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New Guide to Britain's Mammals

1st May 2017

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Britain's Mammals

Princeton University Press have recently released a new field guide called "Britain's Mammals".  I don't write reviews of books very often but this guide is worthy of a special mention because it's just excellent.  If you want to know about mammals in Britain it's unlikely you'll need any other book.  This one is the business.

The four authors, Dominic Couzens, Andy Swash, Robert Still and Jon Dunn have a wealth of expertise as ecologists and writers.  Together with the publishers they've produced a truly must-have field guide to all the mammals which inhabit, or have inhabited, the UK.

The text is easy to read, not dry and academic, but clear and concise in a conversational style.  The 500 colour photographs add to the readers identification of each species.  They're bright and clear, and superbly printed.

As well as the usual information on identification there are details about sounds the animal makes, the food it eats and other clues to the presence of each species such as; droppings, tracks and nests.

Some of the more familiar species like badgers and foxes get 4 pages of coverage.  The less frequently seen species, such as the Silver Haired Bat, which has only been recorded 3 times in Britain, and is listed as an "accidental import", receives just a half a page.  That's half a page more than any other British mammal guide on my bookshelf.

Other unusual species are featured, like the Greater White-toothed Shrew, which I'd never heard of before reading this book.  It's just 6cm long, and is only present in parts of Ireland and the Channel Islands.  But the important thing is it's included in this book, and one day you just might come across one of these little critters and you'll know exactly what you're looking at.

Pages 128 to 195 cover all the bat species.  That's 67 pages of bat info, featuring some excellent photos, plus details on identifying droppings (yes really), echolocation sounds and full descriptions.

Pages 268 to 310 cover marine mammals.  I've never come across a compact guide book like this which covers terrestrial and marine mammals.  All the seals, dolphins and whales you're likely to encounter around the coast are here... even the Narwal, which hasn't been spotted around Britain since 1949... but you never know when one might show up next.

Highly recommended.  If you're at all interested in British mammals buy it now:

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