the skull section, there are more throughout the species accounts.

Species' names have been updated too. In the 3rd ed, the author chose to stick w/ some of the older names. In this edition, the accepted names (like Spermophilus) are used & even Bison bison was updated to Bos bison.

In the species accounts, common names other than the one Reid used are written in sm uppercase letters below the line w/ the common & scientific names. For example:
COYPU Myocastor coypus (introduced)

The species accounts describe the animal, sounds it makes, similar species, habits, habitat, range, & even its status (whether it's common or endangered, & which organization lists them as such, such as the USFWS & the CITES appendix #). The previous edition included eyeshine colors (which are included in some entries in this new edition), number of mammae, & economic impacts, but for the most part these features were left out of this edition. However, I doubt many people will miss them.

I think this edition is excellent. I only had my book for a day & yet I found all the improvements mentioned above. I recommend putting a self-adhesive plastic book cover on your book because the plasticized coating wears a bit quickly. (Note: I've had my book just over a year now and am slightly editing my comments to fix minor typos & improve the flow a bit :})
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on December 4, 2006
Fiona Reid has created a tour-de-force in The new Peterson Field Guide to Mammals of North America, the first update of the Peterson series on mammals in thirty years. This is the best Peterson Field guide ever, the ideal gift or stocking stuffer and a must have for anyone who loves environment, natural history, the outdoors and wildlife, from your budding naturalist eight-year old to your birder grandmother in Wisconsin.

The new guide combines all the best features of recent ground-breaking field guides in a completely new book. It is both encyclopeadic and accessible, beautiful to hold in the hand and, as has always been the case with the Peterson series, the perfect size to take to the field. It will also look very good on your window sill and be handy next time that bear or ermine comes to the feeder.

A revision was of Peterson's Mammal Guide was long overdue and Fiona Reid has gone about it masterfully. In comparing the new and the old guide, one need only look at the new paintings to realize how much we needed this brand new treatment of North American mammals and to see how beautiful a book this is. Our knowledge has advanced tremendously, even for better known groups such as the carnivores; but it is when you spend some time with groups such as the bats and the chipmunks that you begin to realize just how far we have come since the last edition in our understanding of the mammalian diversity we see around us. Brilliant author-biologist-artist Fiona Reid has captured the traditional basics of a field guide with astounding plates and just the right amount of detail on ranges, biology, morphology, and even environmental threats.

This is the new gold-standard of field guides.
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on January 21, 2007
This new guide is hands down the best mammal guide for North America currently available. An impressive volume and effort by the author. The artwork is superb, the photography crisp, and the phylogeny and other science accurate and up to date.
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on March 22, 2009
Good book, there are some north american species maybe overpass because live in North Mexico includieng Baja which should begin in the guide, otherwise the propper name should be USA & Canada mammals guide. The carrier left the book on the rain, not destroyed at all.
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on May 15, 2007
A thorough guide to North American animals. Lot's of color plates and informative. It even covers animals in their stages like a fox in winter and midsummer and how their coats change color.

To put it simply you won't be disappointed.
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on December 30, 2009
This Peterson Guide offers a very well-rounded selection of animals at a great price. You won't find a plate of every little-known vole species in existence, but you'll find more than you've likely ever heard of. An especially useful addition to this field guide is the extensive series of skull plates. No field guide on mammals is required to have a section dedicated to osteology, but this Peterson Guide goes above and beyond the call of duty in this respect.

Inevitably, you'll find an animal here or there that is placed under a genus or species that has since been revised by the scientific community. Knowledge concerning mammalian taxonomy is simply increasing faster than revised editions can be printed, so this doesn't really represent a 'weakness' in the Peterson Guide.
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on March 7, 2016
This book arrived on time and was packaged well. I do not recommended this book because of the year it was published. A lot has changed in terms of biological orders since this book was written. I found the information to be outdated. That being said I did appreciate the geographic maps included through the text.
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on September 21, 2013
Peterson field guides are my favorite guides as they are not only well illustrated throughout, but contain all the information that
you could possibly need. Mammals of North America is no exception. This lavishly illustrated volume contains information on every
mammal found in North America including geographical distribution, pictures of tracks, skull plates showing you the skull of the animal
and its dentition. Believe me, if you want an outstanding guide on the mammals of North America than get this guide. You won't be
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on November 11, 2014
This guide follows the old-style field guide format that North American bird guides rejected several decades ago, i.e. having the illustrations separated from the maps and text. Would be much easier to use if just the maps were paired with the illustrations, so you do not have to keep on flipping back and forth to see what the options are for your area. Like other guides in the series, it also has relatively small pages - smaller than any other field guides I own. This makes for a very thick book that does not lie flat easily, and requires lots of page turning. Would be much nicer with larger pages that fit more on a page.

I didn't know about the Kaufman Field Guide to North American Mammals before I bought this. It has the text, maps, and photos side by side, so remedies the problems in this guide. Also, lighter at 1.2 pounds, with slightly larger pages. Probably should have gone for that!
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on November 1, 2015
It is what I was expecting and what I wanted. I was slightly annoyed that the maps are included in the description sections (in the Peterson Reptiles book maps have a section independent from descriptions which makes referencing them faster), but it works out alright. Good for squirrels, ok for bats.
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