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Good Reads  Reptiles & Amphibians  Reptiles

The Book of Snakes A Lifesize Guide to Six Hundred Species from Around the World

Art / Photobook
By: Mark O'Shea(Author)
656 pages, colour photos, b/w illustrations, colour distribution maps
The Book of Snakes
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  • The Book of Snakes ISBN: 9780226459394 Hardback Oct 2018 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 2-4 weeks
  • The Book of Snakes ISBN: 9781782405597 Hardback Oct 2018 Out of Print #239809
Selected version: £54.99
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About this book

Please note that the version published in Europe by Ivy Press is now out of print, so we are offering the version published in the US by The University of Chicago Press.

There are over 3,600 species of snake found on every continent except for Antarctica, ranging in size from Barbados' tiny threadsnake to Southeast Asia's massive reticulated python. More than any other creature snakes are surrounded by dark, compelling myths and legend, unsurprising since many constrict their prey to death, or kill with a venomous bite, using a diverse armory of venoms that affect the blood, tissues, organs, and respiration. However, it is especially true of snakes that the closer you observe them, the more exquisite they are in their intricate geometry of pattern, the fine texture of the overlapping scales, and the intricacies of their multifarious lifestyles. The Book of Snakes profiles 600 significant species from all 32 families – one in six of all known species – to create a beautiful collector's piece that is both a significant resource for enthusiasts and scholars, and the most visually stimulating guide on the market.

Customer Reviews


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.

Art / Photobook
By: Mark O'Shea(Author)
656 pages, colour photos, b/w illustrations, colour distribution maps
Media reviews

"O'Shea provides a rich introduction to the snake world, revealing that there are just over 3,700 living snake species known today and detailing the vagaries of skin shedding, venom delivery and snake reproduction. Each of the species featured has a page devoted to it, with a map showing its location, information on its habits, plus color photographs of the snake itself. Flicking through the book reveals the amazing diversity of snakes – tiny acid-green Vinesnakes, vibrantly striped Rainbow Snakes and the ghost-like Japanese Aodaisho."
Wall Street Journal

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