Few reptiles command more respect than the mighty boas and pythons. From 11-metre-long anacondas in the Amazon to the diminutive Javelin Sand Boa, no longer than 80 centimetres, these are the longest members of the snake family. Supremely beautiful, they embody power and grace. But are they gentle giants or finely tuned killing machines? This book provides the answers, exploring the world of these huge snakes on a fascinating journey through the five continents they inhabit. It describes the distribution, habitat, life and habits of all known species of boa and python, as well as highlighting the threats these magnificent creatures face from habitat destruction, hunting and climate change.
Also included are the often overlooked but fascinating basal snakes, primitive relatives of the boas and pythons. Lavishly illustrated throughout with stunning photographs (many taken by the author), "Boas and Pythons of the World" provides comprehensive and authoritative information in a lively and accessible format - a fitting celebration of one of the most fascinating yet little-known groups in the reptile world. This title is suitable for: anyone interested in reptiles, and snakes in particular; general wildlife conservation interest; and, experienced naturalists and interested amateurs alike.
Mark O'Shea is a herpetologist, television broadcaster, zoologist, author, photographer, lecturer and public speaker, and was the Consultant Curator of Reptiles at West Midland Safari Park in the UK for 33 years. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Linnean Society of London, and Explorers' Club of New York. He was awarded one of only eight Millennium Awards for Services to Exploration, by the British Chapter of the Explorers' Club in 2000 and an Honorary Doctor of Sciences degree, for services to herpetology, by the University of Wolverhampton in 2001. In 2015 Czech herpetologists voted Mark "Snakeman of the Year". He became Professor of Herpetology at the University of Wolverhampton in September 2018 and was awarded an MBE in 2020 for services to High Education, Zoology, Reptile Conservation and Snakebite Research.
His life has revolved around snakes for more than five decades and is an advocate for snake conservation. Between 1999 and 2003 Mark presented four seasons of the internationally acclaimed O'Shea's Big Adventure for Animal Planet, co-produced with the UK's Channel 4 as O'Shea's Dangerous Reptiles. He has now presented over forty documentaries including films for Discovery Channel, ITV, and the BBC. Mark has conducted herpetological fieldwork, or made films, on every continent except Antarctica. He has authored seven books, including A Book of Snakes: A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred Species from around the World (2018) and Lizards of the World (2021), and is working on a slow burn revision of A Guide to the Snakes of Papua New Guinea.