NONFICTION

Tracking Pythons: The Quest To Catch an Invasive Predator and Save an Ecosystem

Lerner/Millbrook. Mar. 2020. 64p. Tr $31.99. ISBN 9781541557062.
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Gr 4-8–Ever dreamed of wading through bushes and vines in search of an 11-foot snake, specifically a Burmese python? This book takes readers into the thick of South Florida’s fragile ecosystem and follows scientists on their mission to study and help control the population of this invasive species. It is predicted that as many as 300,000 of these snakes live in the wild, where they are wreaking havoc on the native population. Messner has collected wonderful diagrams and photographs to help illustrate the importance of the work of these scientists. The layout provides sidebars that discuss topics such as a python’s body structure, how the scientists’ tracking system works, and “How to Catch a Python.” The book is broken into seven chapters. Each focuses on a particular aspect of the scientists’ process and research methods. One series of photographs shows a snake and its last meal—a full-size deer. An extensive bibliography and suggested further reading are included.
VERDICT Messner’s well-written and -documented book will fascinate any nature lover, but younger readers who love snakes will be thrilled.

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