This is a book about passion, adventure, and science. Using an autobiographical style, professor Lillywhite takes us first-hand on numerous journeys in the field discovering snakes, from his youth exploring the unspoiled habitats of southern California seeking rattlesnakes to his adulthood as a research scientist lurking about the mangroves of Indonesia finding elephant wart snakes.
Author: Havey B. Lillywhite
Editor: Gordon W. Schuett
"One of the biggest realizations almost every young biologist has is that the “intimidating,” senior researchers in the field are all here for the same reasons the students are: an indescribably strange and obsessive love for their study animal. Lillywhite’s book shines a shameless, bright beacon on this appreciation and fascination with snakes, reminding a wide audience (although I think it is more geared towards early career scientists) why we all pursued this field of study in the first place. [...] While I greatly enjoyed this collection of stories (even finding myself nodding along and chuckling out loud at several points), the writing was a bit redundant, and the chapters started to blend somewhat by the end. There were many repeated themes, which of course is expected given the subject matter, but I would have liked to read a bit less about chasing snakes through the habitat and more about the underlying science, especially if this book is intended to inspire early-career scientists. [...] Overall, this book was a pleasant and fast read that I would recommend. Perhaps one of the most thought-provoking parts of this book is the number of “unquantifiable” and subjective observations Lillywhite mentions that can only be noticed by watching the same group of animals over long periods of time. Anyone who has worked on a group of organisms for an extended period knows that for every research question pursued, there are a million other phenomena noticed that aren’t necessarily documented in publications, but repeatedly occur nonetheless."
– Hayley L. Crowell, Herpetological Review 53(2), 2022