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Mammal Detective (British Natural History Series) Hardcover – 22 Jul 2009


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Mammal Detective (British Natural History Series) + Live Trapping Small Mammals (Mammal Society Occasional Publications)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Whittet Books Ltd (22 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1873580770
  • ISBN-13: 978-1873580776
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 1.4 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 908,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

A guide to the fieldcraft of mammal watching in Britain. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. E. W on 11 July 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Quite a nice little book for those wanting to know about bones, fur, tracks and poo. Some of the black and white illustrations leave a lot to be desired but otherwise it's OK, gave me very little I didn't already know and does state the obvious (like be quiet when watching wildlife!) quite a bit.
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By D. thomas on 20 May 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've just spent a weekend spotting otter spraint and the footprints section was really handy to use to compare our sightings. I like the section on spotting where to look in landscapes, as being faced with a large expanse can often being daunting. The gnawed shell signs have often been useful and the drawings have been used by several local wildlife organisations as a guide on dormouse nut hunts.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Arrived before stated time, well packaged and a great read, covers all mammals from deer, seals, whales, dolphins, rats and mice and many more. Shows footprints and signs to look out for when trying to detect mammals.
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Format: Paperback
I once had the privalidge of going on a marine mammals course run by this man, before he sadly past. An amazing wealth of knowledge, and great teacher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
Excellent Book To Orient a Naturalist's Observations 4 Nov. 2010
By Stephen M. Vantassel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Although written for a British audience, Mammal Detective is a worthy read for naturalists and wildlife observers in North America as well.

In this short text (it's only a 128 pages), readers learn about theory and practice of wildlife observation and sign reading. Strachan begins by discussing the skills and equipment needed to "see" and interpret animal behavior from their sign by using the model of human criminal investigations. Readers are taught how to observe wildlife secretively and to appreciate that not all animals are equally observable. Strachan provides full-page line drawings to show where sign will most likely be found in three different environments (woodlands, watercourses, and fields).

Part two addresses the clues animals leave. Here Strachan explains how to identify animals by tracks, droppings, shelter, and the remains of feedings. He uses an educational technique called "Identity Parades", which are lists and figures of key elements of animal identification, to help readers properly identify wildlife they might see in the British Isles. I think this educational method would be quite useful for authors to use in discussing American wildlife or in taking notes on their own field observations.

Aside from the splendid line drawings and easy to understand writing, this text is full of little informational gems that make the book worth the price. For example, Strachan has chapters on identification of wildlife by eye shine, hair, skulls, and teeth. His simple, not simplistic, explanations provide readers with necessary background to understand more technical texts on hair, skull, and tooth identification. While academically trained biologists may be bored, educators and the uninitiated will be grateful for the pedagogical method employed by Strachan.

I only wish the book contained tips on writing down one's observations. Nevertheless, if you want to expand your sensitivity to wildlife sign, consider this text. It has a useful index and suggestions for further reading.

Stephen M. Vantassel is an expert in wildlife damage management. His latest book is Dominion over Wildlife?: An Environmental Theology of Human-Wildlife Relations
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