What's that Reptile? A starter's guide to reptils of southern Africa. About the author, by Johan Marais
Author Johan Marais describes his personal development towards becoming an expert for reptils. Besides What's that Reptile? Johan Marais has written several other books on reptils.
Growing up in Woodlands in Durban, where there were only a few houses and plenty of bush, was a privilege. Together with my good friends Timothy Simpkin, Clive and Rowan Deacon and Mike de Jager, I encountered snakes, lizards and frogs from a very young age. To have a snake identified required an hour-long trip by bicycle to FitzSimons Snake Park. Mr Parker, the owner, would lean out of a half-open door, wearing a white overcoat, and hand us a little flier with information on the particular species. Books about reptiles were rare, and none of us owned one. As a youngster I also spent many holidays with friends and relatives on their farms - Oom Willie and Tannie Babà Mynhardt in the Kuruman district, Oom Gys and Tannie Joey Pelser near Balfour, as well as Oom Andries and Tannie Gerrie Marais near Ermelo. My field excursions on these farms led to various encounters with snakes and before long I was hooked! Reptiles became a life-long passion. I have travelled to amazing places, met incredible people and spent many a good day in the field. In recent years I have been very fortunate to go on field trips with the likes of Paul Moler, Randy Babb, Aaron Bauer, Bill Branch, Graham Alexander, Mo Roedel, Colin Tilbury, Harold Braack, Donald Strydom, Marius Burger, James Harvey, Bryan Maritz, my daughter Melissa and last, but by no means least, my wife Riaana. This book is a product of all those years in the field, of talking to various herpetologists who have been extremely generous in sharing their wealth of knowledge, and of some personal observations. Farmers, lodge owners, game rangers, friends and complete strangers have been very generous, allowing us access to prime reptile habitat, spoiling us with meals and often accommodating us. Several people, far too many to name, have made specimens available and have shared their knowledge and I will mention a few - my thanks to Rob Deans, Mike Jaensch, Liesl du Toit, Vince Egan, Kirsty Kyle, Thea Litschka-Koen, Mark Marshall, Gordon Setaro, Barry Stander, Donald Strydom of Khamai Reptile Park and John Visser. Several accomplished photographers have generously allowed me to use their photographs (almost always at no charge) and I hope that I will be able to reciprocate in future - Graham Alexander, Dana Allen, Randy Babb, Mirko Barts, Orty Bourquin, Marius Burger, Daniel Koen, André Coetzer, Xander Combrink, Atherton de Villiers, Clifford Dorse, Egil Dröge, Jelger Herder, Margaretha Hofmeyr, Victor Loehr, Bill Love, David Maguire, Bryan Maritz, Tony Phelps, Tyrone Ping, Jens Ressig, Warren Schmidt, Allison Sharp, Adam Shuttleworth, Martin Smit, Colin Tilbury, Krystal Tolley, Andrew Turner and John Visser.
y involvement with the South African Reptile Conservation Assessment (SARCA) taught me a great deal and I enjoyed working with the team, especially Marienne de Villiers who, with only a little help, had to drive the project. Several people who contributed to the SARCA Virtual Museum were very generous with their photographs and I wish I could have used all of them. I have also learnt a great deal from Aaron Bauer and Bill Branch and have good memories of long roads, days in the field, peanut butter and syrup bread rolls for dinner and endless conversations. Bill's book Snakes and other Reptiles of Southern Africa is an absolute must for anyone interested in the reptiles of southern Africa. Paul Moler has been a great friend and inspiration over the past 28 years and his regular trips to South Africa are always eagerly anticipated. Randy Babb must be one of the most talented people I have ever met, and spending time with him is an honour.
Graham Alexander, my co-author on A Guide to the Reptiles of Southern Africa and my supervisor at Wits University, reignited my interest in herpetology and has taught me a great deal. My association with my publisher Random House Struik has been a long and pleasant one, and my thanks go to Pippa Parker in particular. As publishing manager she has been responsible for five of my books and is not just an amazing publisher but also a good friend. My reptile books have sold exceptionally well and that has a lot to do with the manner in which they have been designed, edited and produced. My thanks to the team: managing editor Helen de Villiers, editor Emily Bowles and designer Dominic Robson. Lastly, my family have to live with the odd snake in a pillow sleeve, late nights and extended periods without me. Our children, Melissa, Dirkie and Luzey, are all an absolute pleasure and delight. To my wife Riaana - my sincere thanks for all the love and support. You are the wind beneath my wings.
This is an excerpt from the book: What's that Reptile? A starter's guide to reptils of southern Africa, by Johan Marais.
Title: What's that Reptile?
Subtitle: A starter's guide to reptils of southern Africa
Author: Johan Marais
Publisher: Random House Struik
Cape Town, South Africa 2011
ISBN 9781770077713 / ISBN 978-1-77007-771-3
Softcover, 17x25 cm, 112 pages, throughout colour photos
Marais, Johan im Namibiana-Buchangebot
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