About the Author:
Romulus Whitaker has spent the last 50 years wandering around India looking at snakes. He has written extensively and produced award-winning documentaries about reptiles. He lives on a snake infested farm in South India. Ashok Captain is an ophidian taxonomist and photographer who is either in the hill forests of India's remote northeast or the specimen rooms at the Bombay Natural History Society. He is particularly fond of the monsoons, umbrellas and leeches.
The Indian subcontinent is one of the world's hotspots for snake biodiversity. However, the study of this fascinating fauna has long been hampered by the lack of an accessible field guide. For the last 60 years, anyone interested in Indian snakes had only one comprehensive source: Malcolm Smith's Fauna of British India, volume III, published in 1943. Until now. Romulus Whitaker and Ashok Captain have now provided what the world of herpetology has been craving for: a fully illustrated field guide to the Indian snake fauna, covering over 70% of known species, with colour photographs and distribution maps, as well as a comprehensive checklist with distribution maps. Whitaker's decades of field experience throughout India and the unrivalled photographic skills of Ashok Captain resulted in a work that will revolutionize the study and conservation of snakes on the subcontinent. Moreover, the publication of the book in 15 Indian languages in addition to English will provide the first accessible and yet authoritative and comprehensive source on these animals for most residents of India, and thus an entry point into the field of herpetology. The importance of this book for the development of Indian herpetology cannot be overstated. --Dr. Wolfgang Wüster
Rom Whitaker is recognized worldwide for his almost unequalled knowledge of the snakes of India, not least the most majestic snake of all, the king cobra, and his dedication to the study and conservation of snakes through his writing, his films and his fieldwork. Ashok Captain is a name synonymous with wondrous and exciting photography and he is, to my mind, one of the best herpetological photographers in the world. How can anybody with an interest in Indian snakes or more broadly, the natural history of India and its South Asian neighbouring countries, not be tempted to purchase a copy of what promises to be a truly brilliant book by these expert two authors, on one of the richest and most diverse ophidiofaunas in the world. --Mark O'Shea
This is the most valuable resource on Indian ophiology ever published. Printed on glossy, high quality paper (unlike previous Indian monographs) and well-bound with sewn signatures, this book will last many years of use and not fall apart. It is difficult to imagine how many painstaking hours must have gone into obtaining the photographs from living subjects. They are of such high quality that one can accurately count scale rows, examine the minutest details of the head shields, and note the variation in the colouration of the iris of the eyes. One cannot acclaim too much the unparalleled photography in this book as it sets a new standard in the field of herpetology. Although too small in size to be classified as a coffee table book, it surely fits that genre. It is not only a scientific treatise but also a genuine work of art that is an essential part of any herpetology, natural history or Indian library. --Van Wallach in Hamadryad 30 (1 &2)
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