A Californian's Guide to the Mammals Among Us
by Charles Hood, 2019. Paperback, 192 pages.
At its current tally of 212 species, California’s mammal list is the largest of all the United States’. This new guidebook joins its sister titles A Californian’s Guide to the Birds among Us and A Californian’s Guide to the Trees among Us in introducing naturalists of all levels to over forty varieties of the Golden State’s fascinating warm-blooded wildlife. Full-color images and evocative descriptions make identification fun and intuitive: a bobcat, for example, has “a Civil War look, with old-fashioned sideburns framing the face in black and white,” while a blue whale is named for its coloration of not “old jeans or dull paint, but a luminous, ‘how can water catch on fire?’ kind of blue.”
Author Charles Hood supplements essential information with strange but true facts like voles’ predilection for deer antlers as a source of calcium, and Mexican free-tailed bats’ ability to live in gaseous environments that would kill most other animals. With refreshingly pragmatic commentary (“the fact is, even for experienced naturalists, most chipmunks look pretty much alike”) and sound advice for where to see mammals in urban and wilderness settings alike, this lively and even quotable guide will inspire people to connect with their environments wherever they are.
About the Author
Charles Hood has studied birds and natural history from the Amazon to Tibet, and he has seen more than five thousand species of birds in the wild. A widely published poet, he has received numerous fellowships and writing awards and is the author of the Heyday collection A Salad Only the Devil Would Eat. His other Heyday titles include field guides to mammals and birds, and for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County he was the lead author and photographer for the book Wild LA.