Saturday, October 28, 2006


Hands down...the best snake husbandry book ever written

I had recently requested that my school (Brigham Young University) library order a couple of top-notch snake books for the herpetoculture section, namely both volumes of Pythons of the World.

Well, they just got both of the books in, and all I can say is,"Wow!" about 1000 times.

The vol. 2, Ball Pythons book is so dead on and has such an edge of professionalism, but at the same time has an "everyman's" tonality. The thing that makes this book such a cut above any other snake book is the fact that every entry in the text was written from the perspective of two people who have seen herpetoculture from just about every perspective of experience you can imagine. Even the well-covered topics that you have read in about a hundred other snake books has many different, fresh insights and observations that you've never heard or seen before.

David and Tracy Barker have been there keeping 1000s of snakes since the 1960s. Fifteen years ago as a teenager, when I started getting The Vivarium mailed to my house, there was usually a fantastic article by the Barkers in each issue.

Just as a bit of history on the Barkers and their experience/perspectives, Tracy bought one of her first snakes from Trooper Walsh in a pet store long ago, just like many of us got our first snake at a pet store. David had to wait until he was 17 before his mother let him keep a snake.

The authors both wrote in a perspective that includes practically everyone and their individual situation; from the youth who has one normal ball python in his room to the serious breeder with many types of high-end morphs...this book was written for everyone. To continue, they also have the perspective of large-scale snake breeders, and not just pythons (many, MANY types of herps). They have the perspective of biologists who have extensively studies herps in school. They have the perspective of zookeepers. They have the perspective of courageous entrepreneurs, having a hugely successful snake ranch business (Vida Preciosa International). They have the perspective of snake shippers, buyers, sellers and on and on and on.

Bottom line, this is the most extensively covered book written on a single species of snake, and the snake husbandry info alone is applicable to almost any type of snake kept in captivity. Keep in mind that the Barkers were the first people in the western hemisphere to hatch out an albino suboc, so they have that perspective too.

The book can be purchased from their web site, If there was any one book that I had to pick among the myriad others to recommend to the modern snake keeper, it would be Pythons of the World, Volume II Ball Pythons: The History, Natural History, Care and Breeding by David G. Barker and Tracy M. Barker. I wouldn't think twice about any other.

This is the one to put on your Christmas list.

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