Reptile Ravings


 A Guide to Australian Skinks in Captivity - Book Review

Friday, November 02, 2012

Most serious reptile hobbyists in Australia would have been aware of Danny Brown’s project to publish a major work on reptile captive husbandry for many years. When such plans appear to continue interminably it usually means the assignment will never be fulfilled or, more rarely, the fruition is a work of exceptional standard. In this instance the latter is most definitely the case. This is a phenomenal piece of work that amply reflects the level of time and effort invested in its production and one Danny Brown can be extremely proud of.

The book itself has a straightforward layout beginning with general husbandry aspects of maintaining Australian skinks in captivity followed by a section on common diseases and disorders and the remainder of the book covers specific details and care of various groups of species. The sheer amount and scope of the information provided is staggering and the book is truly a comprehensive guide. Every conceivable aspect of the maintenance, housing, feeding, breeding and health care is covered, usually in extensive detail. At first glance one could be excused for thinking that the reader may be swamped by too much information, yet the clear layout of headings and subheadings makes it very easy to navigate to those sections of interest and Danny’s plain but erudite writing style makes it easy to extract the information required and, more importantly, feel confident that this information is correct and accurate.

I was especially pleased to see the abundance of photographs illustrating husbandry concepts many of which the author has conceived and developed himself. Too often these invaluable resources are left out in place of attractive species shots that can be found in a plethora of other publications. The range of species photographs that has been included by some of Australia’s best reptile photographers is a good balance of a wide range of the species mentioned in the text often accompanied by good habitat shots. If I have one criticism it would be that I would like to have seen more references to the source of the data in some of the tables as reinforcement of the accuracy and quality of the information displayed. However, this stems from a personal scientific background and really doesn’t detract from the overall standard of the publication.

To date, this is the only publication from this author in the new and extensive ‘A Guide To…’ series that I have had the pleasure to examine. I have little doubt based in the content and production in this work that all of Danny’s books in this series will become ‘must-haves’ for any hobbyists working with the reptile families concerned. Quite simply this is possibly the best book on reptile captive husbandry I have read and I look forward to acquiring the others in the series very soon.

Reviewed By Rob Porter, October 2012

A Guide to Australian Skinks in Captivity, by Dr Danny Brown, BVSc (Hons) BSc (Hons)
Published by Reptile Publications, 360pp, RRP $75 plus P&H

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