Saturday, July 21, 2007
A Book Review: Tennant's 2006 "Texas Snakes", 3rd ed., Lone Star Field Guide
First off, let me say this; if you've put off buying this book because you already have the 1984 Snakes of Texas (now a collector's item) and assume that this field guide series is just a smaller/abridged version of the former - you've assumed wrong - this book is complementary and is an appendage to Tennant's work from '84.
The only "downside" to this book is that many of the photos are the same as the ones in the Werler and Dixon books. If there is ever a 4th edition, I'm sure that many of the herpers of Texas would be glad and willing to offer newer natural-setting photos of all the snakes of Texas and their respective morphs - so that could be easily remedied. Now that I've got that out of the way, let's get down to the nitty-gritty.
I purchased this book last month inside Big Bend National Park at the park entrance headquarters, just north of Panther Junction. It's a splendid souvenir of a memorable herping trip to the Trans-Pecos. When I was thumbing through the book, the first thing I noticed is that the content is completely revised in the Trans-Pecos Ratsnake section. All of the stories, anecdotes, science tidbits, and records are updated and different from the 1984 Snakes of Texas. I was essentially forced to buy it, so that my own TPRS book's Natural History and Color Morphs chapters would be more complete and accurate.
Essentially, if you want some recently updated science on the 109 species of Texas snakes, then get this book.
One cool coincidence, the painter who provided the cover artwork of the gray-banded kingsnake, Ed Acuña, was out herping the River Road the day I bought this book, and I bumped into him that same night. Kinda odd, eh?