"Turtles of Venezuela" by Pritchard and Trebbau

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Feb 15, 2008
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"Turtles of Venezuela" by Peter C. H. Pritchard and Pedro Trebbau, Contributions ot Herpetology #2, Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR), 1984. 403 pages, not including maps and additional information. Chock full of maps, B&W photos, color plates of classic illustrations, and more.

This is a great book for the enthusiast. While the focus is obviously on the many water turtles of the northern bit of South America, it touches on many topics of interest to tortoise keepers. Chapters include shell nomenclature, history and zoogeography of each family of turtles, specific location records, an extensive bibliography, and more.

Although the book is obviously written for kinds of people who would join the SSAR, it is not as filled with 'scientific journal babble' as many books of its sort are. Most of the more obscure terms and concepts are explained in the text. I learned more in one chapter of this book than I have from several other books.

The book discusses tortoises in general, Geochelone description and history, the skull, history of the name, some of the debate over classification, size and growth, distribution, economic importance, local names, etc. There is not a lot of descriptive language here- very straightforward and 'dense' in the sense of how much information is packed in each paragraph.

I got my copy used from http://www.herplit.com (also known as Bibliomania) for $40. While I thought the price was well worth it, it might be harder to justify for someone looking mainly for captive care information.

There is a rather 'infamous' error in the Redfoot section- the information on the 'Cherryhead' is pretty much all wrong, and got repeated in many other places since then.

(reposted and edited by the author from turtleforum.com)
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