Author’s Preface

From the time Man inhabited the Earth he has had to contend with snakes. His earliest reaction was no doubt confined to avoiding contact with snakes, as most people do today. When he started rock painting his subjects often included snakes, many of which had been carefully observed and drawn with sufficient detail to identify the species as we know them today.

Since then snakes have played a significant part in ancient stories, many of which gave rise to strange beliefs and superstitions. Perhaps this is not surprising when considering some of the unusual characteristics, such as the apparent ease with which the limbless body is propelled, an ability to swallow proportionately enormous prey without suffocation and methods for killing prey by envenomation or constriction. Today the same characteristics attract attention to such an extent that recently gathered statistics from several large zoological institutes showed that, in respect of number of visitors and duration of viewing time, reptile enclosures were most popular. ….

Snakes play a useful role in our society, particularly as most of them prey upon small vermin, thus benefiting the fields of health and agriculture. They should therefore not be killed indiscriminately, especially if encountered in areas remote from human habitation. Part of the object of this book is to help dispel some of the basic fears about snakes and to show that one need be concerned only with a very few dangerous snakes.

Information on snakes from the whole of Africa is normally obtainable only from books and other literature dealing with separate parts of Africa. It was this fact that prompted me to channel this information into a single book which may, I hop, serve a useful purpose. ….

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Authored by R.M. Isemonger and published by Books of Africa of Cape Town in 1983. Hard cover bound, this Mask Reprint Edition is in Fine condition, and without a dust jacket. The size of the book is 187x114x19mm. ISBN 094995621.

284 pp incl indexes. All pages uniformly yellowing. 16pp col photo plates, each with up to 3 photos of snakes. Line dwgs in text. A second copy, with plastic is available at R50 more, in similar condition except the tanning is lighter and the copy is covered in plastic