Field Guide to Snakes and other Reptiles of Zambia and Malawi

Darren W. Pietersen, Luke Verburgt, John P. Davies

A definitive guide to the 240 known snake, lizard, terrapin, tortoise and crocodile species of Zambia and Malawi (including new discoveries) - the first comprehensive guide of its kind for the region.
Date Published :
May 2022
Publisher :
Penguin Random House South Africa
Series :
Struik Nature Field Guides
Illustration :
c. 430 photographs and 240 distribution maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Paperback
ISBN : 9781775847373
Pages : 544
Dimensions : 8.4 X 5.9 inches
Stock Status : In stock


Zambia and Malawi are home to 240 known snake, lizard, terrapin, tortoise and crocodile species; of these 13 snakes and lizards are endemic to the region. Field Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Zambia and Malawi is the first book of its kind for the region, and describes every species of reptile known to occur in the two countries – including several new discoveries.

The book is organized into four sections reflecting the four orders: snakes, lizards, tortoises/terrapins and crocodiles. A comprehensive description of each order, suborder and family is followed by genera and species accounts. Each species account covers diagnostic features, subspecies/taxonomic notes (where applicable), habitat, behavior, prey and predators, reproduction and range, and whether the species is venomous and poses a danger to humans. The accounts are supported by stunning color photographs and up-to-date distribution maps that draw on over 16,000 recorded observations. Diagrammatic illustrations demonstrate morphological details useful for accurate identification. To aid identification, dichotomous identification keys (based predominantly on morphological differences) guide users to the correct genus and species.

The book’s informative introduction includes descriptions and maps of the region's biogeography and diverse habitat types, as well as a discussion on different venom types and the basic principles of snakebite treatment.

This guide makes an important contribution to the literature on reptiles in Africa, and will appeal to both the novice and experienced herpetologist, as well as visitors the region and nature enthusiasts in general.

About The Author

Darren W. Pietersen is a herpetologist specializing in African reptiles and amphibians. He is the director of research at the Tikki Hywood Foundation, a non-profit conservation organisation; a research associate in the Department of Zoology at the University of Pretoria; and a contributor to several regional and global IUCN Red List Assessments on reptiles. He holds a PhD from the University of Pretoria and has authored or co-authored around 30 scientific publications on reptiles.

Luke Verburgt is a zoological scientist specialising in herpetology, and has worked across 19 African countries. He holds an MSc. in Zoology from the University of Pretoria, is director of the consultancy Enviro-Insight and extraordinary lecturer at the University of Pretoria, and is a registered scientific professional with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP). He has published more than 30 scientific articles, which include several descriptions of new African herpetofauna species.

John P. Davies developed an interest in nature from a young age having grown up in the Kruger National Park. After completing an honors degree in geography, he spent 12 years in the tourism industry, leading tours to at least 15 African countries. He is currently project coordinator of the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Birds of Prey Program.


Field Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Zambia and Malawi is profusely and effectively illustrated with full color photography throughout. Comprehensive, informative, impressively organized…”

- Midwest Book Review

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