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The Behavior Guide to African Mammals: Including Hoofed Mammals, Carnivores, Primates

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The Behavior Guide to African Mammals is as different from a conventional field guide as motion pictures are from a snapshot. Whether we are able to look at them face to face, on television, or in the hundreds of illustrations provided here by Daniel Otte, this guide allows us to understand what animals do and what their behavior means.
Drawing on his own extensive fieldwork and on the research of many other scientists, Richard Despard Estes describes and explains the behavior of four major groups of mammals. Estes's remarkably informative guide is as up-to-date for the zoologist as it is accessible for the interested onlooker.

610 pages, Paperback

First published May 8, 1991

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Richard D. Estes

10 books2 followers

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Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 reviews
Profile Image for Carrie.
124 reviews6 followers
August 27, 2012
I just returned from a wildlife course in South Africa, and we used this book constantly to look up more information on the animals we were seeing. I bought my own copy as soon as I got home. I haven't seen any other book that packs so much information on multiple species into one volume. It's also full of small line drawings that do a great job of showing you what different behaviors look like. My only complaint is that it covers (as it says) hoofed mammals, carnivores, and primates, but leaves out a lot of others such as bats, insectivores, and rodents. We really wanted to look up pangolins, but no luck.
Profile Image for PoachingFacts.
45 reviews16 followers
December 19, 2015
The Behavior Guide to African Mammals: Including Hoofed Mammals, Carnivores, Primates (1992) by Richard D. Estes is an incredibly in-depth source covering 91 common mammals. Encyclopedic in its depth and format, The Behavior Guide remains accessible enough for veteran wildlife watchers and contains enough content and detail to provide a solid foundation for students of zoology and wildlife behavior. The plurality of mundane hoofed mammals is also balanced with information on predators -- some not so common, like the Black-footed Cat -- and primates so that no major species are left out. Those seeking broad, picture-filled, basic guides should consider the National Audubon Society Field Guide to African Wildlife and pocket guides instead (listed at the end of this review).

The layout closely follows that of the The Safari Companion: Safari Companion, by the same author, but in-depth information in the Behavior Guide goes beyond what is found in The Safari Companion by adding more to every facet of behavior and activity. Provided are descriptions of physical characteristics, distribution, ecology, and common activities, along with explanations of reproduction and hunting habits, social organization, and social behaviors including communication, courtship, and playing. Line-drawings and a few black-and-white illustrations provide insight into postures, markings, and a general idea of size, but are not as numerous as in The Safari Companion.

We strongly recommend The Safari Companion as a primer and companion book, or the sole choice for amateur wildlife watchers due to its ease of use and useful appendices. The Behavior Guide dispenses with some of the minor reading aides, making it a little more challenging to parse. Unit conversions to pounds or inches were omitted as well as the "at-a-glance" in male/female symbols in the text and social/mating system symbols. In a few cases The Behavior Guide sticks to using one particular name for a species (such as "Ratel"), when there are two or more in common usage ("Honey Badger" or "Ratel"). The Safari Companion provides all these options for convenience while The Behavior Guide may side with the most accurate term (the Honey Badger is badger-like, but not actually a badger).

The 605-page reference book carefully balances the depth of information with its own size, making it portable enough for wildlife watching enthusiasts to take this book along with them while on safari, but substantial enough for use as a desk reference. Still, The Safari Companion encompassing roughly 80 species, would be a better single-book option for those that don't want to carry multiple references while in the field. The Safari Companion also has a more recent printing (and a Kindle Edition) with updated taxonomic information, while the most recent printing of The Behavior Guide to African Mammals: Including Hoofed Mammals, Carnivores, Primates may change little more than the cover image and the price tag.

We don't feel that the lack of revisions since 1992 significantly impacts the accuracy of the information contained in any edition of The Behavior Guide, however there are going to be minor inaccuracies relating to modern distribution and taxonomic classification. These are inescapable due to the decline of many populations and the changes in habitat from weather, human encroachment, and other factors. Minor inaccuracies are also present in The Safari Companion.

Smaller safari guides such as The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals, Wildlife of East Africa (Princeton Pocket Guides), Wildlife of Southern Africa (Princeton Pocket Guides), as well as National Audubon Society Field Guide to African Wildlife would be good options for casual- and first-time safari tourists wanting to familiarize themselves with the basics of a broader set of animal species.
Profile Image for Bob Stocker.
191 reviews2 followers
January 16, 2017
The Behavior Guide to African Mammals: Including Hoofed Mammals, Carnivores, Primates by Richard Estes has been gathering dust on our book shelf since we purchased it prior to a trip to Kenya in 2000. It's an old book, first published in 1992 and republished with, I understand, few if any modifications in 2010. It's full of information about African mammals. So full, in fact, that there's a lot more than an old codger like me can absorb. Even though I usually skipped sections that did not seem relevant to my upcoming trip to Tanzania, it took me a long time to read.

Material is better organized for a biologist than a laymen like me. Chapters typically begin with detailed descriptions of family traits followed by even more detailed sections about individual species. Species sections often refer back to family sections or other species sections. This organization obviously saves space in a book that is already long, but it makes reading difficult. If you want comprehensive, scholarly descriptions of the behavior of African mammals, this is probably the book for you. If you're looking for a layman's overview of African mammals, I imagine there is a better source.
Author 34 books4 followers
October 22, 2014
There is nothing quite like this book on the behavior of African animals. It is undoubtedly the behavioral gourmet's guide to terrestrial mammals. A splendid reference guide.
Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 reviews

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