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Reptiles and Amphibians (Golden Guides) (1953)

by Herbert Spencer Zim, Hobart M. Smith (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Golden Guides (Nature)

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744329,775 (3.5)2
Sections on turtles, lizards, snakes, alligators and crocodiles, frogs and toads, and salamanders give information on description, habits and range for each species common in the United States.
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As kids, we had several Golden Guides, which offered a handy means of identification of animals we'd encounter in our yard, the woods, and the nearby park. This guide probably didn't get much use (since other than the occasional garter snake and frog, our paths weren't crossed very often by amphibians and reptiles. Nevertheless, it was fun to page through the guide to see the different types of lizards, snakes, and turtles. Who'd have imagined that someday I'd grow up and make such animals the subject of intensive study, and to build a research career out of them!
1 vote rybie2 | May 30, 2022 |
When I was a kid, this was our "go-to" reference for identification of amphibians and reptiles. As a "Golden Nature Guide" paperback, it is small enough to slip into a pocket or backpack.

It contains detailed color illustrations, along with descriptions of the individual animals' morphology and natural history, and a small distribution map. Geographic coverage is of US species (thus, the "American" of the title refers to that portion of North America governed by the US). Separate chapters are devoted to turtles, lizards, snakes, alligators and crocodiles, frogs & toads, and salamanders. Species and species groupings are identified by common name (thus scientific names are not given). Introductory sections deal briefly with evolutionary history, fact and fable, "values" of reptiles and of amphibians (hmmm...), conservation, snake bite, and activities (including collecting and care in captivity).

This particular guide has the distinction of being authored by Herbert Zim along with the eminent herpetologist Hobart Smith. Its authorship gives assurance that it was up to date, as of 1956, in terms of taxonomy, geographical distributions, and natural history.

Having been published over 50 years ago, this small nature guide will mainly be of historical interest and to collectors of natural history ephemera. Now, of course, it has long since been superceded by works more complete, accurate, and current. ( )
3 vote danielx | Jun 14, 2017 |
Serves its purpose, perhaps, but is too basic. Good for kids. ( )
  Sandydog1 | Dec 6, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Herbert Spencer Zimprimary authorall editionscalculated
Smith, Hobart M.Authormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Irving, James GordonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Golden Guides (Nature)
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Sections on turtles, lizards, snakes, alligators and crocodiles, frogs and toads, and salamanders give information on description, habits and range for each species common in the United States.

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