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Author: Tracey Hawthorne
A First Field Guide to Snakes & Other Reptiles of Southern Africa provides fascinating insight into the reptiles of the region.
Through full-colour photographs and distribution maps, and easy-to-read text, the young adult and budding naturalist will be able to identify the more common species found in southern Africa, discover where they live, and leam about their unique feeding and nesting habits.
These little guides are an invaluable resource for the beginner, providing information at a glance through superb photographs, maps and easy-to-read text.
• handy pocket size
Most people, when asked whether they like reptiles, will shudder and say either, Yuk! They’re all cold and slimy! or No way! They’re poisonous!
In fact, the former is untrue and the latter applies to surprisingly few species in our region (see note on venoms, page 8).
All reptiles have a dry, horny skin, usually modified into scales or plates. And, although they are cold-blooded, their blood may actually be just as warm as any other living creatures.
The term cold-blooded refers to the fact that all reptiles obtain their heat from external sources (usually the sun, which is why so many reptiles enjoy sun-bathing), unlike mammals and birds, which generate heat internally.
Warm-blooded creatures (like humans) need a constant supply of food to continually generate heat; some reptiles, on the other hand, can survive on as few as 10 meals a year.
Reptile’s ancestors were the early amphibians that crawled out of the seas about 370 million years ago; a group of these evolved into reptiles. In southern Africa today we have 480 species of reptiles, including the worlds richest diversity of land tortoises.
More than half are endemic. Although only 46 of the most common reptiles have been included in this book, it is hoped that this selection will illustrate how interesting, resourceful and hardy - and, in many cases, beautiful - the reptilian life of southern Africa is, and encourage further investigation of this fascinating world.
Southern African reptiles