The Snakes of Trinidad and Tobago - Hans E. A. Boos

Victor C. Quesnel



Most authors begin their books with a preface (which few people read) in which they set out their aims in writing the book. Boos has dispensed with this. After two pages of acknowledgements and a page of abbreviations he dives straight away into a description of our two islands, the environmental background to the snakes, and the exciting history of discovery of the different species. It is only at p 219, near the end of the book, that he says he has written the book to "counter the ignorance which treats all snakes as venomous and to provide information for people already interested in snakes." Why then did I have the curious feeling on reaching the end that I had just finished a book on folklore and not of science? The answer is there in his own words: "I have tried to relate every story I have encountered during research for this book ... " and the truth is that there are a lot of stories. Does this mean that there is no science? Not at all. The science is there too, but science has only just begun to reveal the natural history of our snakes and fantasy has had a long head start.

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