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Cover image of The Snake and the Salamander
Cover image of The Snake and the Salamander
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The Snake and the Salamander

Reptiles and Amphibians from Maine to Virginia

Text by Alvin R. Breisch
illustrations by Matt Patterson

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A beautifully illustrated tour of the region’s snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, and salamanders.

Winner of the National Outdoor Book Award of the NOBA Foundation (Nature and Environment Category)

In the best tradition of natural history writing and art, The Snake and the Salamander explores the diverse collection of reptiles and amphibians that inhabit the northeastern quadrant of the United States. Covering 13 states that run from Maine to Virginia, author Alvin R. Breisch and artist Matt Patterson showcase the lives of 83 species of snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, and salamanders. These…

A beautifully illustrated tour of the region’s snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, and salamanders.

Winner of the National Outdoor Book Award of the NOBA Foundation (Nature and Environment Category)

In the best tradition of natural history writing and art, The Snake and the Salamander explores the diverse collection of reptiles and amphibians that inhabit the northeastern quadrant of the United States. Covering 13 states that run from Maine to Virginia, author Alvin R. Breisch and artist Matt Patterson showcase the lives of 83 species of snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, and salamanders. These intriguing animals are organized by habitat and type, from forest to grassland to bogs to big waters, and revealed through a combination of Breisch’s engaging prose and Patterson’s original color illustrations.

Breisch’s guided tour combines historical notes and conservation issues with lessons on genetics, evolution, habitats, life histories, and more. Discover how careful attention to frog calls coupled with DNA analysis led to the discovery of a new species of frog in New York City, why evolutionary adaptations made the Eastern Ratsnake a superb climber, and the surprising fact that Spiny Softshell turtles actually sprint on land to retreat from predators. Breisch also tells the odd tale of the Green Frog and the Smooth Greensnake, two "green species" that do not actually have any green pigment in their skin. Every species has a story to tell—one that will keep the reader wanting to learn more.

The breadth of herpetofauna in the area will surprise many readers: more than 8% of the world’s salamanders and 11% of all turtle species live in the region. Beyond numbers, however, lie aesthetics. The surprising colors and fascinating lifestyles of the reptile and amphibian species in this book will mesmerize readers young and old.

Reviews

Reviews

The breadth of herpetofauna in the area will surprise many readers: more than 8% of the world’s salamanders and 11% of all turtle species live in the region. Beyond numbers, however, lie aesthetics. The surprising colors and fascinating lifestyles of the reptile and amphibian species in this book will mesmerize readers young and old.

While most field guides are organized by species, this book is more than a field guide; it places the animals in the context of their environment.

... — go find Al’s book. It is a real gem, full of great insights and huge fun to read.

Recommended. All readers.

The Snake and the Salamander clearly reflects the author’s extensive knowledge and love of our natural world. Readers will be illuminated by its tales and lessons, and should strongly consider adding this book to their libraries.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
8
x
10
Pages
232
ISBN
9781421421575
Illustration Description
93 color illus.
Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
Chapter 1: Northeastern Deciduous Forests
Timber Rattlesnake
Eastern Red-backed Salamander
Northern Slimy Salamander
Wehrle's Salamander
Yonahlossee Salamander
Green Salamander
Northern

Preface
Introduction
Chapter 1: Northeastern Deciduous Forests
Timber Rattlesnake
Eastern Red-backed Salamander
Northern Slimy Salamander
Wehrle's Salamander
Yonahlossee Salamander
Green Salamander
Northern Coal Skink
Northern Rough Greensnake
Ring-necked Snake
Northern Red-bellied Snake
Northern Copperhead
Chapter 2: Dry Pine Woodlands
Fowler's Toad
Eastern Box Turtle
Common Five-lined Skink
Broad-headed Skink
Eastern Fence Lizard
Little Brown Skink
Northern Scarletsnake
Red Cornsnake
Eastern Hog-nosed Snake
Chapter 3: Northeastern Grasslands
Northern Leopard Frog
Eastern Wormsnake
Northern Black Racer
Eastern Ratsnake
Eastern Milksnake
Smooth Greensnake
Northern Brownsnake
Short-headed Gartersnake
Common Gartersnake
Smooth Earthsnake
Chapter 4: Wicked Big Puddles
Blue-spotted Salamander
Jefferson Salamander
Spotted Salamander
Marbled Salamander
American Toad
Gray Treefrog
Wood Frog
Spring Peeper
Upland Chorus Frog
Eastern Spadefoot
Chapter 5: Bogs
Four-toed Salamander
Northern Red Salamander
Pickerel Frog
Western Chorus Frog
Spotted Turtle
Bog Turtle
Eastern Massasauga
Eastern Ribbonsnake
Chapter 6: Headwaters
Northern Dusky Salamander
Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander
Northern Two-lined Salamander
Eastern Long-tailed Salamander
Spring Salamander
Mud Salamander
Queensnake
Chapter 7: Small Waters
Red-spotted Newt
Eastern Cricket Frog
American Bullfrog
Green Frog
Mink Frog
Snapping Turtle
Painted Turtle
Blanding's Turtle
Yellow-bellied Slider
Common Rainbow Snake
Northern Watersnake
Chapter 8: Big Waters
Eastern Hellbender
Common Mudpuppy
Eastern Spiny Softshell
Wood Turtle
Northern Map Turtle
Northern Red-bellied Cooter
Eastern Musk Turtle
Chapter 9: Coastal Plains
Northern Pinesnake
Eastern Tiger Salamander
Many-lined Salamander
Pine Barrens Treefrog
Green Treefrog
Southern Leopard Frog
Carpenter Frog
Eastern Mud Turtle
Northern Diamond-backed Terrapin
Eastern Kingsnake
Suggested References
Appendices
Appendix A. Habitats utilized by species of frogs
Appendix B. Habitats utilized by species of salamanders
Appendix C. Habitats utilized by species of turtles
Appendix D. Habitats utilized by species of lizards
Appendix E. Habitats utilized by species of snakes
Index

Author Bios
Alvin R. Breisch
Featured Contributor

Alvin R. Breisch

Alvin R. Breisch, a collaborator with the Roosevelt Wild Life Station, was the amphibian and reptile specialist and the director of the Amphibian and Reptile Atlas Project for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation until his retirement in 2009. He is a coauthor of The Amphibians and Reptiles of New York State: Identification, Natural History, and Conservation.
Featured Contributor

Matt Patterson

Matt Patterson is the illustrator of Freshwater Fish of the Northeast, which won the 2010 National Outdoor Book Award in the category of Design and Artistic Merit.