Saving Snakes


Beautiful to behold and extremely sensitive to its environment, the snake is nonetheless stigmatized as a serpent, a creature that almost universally inspires fear. At a time when so many animals are endangered, who will speak up for the snake?

Snake populations are declining precipitously around the globe, but calls for their conservation are muted by fear and prejudice. Saving Snakes offers a new approach to understanding snakes and preserving their populations–an approach built on respect. Nicolette Cagle has traveled the world in search of snakes, from the midwest and southeastern U.S. to Cuba, Nicaragua, and Australia, and spent decades conducting natural science research on the patterns of snakes in regions where urban development encroaches upon the natural world. Her book offers a first-hand account of the strange and secretive lives of snakes, and reveals their devastating losses.

Beautifully and accessibly written, Saving Snakes entwines Cagle’s personal narrative with deep scientific and historical research. Through the author’s exploration of her evolution as a field naturalist, it provides a blueprint for developing a conservation consciousness among young people and paves the way for increased inclusivity in the male-dominated field of herpetology. While fundamentally a book about snakes, this is also the story of one woman’s pursuit of her passion as she searches for, studies, and stands up for them.

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The writing is superb, often elegant—easy reading with a poetic flow, melding literary appeal with the beauty of nature. Anyone who appreciates the natural world and has a passion for the outdoors—from bird watchers to hikers, from hunters to land managers, and especially anyone interested in herpetofauna—will find connections with Saving Snakes.

 J. Whitfield Gibbons, University of Georgia, author of Keeping All the Pieces: Perspectives on Natural History and the Environment

This book could do for snakes what Silent Spring did for birds.

 David A. Steen, author of Secrets of Snakes: The Science beyond the Myths