Book Review: The Health Care and Rehabilitation of Tortoises – April 2013

Book Review:

Health Care and Rehabilitation of Turtles and Tortoises, By Amanda Ebenhack

by Jennifer Greene

I picked up this book to better familiarize myself with the necessary care of turtles and tortoises, and to see what the currently accepted practices are when it comes to their husbandry if they’ve become injured or sick.  It is a thicker book at 393 pages, but each page is packed full of excellent and relevant information for a turtle or tortoise keeper.

The book begins with generalized care information, discussing what basics you must know to properly care for your turtle or tortoise throughout its life.  I was pleased to see a section on stress and causes of stress, as well as a section discussing the importance of variety in the diet and other sometimes overlooked aspects of chelonian (or turtle/tortoise) care.  The first part of the book alone makes it worth purchasing for any serious turtle or tortoise keeper – it lists a range of edible plants, how to properly maintain your chelonian’s weight, and has an entire chapter solely dedicated to hydration and dehydration.  That chapter is where the book begins to heavily incorporate aspects of rehabilitation and injured/sick tortoise care, and while the average keeper is extremely unlikely to encounter these situations or issues, it can be helpful to be familiar with what may need to happen if there is ever a problem.

As the book continues, it also discusses in length the various aspects of husbandry integral to housing turtles and tortoises both indoors and outdoors.  I love that the book does not just lump them both into one section, and instead dedicated entire detailed chapters to each method of housing.  Housing chelonians indoors and outdoors does often require very different techniques and methods, so it is important to be aware of what your animals are going to need if you are housing them one way or the other.

The latter half of the book discusses in great detail the numerous potential issues you can run into when caring for your turtle or tortoise.  It begins with common skin and shell infections, and progresses to actual injuries and treatments.  There are also several case studies illustrating treatments and progression of injuries that exemplify the methods being suggested, which can be helpful to the just-starting rehabilitator unsure of the route to take with injured animals.  It then goes on to detail tube feeding, how to create a nutritious and helpful diet for sickly chelonians, abscesses and their removal, and continued on to infectious diseases and more.

Health Care and Rehabilitation of Turtles and Tortoises was an extremely thorough book that I found very informative.  I wouldn’t necessarily call the reading about the diseases and illnesses pleasant, however, I was extremely pleased with the amount of information in the book that was easy to find and easy to understand.  If you are just getting started with turtles and tortoises, or even if you are an experienced keeper, I highly recommend adding this book to your library.  Not only is the basic husbandry information excellent, but you never know when you might have to reference the sections on potential issues!

Book Review: FIELD GUIDE TO AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES OF THE SAN DIEGO REGION – November 2012

The Reptile Times

Reviewed by Jonathan Rheins
There is no shortage of excellent general husbandry books available to the modern herepeteculturist.  These run the gamut from basic care for beginning hobbyists to extensive, professional texts written for the advanced keeper.  Many of these titles are but a few years old, yet have already secured their spot as “classic” references and some are in very high demand.  It is rare, however, for a field guide to gain as much attention or popular demand as Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of the San Diego Region has since its initial publication in 2006.
Written by San Diego native Jeffrey M. Lemm, this guide will provide the reader with a great opportunity to discover the herpetological diversity of San Diego County and the surrounding areas.  While most likely to appeal to field herpers and reptile keepers, this book will be of interest to nearly anyone who spends timeoutdoors and has an interest in the region’s native herpetofauna.
book

For those living in Southern California, this book is a must have.  And for those who do not, this book still gets the highest recommendation from myself and the entire LLLReptile staff.  Many of the species covered in this guide have naturally occurring ranges that extend far beyond just San Diego, making this reference a valuable tool for those living in and/or herping in adjacent states.

Now, on to the specifics of the book!  Each species account includes both common and Latin names, a detailed physical description, full color photo, and a thorough review of the species natural history.  Additionally, taxonomic notes are offered as well, and here the reader will find information regarding relevant subspecies, their taxonomical status, and history.  The majority of entries are accompanied by range maps showing both historical and current habitation.

Jeff Lemm is a noted conservation ecologist, with an emphasis in herpetolgy. His passion for helping to preserve our delicate flora and fauna shines through in this text.  Conservation status of each species is included in the individual species accounts, as well as a special chapter on conservation and issues surrounding reptiles and amphibians specifically.  Additionally, there is a very interesting chapter on amphibian chytridiomycosis, a fungus that has become one of the leading causes of amphibian population decline worldwide over the past decade.
Also included are chapters covering the geography, geologic history, and major habitats of the San Diego region.  A special chapter on snake envenomation by Dr. Sean Bush is included as well, along with an easy to use and very concise identification key to the herps of San Diego written by noted herpetologist Jay Savage.
The bulk of the book is devoted to the species accounts, which are broken up into orders (Caudata, Sauria, etc.) and each section is further designated by a color coded upper corner of each respective page.  This makes finding specific entries very easy when in a hurry.  The remainder of the book includes a thorough glossary, species checklist, index, and a detailed references section.
Overall, this is a great book and an excellent field guide.  The author clearly went above and beyond in his research and preparation of this work.  As an avid herper himself, Jeff Lemm  located and photographed every species noted in the text.  His level of interest and dedication is clearly represented in the final product.
Whether you spend your weekends cruising the desert for snakes, or studying herpetology from the comfort of your home, this book will provide you with more than enough information to find, identify, and truly appreciate the incredible herps that call Southern California their home!

Paperback, 326 pages.  Perfect bound with glossy, full color cover and photographs throughout.  In stock and available for purchase at www.LLLReptile.com, or in any of our retail stores!

Book Review: Leopard Geckos, the Next Generation – October 2012

The Reptile Times

Leopard Geckos: The Next Generations   by Ron Tremper

Book Review by Jennifer Greene

For the serious Leopard Gecko keeper and/or breeder, there is no book that should be considered more essential to their book collection than the first Herpetoculture of Leopard Geckos book put out by Ron Tremper, Phillipe de Vosjoli, and Roger Klingenberg.  This book, Leopard Geckos: The Next Generationis the most current version, with necessary updates to information about morphs and husbandry where needed.   In addition, this most recent version is also available as an e-book/app, which includes any and all updates as they are added.  This review only covers the printed book, and not the e-book.

Leopard Geckos - The Next Generations

This new addition covers all vital information needed to appropriately care for your gecko(s), whether you have one or one hundred of them.  There are short, concise chapters in the front for basic care to get you started, and more in depth chapters further into the book.  There is also a chapter devoted to commercial breeding, and important information to consider when embarking on such an endeavor.

The chapters with the most new information, and the most valuable to the keeper just getting started breeding, are the chapters discussing morphs, genetics, and the genetic makeup of most morphs available on the market today.  It is also interesting to read about where certain mutations came from, who produced them first, and what they bred to create them.  Vitally important is the information about specific morphs – Tremper lists nearly all of the currently available morphs, as well as their method of inheritance.  This information is extremely useful, especially when creating your breeding plans and projects for the next season.  In particular I was happy to read the section describing polygenetic traits, as it was well expressed and should help clear up the confusion I see in many new breeders when they are first learning about the possibility of polygenetic morphs.

Ultimately, if you are new to Leopard Gecko keeping, looking to get into breeding, and do not have the first edition Herpetoculture of Leopard Geckos book, purchase the physical book and read it thoroughly.  You will find the information extremely useful and beneficial!  If you already own the first edition of the book, instead consider the digital version!