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From the inside flap:
"The gifted naturalist P. H. Gosse (1810-88) wrote:
The most interesting parts, by far, of published Natural History are those minute, but graphic particulars, which have been gathered by an attentive watching of individual animals.
So I am encouraged to offer this book. But the words cannot closely repeat the experience; these tales from the undergrowth, like the regrown tails of lizards which have had near escapes, are incomplete and short of the grace of the original.
During seven seasons and about seven hundred captures I have been privileged to witness a little of the life of lizards. Theirs is a life of rhythms. They have daily cycles of activity, reproductive cycles within the season, the seasonal round of activity and torpidity. They live apart as reptiles, a part of our natural history rather neglected. Lives of British Lizards will not do them justice, but others will be able to erect more complete and elegant life stories. Of course, it is an impertinence to write a life of lizards after little and discontinuous experience. This is a convenient time only from my own point of view. It is also a tribute to the long-suffering lizards from whom I have learned a little. Sometimes, when they have been basking complacently around me (in ideal situations for close observation) I have felt the sun's heat – but on the back of the neck – and I have succumbed to their age-old wisdom of environment."