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Secrets of Snakes

By David A. Steen with a Foreword by Harry Greene.

  • Series: W. L. Moody Jr. Natural History Series (Book 61)
  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Texas A&M University Press; First edition (September 23, 2019)

Snakes inspire extreme reactions. Love or hate these limbless reptiles, almost everyone is fascinated by them. Although snakes are widespread and frequently encountered, they may be more misunderstood than any other group of animals. From giant rattlesnakes to mating dances, there are dozens of myths and misconceptions about snakes. In Secrets of Snakes: The Science beyond the Myths, wildlife biologist David Steen tackles the most frequently asked questions and clears up prevailing myths.

In a conversational style with a bit of humor, Steen presents the relevant biology and natural history of snakes, making the latest scientific research accessible to a general audience. When addressing myths about snakes, he explains how researchers use the scientific method to explain which parts of the myth are biologically plausible and which are not.

Steen also takes a close look at conventional wisdom and common advice about snakes. For example, people are told they can distinguish coralsnakes from non-venomous mimics by remembering the rhyme, “red on black, friend of Jack, red on yellow, kill a fellow,” but this tip is only relevant to coralsnakes and two mimics living in the southeastern United States, and it does not always work with other species or in other countries.

Enhanced by more than 100 stunning color photographs and three original drawings, Secrets of Snakes: The Science beyond the Myths encourages readers to learn about the snakes around them and introduces them to how scientists use the scientific method and critical thinking to understand the natural world.

“Genuinely fun.”  – Species Podcast

“Fun and informative.” – The Revelator

“This is the perfect book for anyone interested in learning more about snakes.” – Melissa Amarello, Executive Director of Advocates for Snake Preservation.

“Enjoyable and informative and just plain fun to read.” – John MacGregor, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

From Amazon reviews:

  • “What a great book!! The author has a real talent for taking science & biology and making it easy and fun to understand.”
  • “This is such an accessible and engaging book.”
  • “This book is so wonderfully written that people from the level of snake-researchers to those that simply know that snakes are slithery reptiles will understand and learn several amazing things about snakes.”

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or wherever else you buy or borrow books.

Want a signed copy? Send $30 via PayPal to cover the book, shipping and handling (US only; $44 for Canada), and PayPal fees. Remember to include your shipping address and any special instructions (otherwise it will just be my name and the date); send me a message if you have any questions or do not have PayPal). Please note, I anticipate receiving my next batch of books in mid-November.