The alligator--Florida's most feared, maligned animal. From the time European settlers first stepped onto Florida soil, the alligator has been a target of dread and revulsion--and the hunter's gun.
Collected here are true (and tongue-in-cheek) accounts of alligators and the people who have hunted them, been attacked by them, and tried to save them from extinction. Journey through the Everglades with 1800s Seminoles, experts at stalking and killing gators. Go along with a "Northern girl" as she shoots "my first alligator in my glove and veil." And learn how modern alligator hunters go about their business, which hasn't changed much in the last hundred years or so.
If you like tall tales, you'll love Henry, the alligator-turned-head-waiter who becomes despondent when a pretty New York girl spurns his lovesick advances. Or Algy, the gator who survives a broiling in a furnace by his owners, who happen to think he's already dead and won't mind the heat. Or Two-Toed Tom, who may or may not have even existed, but who was blamed for everything from eating mules to terrorizing women and children.
There's no sound quite like it, or as viscerally terrifying: the ominous rattle of the timber rattlesnake. It's a chilling shorthand for imminent danger, and a reminder of the countless ways that nature can suddenly snuff us out.
Yet most of us have never seen a timber rattler. Though they're found in thirty-one states, and near many major cities, in contemporary America timber rattlesnakes are creatures mostly of imagination and innate fear.
Ted Levin aims to change that with America's Snake, a portrait of the timber rattlesnake, its place in America's pantheon of creatures and in our own frontier history--and of the heroic efforts to protect it against habitat loss, climate change, and the human tendency to kill what we fear. Taking us from labs where the secrets of the snake's evolutionary history are being unlocked to far-flung habitats whose locations are fiercely protected by biologists and dedicated amateur herpetologists alike, Levin paints a picture of a fascinating creature: peaceable, social, long-lived, and, despite our phobias, not inclined to bite. The timber rattler emerges here as emblematic of America and also, unfortunately, of the complicated, painful struggles involved in protecting and preserving the natural world.
A wonderful mix of natural history, travel writing, and exemplary journalism, America's Snake is loaded with remarkable characters--none more so than the snake at its heart: frightening, perhaps; endangered, certainly; and unquestionably unforgettable.
"From prehistoric relatives to post-endangered status, Ouchley provides a comprehensive review of the alligator, an iconic southern creature."--Michael K. Steinberg, author of Stalking the Ghost Bird"The conservation of the American alligator is one of history's best examples of the sustainable-use model for wildlife conservation. The effort to preserve the alligator has contributed to the conservation of wetlands and many other wetland-dependent species throughout its range. Ouchley does an outstanding job of explaining the mysteries of this keystone species."--Robert Barham, Secretary of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries "Kelby Ouchley is part of a generation of wildlife professionals that helped bring the American alligator back from the brink of extinction. He provides fascinating insights into its fight for survival."--Jim Kurth, Chief of National Wildlife Refuge System, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Having survived since the Mesozoic era, alligators teetered on the brink of extinction in the 1960s. Their recovery in the 1970s and 1980s was largely due to legislative intervention, and today populations are closely monitored throughout their range. American Alligator is the most up-to-date and comprehensive treatment of this resilient relic, a creature with a brain weighing less than half an ounce that has successfully adapted to a changing Earth for more than 200 million years.
Kelby Ouchley chronicles the evolution of Alligator mississippiensis from "shieldcroc"--the last common ancestor of modern-day alligators, crocodiles, caimans, and the gharial--to its current role as keystone of the ecological health of America's southern swamps and marshes. In Florida, the apex predator uses its snout and feet to clear muck from holes in the limestone bedrock. During the dry season, these small ponds or "alligator holes" provide refuge, food, and water for a variety of wildlife. In Louisiana, millions of dollars are spent on the bounty of the non-native nutria that overgraze marsh vegetation, but alligators prey on these coastal rodents free of charge. Today only twenty-three species of crocodilians remain. That the alligator lineage survives at all, having successfully weathered millions of years of environmental change, speaks to an impressive degree of fitness and adaptability. The loss of the American alligator would be a blow to biodiversity and an ecosystem disruption affecting all levels of the food chain. While the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed it from the endangered species list in 1987 and today regulates the legal trade of the animal and its products, Ouchley cautions us not to forget the lessons learned: human activities, from urban development to energy production, can still threaten the future of the gator and its southern wetland habitat.
Revised and updated to reflect the most current science, and including 30 new species, this authoritative and comprehensive volume is the definitive guide to the amphibians and reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia. The new edition features 189 species of salamanders, frogs, crocodilians, turtles, lizards, and snakes, with updated color photographs, descriptions, and distribution maps for each species. It is an indispensable guide for zoologists, amateur naturalists, environmentalists, backpackers, campers, hikers, and everyone interested in the outdoors.
Snakes on the patio, salamanders in the basement, frogs crossing the road, and turtles nesting on the shore in the land of 10,000 lakes: from the enchanted child to the curious adult, from the amateur naturalist to the dedicated conservationist, living with wildlife in Minnesota means finding amphibians and reptiles in prairies and forests and your own backyard.
Amateur and professional alike will find this book a comprehensive source and a user-friendly guide, invaluable for discovering, identifying, and learning about any of the state's fifty-three amphibian and reptile species from the common American Toad to the little seen Western Ratsnake. This handbook takes readers through the steps for studying these species in the field.
Including current information about designations of species in need of conservation, this reference covers the latest research and work on environmental threats and amphibian and reptile protection, such as the deformed frog phenomenon, turtle legislation, climate change, and habitat restoration. With more than 200 photographs, written descriptions, county-based maps, habitat and distribution data, life histories, and circular keys to adult and larval specimens, the book brings readers up-to-date on Minnesota's new species and changes to scientific names. Amphibians and Reptiles in Minnesota is the most complete and authoritative guide of its kind.
Information in this book was partly funded by proceeds of the Minnesota Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.
Costa Rica is a remarkable place for amphibians and reptiles. Known for its biological diversity, conservation priorities, and extensive protected lands, this small country contains 418 herpetological species including the dangerous Fer-de-Lance and Black-headed Bushmaster, the beloved sea turtles, and numerous dink, foam, glass, and rain frogs. Additional species are thought to be nearing extinction while others have been introduced only recently. Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica is the perfect introductory guide to this diverse herpetofauna in a format that makes it easy to carry into the field. The focus is on identification with entries for all species in the country, including scientific and English common names, as well as the older names for the many species that have been recently reclassified. Key ID marks are noted as well as adult sizes. Range maps identify the region(s) where species are known to be present. Color photographs and drawings are provided for over 80 percent of the species, representing those that are most likely to be encountered. Designed with ease of use in mind, this guide will be a great aid to the observer in identifying the specimen at hand.
A hidden world of amphibians and reptiles awaits the outdoor adventurer in Georgia's streams, caves, forests, and wetlands. Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia makes accessible a wealth of information about 170 species of frogs, salamanders, crocodilians, lizards, snakes, and turtles. Throughout, the book stresses conservation, documenting declines in individual species as well as losses of local and regional populations.Color photographs are paired with detailed species accounts, which provide information about size, appearance, and other identifying characteristics of adults and young; taxonomy and nomenclature; habits; distribution and habitat; and reproduction and development. Typical specimens and various life stages are described, as well as significant variations in such attributes as color and pattern. Line drawings define each group's general features for easy field identification. Range maps show where each species occurs in Georgia county by county, as well as in the United States generally. State maps depict elevations, streams, annual precipitation, land use changes, physiographic provinces, and average temperatures. The book includes a checklist, a chart of the evolutionary relationships among amphibians and reptiles, a list of the top ten most reported species by major group, and a table summarizing the diversity of amphibians and reptiles in the state's five physiographic provinces. Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia is an authoritative reference for students, professional herpetologists, biologists, ecologists, conservationists, land managers, and amateur naturalists. Features: Nearly 500 color photographs24 line drawings showing each group's defining featuresAlmost 200 range maps detailing county-by-county distributionDetailed species accounts written by 54 regional experts providing information on size, appearance, and other identifying characteristics of adults and young; taxonomy and nomenclature; habits; distribution and habitat; and reproduction and developmentIntroductory sections providing overviews of physiography, climate, and habitats of Georgia, the Georgia Herp Atlas Project, taxonomic issues, conservation, and herpetology as a science and a careerA selection of frog and alligator vocalizations at www.ugapress.org/AmphibsAndReptiles
This third edition of James R. Dixon's Amphibians and Reptiles of Texas: With Keys, Taxonomic Synopses, Bibliography, and Distribution Maps, completely redesigned throughout with color photographs, revised taxonomic keys, and updated species descriptions, covers more than two hundred species of amphibians and reptiles. As in the previous editions, the book includes an extensive listing of the literature on Texas amphibians and reptiles that goes back to the historic writings of Berlandier, in the early nineteenth century, and is updated to reflect the most recent research.?Comprehensive distribution maps, updated references, and an exhaustive bibliography round out this latest edition of what has come to be widely recognized as the standard scientific guide and reference for professional, academic, and amateur naturalists interested in the herpatofauna of Texas.
The revised edition of this well-loved guide is the essential reference for the identification of amphibians and reptiles in the Great Lakes region. Fully updated treatments of over 70 species feature detailed information on the distribution, habitat, behavior, and life history of these fascinating animals. This edition includes all new distribution maps as well as 90 additional color photographs showing close-ups of distinguishing features, common color phases, and different metamorphic stages. A thorough introduction provides a wealth of information on the evolution, natural history, classification, and conservation of these animals and examines changing Great Lakes ecosystems and their impact on herpetological diversity. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region is a must-have resource for teachers, students, naturalists, professional biologists, and anyone else with an interest in this region's ecology.
Amphibians of Costa Rica is the first in-depth field guide to all 206 species of amphibians known to occur in Costa Rica or within walking distance of its borders. A diminutive nation with abundant natural wealth, the country is host to 146 species of frogs and toads. Frogs of gemlike beauty and dizzying variety abound: some species can fit on the end of a human finger; others would take two hands to hold. In the rainforests, you can find frogs capable of gliding from high in the treetops to the forest floor, some that carry their eggs or their tadpoles around on their back, and others that secrete glue-like substances from their skin that are capable of sticking shut the mouth of attacking snakes.
Costa Rica is also home to fifty-three species of lungless salamanders, whose unique adaptations and abilities have allowed them to colonize habitats inaccessible to other amphibians. In addition to the spectacularly diverse salamanders, frogs, and toads found in the country, this guide includes the caecilians--bizarre and highly specialized creatures that somewhat resemble giant worms.Author, photographer, and conservation biologist Twan Leenders has been studying the herpetofauna of Central America for more than twenty years. Leenders and his team of researchers have traipsed the rainforests, dry forests, and swamps of Costa Rica--toting portable photo studios--to put together the richest collection of photographs of Costa Rican herpetofauna known to exist. In addition to hundreds of photographs, range maps, morphological illustrations, and precise descriptions of key field characteristics, Amphibians of Costa Rica offers a wealth of natural history information, describing prey and predators, breeding strategies, habitat, and conservation status.