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A Guide to the Reptiles of Southern Africa [Paperback]

Graham Alexander , Johan Marais
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Struik Publishers; 1 edition (1 Jan 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770073868
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770073869
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 17.3 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 356,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


This title is intended as a companion volume to "A Complete Guide to the Snakes of Southern Africa". It features the 516 reptile species for the subregion (27 tortoises, 337 lizards, 151 snakes and one crocodile) that are currently described in the scientific literature.The introductory section covers the following: how to use this book; distribution patterns of southern African reptiles; the diversity of reptiles; the Biology of reptiles; behaviour; finding and observing reptiles; and snakebite.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Southern Africa is blessed with an extraordinarily diverse and rich reptile fauna that compares favourably with other parts of Africa of equivalent size. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I guess its my own fault for buying a guide instead of a field guide. What I wanted was an identification guide to allow me to identify species of reptiles seen in the field in southern Africa. What I got was a nicely presented, quite readable book about reptiles.
It has a nice and informative general introduction before splitting up all the reptiles into groups which are then discussed. Whilst this works well for well-known and infamous species like the venomous snakes and Nile crocodile, some quite large groups such as skinks, sand-lizards and geckos have all the species lumped together and though there are many nice photos of SOME of the species and a full list of the species in each group - the book does NOT tell you how to identify them to species level which kind of defeats the purpose of a book like this. I recognise that many species might be difficult to identify without a specimen in-hand but at the least each species diagnostic features should be described anyway. Some of the species' groups descriptive text is very cumbersome as well and it is not always easy to find what features are most important in telling apart similar species. As an example I was reading the section on cobras with the hope of being able to find out how to tell if you are looking at one of the spitting cobra species or not (quite a useful bit of knowledge I would think) but the descriptions did not provide this information. A section on telling apart similar species would have been highly recommended here. Even more frustratingly the distribution maps are by group rather than for each species, so prove to be fairly useless for the large groups (Especially for those that contain species that are noted to have restricted ranges that again could help in the identification of individual species).
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great guide to less popular creatures 29 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having become a great lover of nature in South Africa, one area I lacked any real guidance was for reptiles. This book fills all the gaps in professional but easy to read manner. With extremely concise descriptions of the various species, including the best areas to see them, our regular trips to Southern Africa will benefit from this book.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect 9 Feb 2009
The right product, delivered with no delay. As usual, I am more than satisfied from Amazon. Nothing more to expect.
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice but dissapointing... 18 Jun 2008
By M. G. Kuijpers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Finally i received my copy of the guide to the reptiles of southern Africa !

The lay out is exactly the same as the other Johan Marais book, snakes of southern Africa, and as i think snakes of is great i was very dissapointed by the reptiles of book.

Why you are asking ? Well i have got the impression that the book is the snakes of southern africa with a little addition,an addition that is not specified enough.
The snakes are allready cramped together,dwarf bitis species for example are put together as dwarf adders and are generally spoken of,snakes so special for the region merit it to be seperated into species instead of being piled together.

The lizard chapter was for me the most dissapointing part. All the lizards (few exeptions) are cramped together in little family groups and not described or shown seperated on the maps, a big mis as a lot of the reptiles of southern Africa have a small distribution range. Why i ask myself ? Mister Marais is capable of making great books as shown before,photowork is great,lay out,but not it is not enough in my opinion.

So if you want to know something about the reptiles of southern africa,this book is great. Do you need some expert advise on distribution,species etc...sorry this is not what you need.
better books excist: Snakes of southern africa,Chameleons of southern africa and the southern african tortoise book still rule....
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