This book, originally published in German in 1982, is a recognized classic on the biology of captive reptiles (and selected amphibians). In it, the author carefully summarizes an enormous body of information-both his own extensive experience at Tierpark Berlin and a vast literature-much of which has been little known outside the German-speaking world. He synthesizes studies from captive and wild animals and discusses and interprets them in terms of contemporary physiology, ethology, and reproductive biology. Petzold reviews papers in biological, herpetological, zoo, and terrarium journals published throughout the world, including eastern Europe, Russia, and China, and he champions the role played by amateur terrarists in making studies of general importance. He shows how data derived from captive reptiles can lead to discoveries of importance to ethology, reproductive biology, systematics, and veterinary management.
Topics covered include aspects of reproduction (sexual dimorphism, age at maturity, sex recognition and attraction, courtship behavior, copulation, gestation and delayed fertilization, egg-laying, birth, reproductive cycles, parental care, data on eggs and clutches, incubation time, genetic questions), development (growth, coloration and markings, regeneration, skin shedding, longevity), and nutrition (search for and ingestion of food, digestion, excretion, defecation, pellet formation, gastroliths, keratophagy, cannibalism). There are also discussions of the origin and history of zoos, the relevance of terrarium observations, and species conservation programs in zoos and private terraria. The literature cited section includes 1200 titles and there is an index to genera and species.
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