Many people fear snakes, and watersnakes in particular have one of the worst reputations of any snake found in North America. Some species are commonly mistaken for venomous cottonmouths, and a few may eat popular game fishes. Unfortunately, few people realize the important roles many watersnakes play in natural ecosystems and, consequently, they are still persecuted in many regions today.Seeking to overcome common misperceptions, J. Whitfield Gibbons and Michael E. Dorcas have compiled North American Watersnakes, the first comprehensive study of all fourteen species of watersnakes found in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Cuba.
Individual species accounts explore all aspects of the natural history of watersnakes in North America, including their behavior, physiology, life history, ecology, and conservation. Almost 100 color photographs accompany the text, illustrating all 14 species and nearly all subspecies. Supplementing the species accounts are detailed color maps depicting each species distribution and stunning black-and-white drawings by Peri Mason. Easy-to-use keys help readers to identify specimens at hand.