Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Book Review - Kentucky Snakes

After yet again referencing it a few days ago, I decided that Kentucky Snakes by Bill Moore and Tim Slone deserved a review. Technically, I suppose it is more accurately categorized as a booklet, than a book, as it is only 32 pages long. A PDF copy of the book is available on the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife website.

The book includes descriptions of thirty-two snakes found in the state. Each description includes an image showing the areas of the state in which the given snake can be found, making it easy to narrow down identification to those likely to be located in a given area. The description also includes information on the snakes appearance, size, and general behavior.

There is only one photo of each snake in the book, but it is simple to find other examples online. This is made easier, in my opinion, by the presence of the scientific name of each snake, rather than only the common name. I have found that there are often many different common names used for the same animal. I have also found that the common names are sometimes ambiguous, and likely are used to refer to multiple snakes. For example, one of the most common snakes in this area is the "Black Snake". It wasn't until I looked through this book that I realized that a black snake in this area could be a Black Rat Snake (Elaphe o. obsoleta), Black Racer (Coluber c. constrictor), or Black Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula nigra).

As a free publication I couldn't really ask for anything more from this booklet. It is a great resource for anyone living in the state of Kentucky who wishes to identify snakes, or just learn how to recognize those that are venomous. I have certainly found that my reaction to snakes is much different now that I know how to differentiate the two venomous species of the area from the others that are harmless or even beneficial.

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