A great Herpetoculture resource from a noted Dutchman

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Jimi
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A great Herpetoculture resource from a noted Dutchman

Post by Jimi » July 6th, 2016, 6:59 pm

Asian Pitvipers - Breeding Experience and Wildlife, by Dick Visser

from Chimaira, the same folks who published the Snakes of Mexico book recently discussed elsewhere on FHF

I just got a copy in, it's a real trove of distributional, ecological, and cultural info, plus it's loaded with great photos and some fun stories from Dick.

The technical "keeper" info is also pretty exceptional. It's pure Euro-style (big cages, naturalistic set-ups, natural feeding, close approximation of home-area temp & moisture cycles etc etc), not every American's cup of tea and certainly not the only way to succeed, but it accords closely with my own experiences and the biases & preferences I have developed.

If you're not into viper keeping or book collecting, most of the technical info here would translate pretty well to certain frogs, lizards, and particularly arboreal tropical & subtropical nonvenomous snakes. Plus like I said, there's a lot of info about e.g. climates and species of particular areas. So it would be a useful travel-planning resource too, for you photography nuts.

Highly recommended, no reservations.

cheers

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Kelly Mc
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Re: A great Herpetoculture resource from a noted Dutchman

Post by Kelly Mc » August 21st, 2016, 11:35 am

Sounds very tasty.

Jimi
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Re: A great Herpetoculture resource from a noted Dutchman

Post by Jimi » September 29th, 2016, 12:19 pm

I was a little disappointed but not really surprised that this book was MOL panned in a recent book review published in Herp Review. The author was a noted "new school" (my words, anyway...) systematist from U-Bangor, who led a major revision of SE Asian pitvipers. She didn't really get the book, and sort of dissed herpetoculture. Specific beefs included some misspelled Indian place-names, a couple of taxonomic anachronisms, and "too many photos, too expensive". Oh well...it seems the academic-hobbyist congeniality doesn't extend north of the Channel? Not that an American can throw rocks on that account.

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Jeff
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Re: A great Herpetoculture resource from a noted Dutchman

Post by Jeff » September 29th, 2016, 6:56 pm

I have reviewed a number of books for Herp Review, and understand that the invited reviewer must have some knowledge of the topic, and provide a vicariant summary of the work for HR readers. The reviewer may have particular views that are objective (someone of Indian descent who is picky about Bangli) or subjective (i.e., 'I could have done better'). "Too many pictures" is a really subjective unless that fact adds a zero to the cost. Or, really, way too many pictures -- like 7 or 17 of the same animal.

Books that attempt to capture both natural history and captive husbandry have a difficult fence to straddle, because it is too easy to lean excessively to one audience while discouraging another. The Chimaira book by Bellosa and Bisplinghoff on Rainbow boas is a good balance, whereas the Barker & Barker Ball Python book leans very much toward the snake in a cage.

I have not yet acquired Visser's Viper book, though it is on my list. Malhotra's review has not modified my interest in the book because I was able to look at a copy, so my thoughts on her review are of no consequence. Ultimately, most books that HR sends for review are good books, and worthy of purchase depending on one's interests and financial ability.

If Gerry wrote a book on alterna I would buy it, regardless of what any quibbles an HR reviewer might expurgate.

Jeff

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jonathan
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Re: A great Herpetoculture resource from a noted Dutchman

Post by jonathan » September 30th, 2016, 3:26 am

Jimi wrote:The technical "keeper" info is also pretty exceptional. It's pure Euro-style (big cages, naturalistic set-ups, natural feeding, close approximation of home-area temp & moisture cycles etc etc), not every American's cup of tea and certainly not the only way to succeed, but it accords closely with my own experiences and the biases & preferences I have developed.

Yeah, it's not the "only" way to succeed, but at least on the polar extreme, the other way to succeed feels way closer to agribusiness than nature to me. Other than the financial incentive and bragging rights, I'll never understand the allure of keeping an animal in an enclosure you can't see, which you wouldn't even really want to see if you could, just so you can know it's there and breed it regularly. It's like a lab experiment or a mass-produced chicken factory. [/rant]

Jimi
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Re: A great Herpetoculture resource from a noted Dutchman

Post by Jimi » September 30th, 2016, 1:24 pm

I have reviewed a number of books for Herp Review, and understand that the invited reviewer must have some knowledge of the topic...
Exactly the requirement that came to mind, Jeff, thank you for mentioning it. This reviewer actually wrote that she had no background - or interest - in herpetoculture, "preferring to see animals in nature" or some such, but then proceeded with the review. I came away feeling that she probably ought to have just declined the request to review the book (I assume that's how it works). I reckon she got suckered in by the "Asian pitvipers" part, with which she has significant history. Honestly, I came away thinking she is actually hostile to herpetoculture, which also ought to have led to a recusal. That's where my dig about congeniality came from. Perhaps I should have stowed that...I've had it "up to here" with the attitude though. I'm confronted with it constantly. I suspect you know of what I speak...but perhaps you're luckier than me, or better at declining the bait.
Books that attempt to capture both natural history and captive husbandry have a difficult fence to straddle, because it is too easy to lean excessively to one audience while discouraging another.
Yep, she made that point herself. And I do take the point. My read of the book, however, is that it's directed at European-school herpetoculturists, who have need/desire of more species-specific natural history info, in order to do a better job for their charges. As someone with just that orientation, I could appreciate the book perhaps more than the reviewer...if I want to keep current on systematics (one of the more pointed reviewer quibbles), well, I can just follow the work of the Wuster lab for example.
I have not yet acquired Visser's Viper book, though it is on my list. ... Ultimately, most books that HR sends for review are good books, and worthy of purchase depending on one's interests and financial ability.
Great, I think you'll enjoy it (seems since you've already looked at it, you're certain of that). And I agree on simple principle, that books are worth buying. When people stop buying books, others will stop writing, editing, publishing, distributing, and reviewing books. Sounds like the dawning of a new Dark Age to me. I'll keep my wallet handy.
Other than the financial incentive and bragging rights, I'll never understand the allure of keeping...
I'm right there with you Jonathan. I've dabbled in racks and tubs, and understand their short-term utility for things like hatchling grow-out, quarantine, etc. But for long-term dedicated housing? No thanks. Not hosing anybody it pleases, but it's not for me. Here's an example of Dick's craft, which is much more to my liking:
http://www.ssnakess.com/forums/enclosur ... arium.html

cheers

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WSTREPS
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Re: A great Herpetoculture resource from a noted Dutchman

Post by WSTREPS » September 30th, 2016, 8:17 pm

Other than the financial incentive and bragging rights, I'll never understand the allure of keeping
The Invisible Ark: In Defense of Captivity by David and Tracy Barker 2014, is suggested reading.

As for Asian Pitvipers - Breeding Experience and Wildlife, by Dick Visser, its true that "Books that attempt to capture both natural history and captive husbandry have a difficult fence to straddle" but its equally true that the author's of such books are trying too reach the largest audience possible. Its also true that more people involved in herpetoculture (including the scientist who keep these animals) are likely to buy this book then scientist who think that misspelled Indian place-names, a couple of taxonomic anachronisms or too many photos is somehow important to the ecology of Asian Pitvipers (the only thing that matters),

The quality of the information pertaining to the living animals and what is known about how they achieve their life goals is the only matter of true importance. If the book succeeds in this area then the book is a valuable asset. Consequently its completely meaningless if the number of supralabials or the flavor of the month nomenclature, grammar in this or any book pertaining to living creatures is accurate or agreed upon by anyone. Other than the financial incentive and bragging rights, I'll never understand the allure of keeping jars filled with dead snakes and counting scales.

Ernie Eison

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Bryan Hamilton
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Re: A great Herpetoculture resource from a noted Dutchman

Post by Bryan Hamilton » October 3rd, 2016, 10:46 am

Hey Ernie,

That book is over $200 on amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/The-Invisible-Ar ... 0978541111

I haven't put enough snakes in jars to afford it at that price. Any alternative places to buy it?

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Tom Lott
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Re: A great Herpetoculture resource from a noted Dutchman

Post by Tom Lott » October 4th, 2016, 7:25 am

A great little book that's $15 directly from the Barkers. They are, however, currently sold out but are preparing a new edition, possibly to include an ebook version.

http://vpi.com/store

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