This is the first field guide to deal specifically with the taxonomy, ecology, and zoogeography of the snakes of Zimbabwe and Botswana. The first author established the Department of Herpetology at the then National Museum of Southern Rhodesia in 1956 and continued as a Research Associate following his retirement as Senior Curator of Herpetology at the Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe (Bulawayo) in 1995, finally being appointed Curator Emeritus in 2010. Much of the voucher material for the snakes of Zimbabwe and Botswana is housed in Bulawayo.
Donald Broadley's first publication on the snakes of Southern Rhodesia was published in the Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology (Harvard) in 1958, and covered 64 species. By the time the field guide, Snakes of Rhodesia, by Broadley SL Cock was published by Longmans in 1975 (reprinted in 1982 and 1988 as Snakes of Zimbabwe), the number of species had risen to 76.
Dr Roger Blaylock, a retired Zimbabwean surgeon now working as a consultant in South Africa, has written the chapter on snake venoms and the treatment of snake bite. Roger Blaylock is currently a specialist surgeon and has personally sustained 9 venomous snake bites and hundreds of non-venomous bites. He became a member of the Herpetological Association in Rhodesia in 1958 and has continued his membership to the Herpetological Association of Africa to date. He has 22 published articles concerning snakebite in peer reviewed medical journals or books and obtained a MMedSc cum laude for a thesis entitled “The Clinical Natural History of Snakebite Victims in Southern Africa” in 2000 and an MD for the thesis “The Syndronomic and Specific Management of Snakebite in Southern Africa” in 2002. The clinical photographs were taken by this author.