A Field Guide to Indian Mammals Paperback – 2 Sep 2003
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About the Author
Vivek Menon is one of India's top biologists and the author of several books. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Menon's guide does not cover the whole subcontinent, but only the political entity of India, and is a reprint of a book published by Dorling Kindersley/Penguin in India in 2003. The Dorling Kindersley (DK) connection is obvious, not only due to the book's design, but also because the illustrations of relevant sea mammals are the same as those used in DK's `Whales, dolphins and porpoises' (1995) (though this last fact is unacknowledged in the guide). All other mammal groups are depicted by colour photos.
Thanks in part to the use of symbols, there's an awful lot of useful information compressed into this small and slim flexicover guide, which (apart from the aforementioned sea mammals) covers in varying detail everything from primates through to rodents and bats, and also contains useful background information.
My only criticism concerns the illustrations, which in many (but not all) cases have been printed fuzzily; that this is a fault of printing rather than the original illustrations is confirmed by comparing the sharp images of Ganges River Dolphin in the DK cetacean guide, with the same illustrations in Menon's book. Why, with modern printing techniques, a big publisher such as A&C Black allows this to happen, is baffling.
In summary, this is an attractive, handy and easily portable guide, which makes a useful travelling companion for those visiting India to watch wildlife.
There are two-page introductions to general topics such as mammals, their classification, feeding, social behaviour, habitats, conservation. In two pages there really isn't a lot that can be said - and anybody with more than a cursory interest is likely to already know much of what is written here. There follow 166 pages of species account, each family introduced by one or two overview pages. The larger species all have individual accounts of varying lengths (from under a quarter page to a double page for the iconic tiger), with information on status, diet, activity, where (arboreal vs territorial vs aquatic), a list of local names, a short description including size, habitat, conservation threats, overall length and weight, and in many cases `best seen where'. There also are distribution maps. The rest of the space is taken up by one or more photograph, with some id features pointed out.
Smaller species such as otters, martens, many rodents and bats only get summary pages without distribution maps, but typically with photos illustrating all/several species. The area covered is India including Kashmir, but excluding neighbouring countries, even Bangladesh. This makes the choice to include ocean-dwelling mammals somewhat odd since India is not particularly known for whale-watching trips (having the river-dwelling dolphins in there is a different matter).
I agree with the criticism from the other review that the illustrations look fuzzy in the print, which is annoying.Read more ›
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