of Reptiles and Amphibians of Canada. 208 pages.
Authors: Chris Fisher, Amanda Joynt and Ron Brooks. List Price
- Two reviews are presented here by a couple
of friends of reptiles and amphibians, Nancy Hiscock and Lauren
Chris has asked me to provide a review of Lone
Pine Publishing's recent book, Reptiles and Amphibians of Canada,
authored by Chris Fisher, Amanda Joynt, and Ronald
After a quick study, I found it to be a great little
book; not only did it provide good overviews of many species, but
in particular, what I really liked was that it could be enjoyed by
our younger naturalists as well.
The book is nicely laid out with
illustrations and photographs, easy to read species accounts,
including identification characteristics, activity patterns,
reproduction, diet, and habitat. Other information such as range
maps, similar species, best sites for viewing and a "Did you Know"
trivia section provide additional details about each species.
It also makes a very good attempt at
dispelling the myths, fears and misconceptions that have developed
around reptiles and amphibians, and helps to make the connection
as to how each species plays a special role in our environment. I
particularly liked the Species-at-Risk overview which includes the
current status of each species and why it may be at risk - very
appropriate and timely.
Another treasure from Lone Pine!
- Nancy is a private consultant biologist
who enjoys finding species at risk!
Reptiles and Amphibians of Canada would be an
excellent book for the novice naturalist or for anyone wanting to
learn a little more about the "herps" in their backyard.
Similar to other books published by
Lone Pine, this one begins with "species at a glance" pages,
helping the reader to navigate to the critter they are looking
for. The book's introduction is twelve pages long, and is
informative and very well written. The reader is educated in plain
language about the evolution of reptiles and amphibians and of the
basic life cycles of each. The vast habitats in Canada are
separated into the temperate West Coast, interior Okanagan,
Grasslands, Great Lakes region and the Maritimes with some general
characteristics of each explained. The next section in the
introduction is called "The Good, the Bad and the Misconceptions"
and it delves into some of the reasons that people have a fear of
the scaled and slimy. The "Hands On" section of the introduction
gives people a crash course in handling (or not) the critters they
might find in the field. This section has some really good advice,
including making sure your hands are clean (no bug spray),
handling gently, and promptly returning to the point of
The individual species accounts
feature illustrations for the most part, as well as some "getting
to know you" information about the species and then the
identification features, range, etc. Although the illustrations
are wonderful, in some cases they seem a little blurry, and may
not be sufficient for someone using the book for species
identification. There are photographs of several species, and
these are clear, colourful, and of excellent quality.
Other interesting features of the book
are the "Did you know?" sections which present interesting
factoids for the different species. For example, "Did you know?
Coastal tailed frogs are the longest-lived frogs in Canada; some
individuals live up to 20 years!..." Also, the glossary section
gives a few good explanations of commonly used "herp
All in all, this book is well written
and illustrated, and gives the beginner naturalist, young or old,
a good introduction to reptiles and amphibians.
- Lauren is a biologist currently employed
as the Fire Management Clerk, Pembroke Fire Management
Headquarters, Ministry of Natural Resources, Pembroke.