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Mammals of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East Hardcover – 1 Sep 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: A & C Black Publishers Ltd; 01 edition (1 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408113996
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408113998
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.2 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 309,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'This book is truly the mammal equivalent of the Collins Bird Guide. All we need is a reptile and amphibian guide for the same region, and we'll have the tetrapods all covered!'
--Birdwatch (January 2010)

'At last, an authoritative, up-to-date handbook on the region's mammalian fauna. Overall, this is an excellent, useful guide.'
--BBC Wildlife (January 2010)

About the Author

Stephane Aulagnier is a Professor of Conservation Biology at the University Paul Sabatier in Toulouse and the Vice-President of the Society for the Study and Protection of Mammals in France.


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Format: Hardcover
This is a very fine new field guide for the mammals of Europe and its "surroundings". The good and new thing is that it has this considerably expanded range compared to previous European mammal field guides. Thus, it includes North Africa, north of the tropic of Cancer. And in the east, it includes the areas to the western shores of the Caspian Sea. In addition, it does away with the purist attitude of only showing native species. Thus there are also range maps for Raccoon and Racoon Dog to just name two.

The book has the convenient, nowadays customary arrangement with colour plates on one side and text plus range maps on the opposite side of the same spread. In most cases, aside from a very appealing colour illustration, there is also a skull and often a tooth detail in b&w. Thus, the book can also be helpful for ornithologists studying owl pellets and the like.

The text includes information on size, weight, identification features, but also on habitat, biology, habits, food.

A very attractive and yet compact book. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a compact, authorative yet concise account of the land mammals of Europe (and beyond...). It has been formatted in a way similar to many bird guides and so has detailed, punchy text and a map opposite a drawn picture or two of the species. For some species, there is good information on footprints, skull morphology and dentition. There are surprisingly good notes on causes of death, including diseases.

Unfortunately, for UK users the book seems written for the European market and so is poorly targeted for us. The species selected for inclusion works against the interests of the reader. For example, there are mammals from the very edges of the Western Palearctic range: Serval, Giant mole-rat, Siberian weasel and Saiga. There are 9 double pages of gerbils yet no whales and dolphins at all! This is a stunning omission in my view which may be OK for central European readers but if you live on the Atlantic fringes, you want a book on European mammals to contain at least the common cetaceans.

The other drawbacks:

The text needs better English editing as some of the phrasing sounds like a translation. European names creep in eg. a moose is a moose not an "elk".

The quality of the species drawings are variable: I think the jizz of the wildcat, pine marten, bank vole and hedgehog just feels wrong. Photographs would have worked better.

Many of the distribution maps (for the UK at least) are also way out of date, even when you take into account the 2009 publication date (red squirrel, wildcat, pine marten and wild boar).

So in the end it's OK but if you want a better UK mammal guide, there are many others out there.
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Format: Hardcover
As a archaeological faunal specialist, I bought this book to take with me into the field. It's compact and easily packed, yet very comprehensive and well-illustrated. I have found the additional skull and dentition drawings associated with the different species particularly helpful. I strongly recommend it for enthusiasts and professionals alike.
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