BOAS AND PYTHONS
OF THE WORLD

by
Mark O'Shea
New Holland Publishers

2007

BBC WILDLIFE MAGAZINE
BOOK OF THE MONTH
May 2007



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160 pages
over 100 detailed species accounts
over 150 full colour photographs
and a Foreword by Dave and Tracy Barker, Vida Preciosa, Boerne, Texas

Publisher's synopsis: Few reptiles command more respect than the mighty boas and pythons. From eleven-metre-long anacondas in the Amazon to the diminutive Javelin Sand Boa, no longer than 80 centimetres, these are the longest members of the snake family. Supremely beautiful, they embody power and grace. But are they gentle giants or finely tuned killing machines? This book provides the answers, exploring the world of these huge snakes on a fascinating journey through the five continents they inhabit. It describes the distribution, habitat, life and habits of all the known species of boa and python, as well as highlighting the threats these magnificent creatures face from habitat destruction, hunting and climate change. Also included are the often overlooked but fascinating basal snakes, primitive relatives of the boas and pythons. Lavishly illustrated throughout with stunning photographs (many taken by the author and not published before), "Boas and Pythons" provides comprehensive and authoritative information in a lively and accessible format - a fitting celebration of one of the most fascinating yet little-known groups in the reptile world.

"Boas and Pythons of the World" comprises five chapters arranged geographically
as in its sister volume "Venomous Snakes of the World":

INTRODUCTION: Evolution of leglessness as an advanced state; Anatomy of snakes;
Basal snake diversity and distribution; Constriction: Giant snakes: myth or monster?;
Man-eating snakes; Life underground, and Conservation.

THE AMERICAS: American blindsnakes; American basal snakes;
American Macrostomatan snakes, andAmerican boas.

EUROPE AND ASIA: European and Asian blindsnakes; Asian basal snakes;
Asian macrostomatan snakes; Eurasian sand boas, and Asian pythons.

AFRICA AND THE INDIAN OCEAN ISLANDS: African blindsnakes; African boas;
African pythons, and Indian Ocean boas.

AUSTRALASIA AND THE PACIFIC OCEAN ISLANDS: Australasian blindsnakes;
Indo-Australian basal snakes; Australasian pythons, and Pacific boas.

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(note: only the UK edition is available from this website)

Reviews of the UK edition:

BBC Wildlife Magazine Book of the Month
"Mark O'Shea is probably best known for his exploits on television,
but he is also a serious scientist,
which is refleced in the pages dealingwith evolution and anatomy.
He has that enviable knack of communicating scientific knowledge in
layman's terms and backing it up with terrific accounts of his first-hand encounters.

The book will appeal to a wide readership, from serious students to anyone with a crush on snakes. "
Dr Tony Phelps, Cape Reptile Institute
BBC Wildlife Magazine May 2007:78-79.

 

"Through this book confirms that boa constrictors cannot swallow elephants,
Mark O'Shea's undoubted enthusiasm for these snakes provics plenty of consolation
by evoking the magic of the natural world. His quoted observations, in particular,
bring the species to life."

Fergus Collins, Features Editor, BBC Wildlife
BBC Focus Magazine May 2007:84.

 

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click on a spread below to enlarge

World map showing distribution of
basal snakes, boas and python families
included in
"Boas and Pythons of the World"

click on maps for larger versions
high quality versions are included in the book

Contents pages

Chapter opener for Australasia and
the Pacific Islands

 

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American English and Foreign Language Editions
(note: only the UK edition is available from this website)

US edition
Princeton University Press
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German edition
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