summertime book of the week…coil up with a book about snakes!

snakes cover imageSnakes, by Nic Bishop

The only snakes I really like, I freely admit, are garter snakes. No poison is a good reason why.  I love the rare occasions when I spot one of these black and yellow-striped guys, sunning himself on a pathway usually, and quickly scooting into the grasses to avoid me. We used to catch them as kids in northern Minnesota and try to house them in cardboard boxes. They always got away but they were just scary enough to be really, really cool to handle.

Nic Bishop — wildlife photographer extraordinaire — says it took him awhile to be willing to do a book about snakes BUT…it wasn’t because he doesn’t like snakes. In probably the most fascinating Author’s Note I have ever read, Nic tells us the many challenges of taking pictures of these shy creatures AND some amazing stories about

The intrepid Nic Bishop

The intrepid Nic Bishop

his encounters with some of the fellas he photographed for this book. Good grief! What he went through! — You should really read this book JUST to make it worth his while to go through all that difficulty!

Happily, that is not the only reason to check out this awesome book by one of my favorite nature authors, because even if you are like me and are Decidedly Not Fond of Snakes — you will find this book amazing and will learn all manner of fascinating facts about these incredible reptiles. Plus, you will get oh-so-very-close to them, with no worries.

eyelash viper by nic bishopFrom a brilliantly-emerald green tree python to a super-camouflaged Asian sand viper,or a African, Gaboon viper that looks for all the world like a dry leaf on the forest floor — these are beautiful, colorful, intricately-patterned, widely-varying animals.  Bishop’s brilliant close-ups of them reveal the mesmerizing symmetry of scales, the intense colors, even the tiny windpipe in a wide pink mouth enabling it to breath while crammed full of prey. Have you seen a snake yawn? Or the ridiculous size of a snake with a massive egg enclosed in its jaw? Or even (and this is not for the faint of heart) a constrictor squeezing a …mole?…to death?! Sheesh!

Page after page of large, intensely-close, stunning photographs are accompanied by a paragraph of well-written text telling us about the variety in size of snakes around the world, as well as interesting facts about their bodies, molting, motion, senses, cold-king snake by nic bishopbloodedness, protection mechanisms, and of course their feeding habits and venom. That’s the ooky part, so…if you want to skip some of it, I won’t tell. Bishop uses vivid language and tells it like it is, so for those who are really curious, his explanations are plain and direct. Very well done.

If snakes really aren’t your kid’s thing, Bishop has other books in this Closer Look series that you should definitely check out. I love his work!

Here’s the Amazon link for this slithery entry:  Nic Bishop Snakes