Reptile/ snake book for herping Cal/Nev/Utah

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Frankvanbalken
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Reptile/ snake book for herping Cal/Nev/Utah

Post by Frankvanbalken »

Hi

Can anybody advice me a good book for identifiing reptiles for my trip to zion,vegas,mohave and california this summer?. I'm looking for a book that displays each reptile separate with a picture or drawing for identification and a range map. And also basic information for instance if the snake is venomous.
Preferably a book with all species not just a selection
I googled for a book but couldn't find the right one

Hope you can help
Thanks

Frank

craigb
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Re: Reptile/ snake book for herping Cal/Nev/Utah

Post by craigb »

I used "Stebbins, Robert C. " Field guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians for the first two decades I herped. It was 1972 to about 1992, I carried it everywhere.

Now I research online and have a good idea of what to expect before I go.

Happy Trails :thumb:

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jonathan
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Re: Reptile/ snake book for herping Cal/Nev/Utah

Post by jonathan »

If you really want to keep up with all the taxanomic changes, it's tough for print guides to stay current. And I've read a pretty bad review of the latest Stebbins edition (even though the 1st edition is what I grew up with).

For California I default to the CaliforniaHerps website, which has far more pictures and stays far more current than any field guide. It's so much nicer to page through a physical field guide though.

http://www.californiaherps.com/

Jimi
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Re: Reptile/ snake book for herping Cal/Nev/Utah

Post by Jimi »

Hi Frank,

You're looking for a comprehensive field guide - a small, lightweight, inexpensive, durable book that will depict any wild reptile you find. To go with the standard, just get yourself a Stebbins ("Western Reptiles and Amphibians"). Having eventually destroyed my first edition, I'm still trying to wreck my second edition, which was well-built, just like the first. I think the current version is the 4th. I've never even looked at that one; I didn't fall in love with the 3rd, so stuck with #2. To each their own...

You could (probably should) also look up the SSAR (Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles) "Checklist of the Standard Names..." - https://ssarherps.org/publications/nort ... checklist/. AKA "Crother et al". The most current edition (the 8th) was published in 2017.

Taxonomic names - which are just representations of our current understanding of identities & evolutionary relationships - are always in flux. You can try and keep up in real time, but you won't. Nobody can, for everything. There's people everywhere, working on everything, motioning (via research, presentations, and publications) to change taxonomic names all the time. Some of these suggested changes are generally accepted eventually, many aren't; only time will tell, which is just the nature of science in general; systematics (which drives taxonomy) is no exception. If you drill down into one species complex or genus, or a small family (say, night lizards, or Eublepharine geckos), you can do alright. But for the whole spectrum of SW USA reptiles or even just snakes, just use something dated but authoritative (like Crother et al), and you can go back and revise the currently-accepted identities of what you saw, on your own schedule.

Good hunting, safe travels!

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jonathan
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Re: Reptile/ snake book for herping Cal/Nev/Utah

Post by jonathan »

Haha, I don't think it's as hard as all that. You just have to know which resource will keep you updated.

I agree that it's not generally too important to know that Shasta Salis were split into three due to genetics or whether cal mountain kings are five subspecies or two species. But the 2nd Edition Stebbins only had 3 slender species instead of all 21 of the often quite interesting and distinct slender. It doesn't know what a Sandstone Night Lizard or a Swataki's Banded Gecko is. It can't tell you how to tell a Forest Sharptail apart from a Common Sharptail or that they live in different habitats. I don't think it know that there are Hydromantes in Owens Valley, or that half the frogs listed for SoCal basically aren't found there anymore. It's a pretty big gap.

Frankvanbalken
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Joined: September 6th, 2019, 5:18 am

Re: Reptile/ snake book for herping Cal/Nev/Utah

Post by Frankvanbalken »

Thanks guys

I see there is no straightforward answer to my question.
I really like to have a book with me so i think i will go with the stebbins although it is not totally up to date.
It will suit my needs of tourist herper
The calherps website is also a very good tip.


Thanks

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