Introduction of Myself - New Herper - Advice on Books, etc.

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cjacobi
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Introduction of Myself - New Herper - Advice on Books, etc.

Post by cjacobi » May 24th, 2016, 2:13 pm

Hey everyone.

I've been lurking the forum for a couple months now, and now I've finally decided to post a little something to introduce myself.
I'm a 21 year old college student pursuing my undergrad in Wildllife Management at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. I've been involved in herps slightly since my sophomore year (going to be a senior this fall) but recently this year I've really dove into it. I'm also serve as Vice President for the UTK Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society. Currently, I am a field tech for a company called Copperhead Consulting for the summer.

I wanted to ask you guys - what are the keystone books on snakes? For example, most birders love Sibley's bird field guides. Is there something equivalent to snakes? (or herps in general, I just have a strong interest in serpentes)

Also, here's is my HerpMapper profile, if you wanted to take a look. Nothing too exciting yet, but I'm updating it when I can. http://www.herpmapper.org/profile/1982-charles_jacobi

Thanks guys. :thumb:

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Bryan Hamilton
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Re: Introduction of Myself - New Herper - Advice on Books, e

Post by Bryan Hamilton » May 24th, 2016, 2:53 pm

The new edition of the Peterson field guide to eastern reptiles and amphibians is critical.

Also Harry Greene's Snakes: The Evolution of Mystery in Nature.

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beemaster
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Re: Introduction of Myself - New Herper - Advice on Books, e

Post by beemaster » May 27th, 2016, 1:38 pm

I fully agree with the two above recommendations. Grew up on those old Peterson's guides, and Greene's book completely changed how I looked at the natural world. That truly is not an exaggeration; everything just clicked in a way it hadn't before after I read it.

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mfb
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Re: Introduction of Myself - New Herper - Advice on Books, e

Post by mfb » May 29th, 2016, 4:49 am

Bryan's suggestions are spot-on.

Rick Shine's book, Australian Snakes: A Natural History is also well worth reading. The information and stories are widely applicable beyond Australian snakes.
http://www.amazon.com/Australian-Snakes ... 0801482615

You should also consider joining (as a student member) some of the professional herpetology societies.

SSAR: Society for the Study of Reptiles and Amphibians https://ssarherps.org/
The SSAR also publishes several journals. Herpetological review is a mix of natural history notes, technical notes, and scientific studies. Herp Review also has relatively recently added a Herpetoloculture section. You can get back issues of Herpetological Review online for free:
http://www.zenscientist.com/index.php/p ... ar_public/

The American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists: http://www.asih.org/
Another major Herpetological Professional Society.

These societies also have an annual meeting that may be worth going to, but it is expensive.
http://conferences.k-state.edu/joint-meeting/

Hope this is helpful, Mike

dthor68
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Re: Introduction of Myself - New Herper - Advice on Books, e

Post by dthor68 » May 30th, 2016, 10:26 am

When it comes to Field Guides the two best books I have ever come across are Roger Conant's Reptiles and Amphibians of the Eastern United States and Allen Tennent's Snakes of Texas. I am not speaking about the little Field Guide but the giant book on Texas Snakes. That book goes into incredible detail. Even though Texas is more than a day away from me, I still flip through it occasionally. Roger Conants book definitely needs some revising on the maps. A lot of animals in that book are close to extinction and some animals ranges are actually expanding. Some of the maps were wrong to begin with. All in all it is fairly close.

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chris_mcmartin
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Re: Introduction of Myself - New Herper - Advice on Books, e

Post by chris_mcmartin » May 30th, 2016, 4:51 pm

dthor68 wrote:Allen Tennent's Snakes of Texas. I am not speaking about the little Field Guide but the giant book on Texas Snakes. That book goes into incredible detail.
I think you might be mixing up books...there are three to which you may be referring:

Alan Tennant's "Texas Snakes" book (now in its third edition, which I linked...I have the first two). Not really the best book (but still OK).

Werler and Dixon's "Texas Snakes: A Field Guide;" part of the Texas Natural History field guides (a fantastic series). I think that's the "little field guide" you mention.

Werler and Dixon's "Texas Snakes: Identification, Distribution, and Natural History;" the giant book with incredible detail...this one's the gold standard.
Roger Conants book definitely needs some revising on the maps. A lot of animals in that book are close to extinction and some animals ranges are actually expanding. Some of the maps were wrong to begin with. All in all it is fairly close.
If you're talking about the latest edition which just came out, you're the second person I've heard express concern about the range maps. Travis Taggart handled those for this edition; I think he posts on here occasionally.

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chrish
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Re: Introduction of Myself - New Herper - Advice on Books, e

Post by chrish » May 30th, 2016, 10:03 pm

I think the book dthor68 is referring to is Tennant's original Snakes of Texas book (from 1984). It is pretty good although some of the information is outdated (and was inaccurate back in 84 when it first came out). The Werler & Dixon book (Texas Snakes: Identification, Distribution, and Natural History - 2000) is not only more up to date, it is a better book IMHO.

As for must reads, I think the two books every herper should read are Karl Kauffeld's two books -
Snakes and Snake Hunting
The Keeper and the Kept


Sure there are other similar "tales from the field" books that came later, but Kauffeld's were the first snake hunting books and are still the best.

Will Bird and Phil Peak's Snake Hunting Guide also has a lot of fans. They were big forum contributors a few years back and most of their experience was in Kentucky so might be more applicable to you there in Tennessee.

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Scott Waters
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Re: Introduction of Myself - New Herper - Advice on Books, e

Post by Scott Waters » May 31st, 2016, 9:40 am

http://www.herpnation.com/category/issues/

A magazine that always publishes field herping content. :)

scott

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intermedius
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Re: Introduction of Myself - New Herper - Advice on Books, e

Post by intermedius » May 31st, 2016, 7:37 pm

I agree with all the above suggestions (Kauffeld, Greene, Conant & Collins, and Dixon).

Here are some other books that I have found extremely useful and influential. Not just for snakes, but for herpetology in general:

"Reptile Biodiversity: Standard Methods for Inventory and Monitoring" by Roy McDiarmid, Mercedes Foster, Craig Guyer, J. Whitfield Gibbons and Neil Chernoff

A great resource regarding techniques and methods used by conservation biologists and herpetologists alike.

"A Kansas Snake Community: Composition and Changes over 50 Years" by Henry S. Fitch

An unprecedented study by one of the greatest snake ecologists of our time.

"Phylogenetic Analysis of Morphological Data" by John J. Wiens et al.

A good perspective if you are interested in taxonomy, phylogenetics and systematics.

"Venomous Reptiles of The Western Hemisphere" by Jonathan A. Campbell and William L. Lamar

Buy both volumes. Literally the bible for North, Central and South American venomous snakes and lizards. Everything you want to know and more is in here.

"Snakes of the United States and Canada" by Carl H. Ernst and Evelyn M. Ernst

My favorite and probably the most detailed treatment of North America's snakes - intensive amounts of information.

~

I hope this helps,

- Justin

cjacobi
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Re: Introduction of Myself - New Herper - Advice on Books, e

Post by cjacobi » June 1st, 2016, 5:43 pm

Thanks guys! Sorry I haven't replied - busy working up here in Kentucky. Thank you all for the information. I will definitely hop on some of those books.... :)

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