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Stalking the Plumed Serpent
And Other Adventures in Herpetology
By D. Bruce Means, PhD.
Send a check made out to Bruce Means, at 1313 Milton Street, Tallahassee, FL 32303.Based on his more than 40 years of field research, the author reveals the biological complexity and exquisite beauty of animals that he has studied all over the world. Most people loathe these reptiles and amphibians, but Means paints stories of his love and admiration for creatures that go bump in the night.
The author is a world expert on the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, which he calls the “Gentle Ben” of venomous snakes, as it prefers to hide and not rattle. We learn that the alligator snapper is a big, hulking turtle intent on luring fishes with its wormlike tongue. We find out that though many Southern woodsmen have reported the cottonmouth “chasing” them, this behavior is actually just a snake’s version of bluffing.
A little further from his Florida Panhandle home, in Costa Rica, Means manages to find the rare and deadly bushmaster, but his adventure is further heightened by the eruption of a volcano—where his two young sons are hiking. In Australia, he searches for a breeding pair of "roughies," the rare rough-scaled python, as well as the "fiercey," reputed to be the world’s deadliest terrestrial snake. In Mexico, he stalks the rattlesnake that might have served as the model for the mythical “plumed serpent” of Maya shown with a tail with rattles.
Through his eyes and experiences, Means hopes that readers will gain a new appreciation for animals without fur or feathers—animals called herps, or creeping-crawling things. This book is about his love for herps, i.e., herpetophilia, a subdivision of E. O. Wilson’s biophilia.
1313 Milton St.
Tallahassee, FL 32303
|© 2003 D. Bruce Means|