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Reptiles and Amphibians of Canada    by Chris Fisher & Ronald Brooks order for
Reptiles and Amphibians of Canada
by Chris Fisher
Order:  USA  Can
Lone Pine, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Though I have absorbed an interest in frogs from my sons - and especially enjoy seeing them hopping around the lakeside - I have to admit that I'm not very fond of reptiles, especially the slithering sort. But I picked up Reptiles and Amphibians of Canada in order to learn more about whatever species I might encounter in the woods, and was not disappointed.

Of the two authors, Chris Fisher is a naturalist, while Dr. Ronald Brooks is co-chair of the Amphibians and Reptiles sub-committee of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Their small reference book opens with handy Species at a Glance pages that present color images of critters - including Turtles, Lizards, Snakes, Salamanders, Frogs & Toads - for quick identification. Below the pictures are names, sizes, and a page number where more information can be obtained.

In their Introduction, the authors tell us that, of the 5500 species of amphibians and 8000 of reptiles worldwide, only 84 (resilient and adaptable) species of both make their homes in Canada - and one third of these are endangered. They cover reptilian and amphibian ancestry and unifying characteristics, and explain which regions (the warmest) of the country they inhabit. They discuss The Good, the Bad and the Misconceptions, and how to handle these creatures (with respect and care, in their habitats).

The two-page coverage for each species includes a photo and general introduction, how to ID it, its Length, Distribution, Habitat, Activity Patterns, Reproduction, Food, Similar Species, and French Name. Having seen them on our lakeside property, I was especially interested in reading about the Snapping Turtle, the Smooth Greensnake, and the Northern Leopard Frog, but will keep this informative field guide at hand for further encounters.

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