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February's Book Review - Dictionary of Herpetology by Harvey B. Lillywhite.

We love to read.

We own a lot of books.

We also own an online bookshop. Handy right?!

But we realise that not everyone has spare money right now, and when you do, there are so many books to choose from and you don't want to waste your money. So Scott and I thought we would do a monthly book review so our customers could find out a bit more information on a particular title and decide if it was for their shelves or not.


For our second book review we thought we would share our views on the Dictionary of Herpetology by Harvey B. Lillywhite.


In my opinion, this is one of the must haves for the bookshelf if you collect reptile books or are interested in learning more about reptiles and amphibians. Being a dictionary, it’s not going to be most people’s go to for light or bedtime reading. But it is definitely a book that will be used time and time again, whether you are just starting out in reptiles and wanting to learn more and are unsure of what the terminology means (instead of relying on google and hoping for the best!), or you read scientific papers and need to look up a word here and there.


James A. Peters originally documented the first edition in 1963 and it contained over 3,000 entries. By 1964 it was extremely hard to obtain. As the years went by and more of an interest in reptiles (both professionally and privately) was evolving, there was a need to provide a more up to date version. Lillywhite’s version was published in 2008 by Krieger Publishing. There are 376 pages in this single-volume reference book. The first 351 pages contain 11,358 entries in a A-Z format, like a normal dictionary. These entries are clear and easy to interpret, making it painless to comprehend what you are looking up. Where possible, entries are cross-referenced to aid in the reader comprehending herpetological technical terms. This is followed by 3 pages of tables. Succeeding the tables, the dictionary has 20 pages of black and white illustrations the help the reader visually with various definitions throughout the book. These images and the images on the inside covers were done by the talented Kenneth Paul Wray III.

One of the many illustrations in the Dictionary of Herpetology to aid the reader. Available in our bookshop


One of the many black and white illustrations included to aid the reader in comprehending explanations.

Lillywhite’s Dictionary details terminology related to anatomy, physiology, systematics, evolution, and includes newly emerged fields that are applicable to the study of amphibians and reptiles. This book has been a valuable asset to keepers, students, academics, vets, biologists, ecologists, zoologists and herpetologists over the years.

A page from the dictionary of herpetology. Available in the Nature 4 You bookshop.


Set out like a dictionary we would of used in school (yes we are that old!!) - it is easy to read and use.

It is now out of print (which only adds to value as a collector), but money aside it is a timeless publication. From its cover which is gold print on the publishers cloth to its content and layout, it is an awesome book.  There really isn’t too much more I can say on the book – it’s a dictionary and we all know what they are and what they are used for, but I can say that both of us have used it countless times and are glad it’s on our shelves!


I would definitely buy this book (if we didn't already have it!) as I think it is well worth the money, and the knowledge that you are able to gain from it.


If you are looking at getting yourself a copy of this fantastic book the link is: https://www.wildlifedemonstrations.com/product-page/dictionary-of-herpetology



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The nature 4 you bookshop with the dictionary of herpetology.



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