Snakes cover

Peter Stafford

Illustrated with stunning colour images, this book gives a comprehensive biology and natural history of snakes while also highlighting the case for snakes as a valuable and ecologically important group.

978 0 565 09149 1
September 2000
235 x 210 mm
112 pp
Colour throughout
Natural History Museum


Whether loathed, feared, admired or worshipped, snakes evoke stronger human reactions than almost any other animal. Moving gracefully without limbs, swallowing meals often several times larger than their own heads, and with many having venomous bites, they never fail to fascinate.

From garter snakes and vipers to boas and pythons, Peter Stafford describes the biology and natural history of snakes, highlighting the variety and complexity of this group that includes almost 3000 living species. He also includes information on habitat, conservation status and unusual behaviour to complete this comprehensive and fully illustrated introduction to the snakes of the world and their fascinating lives.

This title is now out of print.

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Peter Stafford was involved in the study of the biology of snakes for many years. He wrote and co-authored several books on herpetology, including both The Adder and A Guide to the Reptiles of Belize.

He was a member of several herpetological societies and editor of the British Herpetological Society Bulletin. He worked as a pollen biologist at the Natural History Museum until his death in 2009.


Find out what others think of this book.

"This book is one to recommend. What a fine book! Your initial positive impression of the book is confirmed by leafing through the book: the good layout, the nice letter type, the clear drawings and wonderful photos. Subjects are concisely explained in a vivid no-nonsense manner of writing. What makes it more enjoyable for the more well read reader, are his descriptions of the 'exceptions' to the general rule. All in all this is a good buy for beginners and for the more advanced because next to a thorough introduction to the snake world, it covers the large diversity of this world. "

Volume 21, no. 2 - Litteratura Serpentium (European Snake Society)

"This is a lovely title from the Natural History Museum's new Life Series. It explores all areas of a snake's world from biology to history, feeding and breeding, documenting the many different species, their habitats, and unique and unusual behaviour. Included throughout the text is some stunning photography of some of the most interesting species alive, making this great general reading with some amazing facts to shock and surprise."

Pet Reptile

"I must admit I was expecting another simplistic book about snakes regurgitating the same information and photographs seen in many publications these days. However author Peter Stafford (editor of the British Herpetological Society Bulletin) has succeeded in putting together a very well thought out and researched guide to the different snake groups. Overall I found the book very informative and pitched at about the right level to appeal to pretty much anyone with an interest in snakes. It is not packed with scientific jargon but presents detailed factual information in a very readable manner. It's relatively small size and reasonable price make it a worthy addition to any collection."

The Herptile

"This book by the editor of the Bulletin of the British Herpetological Society highlights the variety and complexity of an often misunderstood group of vertebrates which worldwide includes almost 3,000 living species. The evolution, biology and natural history of snakes is fascinatingly and comprehensively dealt with and the quality of the numerous colour photographs is justification enough to acquire this book. The Natural History Museum's Life Series forms an authoritative, attractive and highly accessible introduction to a range of natural history subjects written by some of the world's leading specialists. A standard and particularly useful feature is a good glossary, up-to-date bibliography, contact with relevant specialist societies and of great value is the range of addresses for internet resources."

No. 126 - The Naturalist

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