Cover image for Mammals of North America : temperate and arctic regions
Mammals of North America : temperate and arctic regions
Forsyth, Adrian.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Buffalo, N.Y. : Firefly Books (U.S.), 1999.
Physical Description:
350 pages : color illustrations, color maps ; 29 cm
Marsupials: didelphimorphia -- Insectivores: insectivora -- Bats: chiroptera -- Pikas, rabbits & hares: lagomorpha -- Rodents: rodentia -- Meat eaters: carnivora -- Whales, dolphins & porpoises: cetacea -- Cloven-hoofed mammals: artiodactyla.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QL715 .F65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize
QL715 .F65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
QL715 .F65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
QL715 .F65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
QL715 .F65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
QL715 .F65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



This landmark reference by award-winning science writer Adrian Forsyth is completely up-to-date with the latest scientific names and behavioral data on the wild mammals of North America. Much more than a field guide, Mammals of North America goes beyond simple identification and description, and delves into the reasons wild mammals live and act the way they do: Why are some predators highly social, while others live alone? Why must shrews no bigger than a thimble eat more than their body weight each day or face certain starvation? How can a bat pick a small insect off the surface of a leaf in total darkness? How did a squat prehistoric pig-like animal evolve into one of the world's fastest creatures, the pronghorn antelope?

Blessed with vast areas of wilderness, the United States and Canada support the largest and healthiest populations of native mammals on Earth. Even residents of urban centers are seldom more than a morning's drive from the splendors of wild-mammal life. Whether you enjoy wildlife firsthand or from the comfort of your armchair, Adrian Forsyth's Mammals of North America will prove an essential and fascinating resource.

Author Notes

Adrian Forsyth is the author of Tropical Nature , The Natural History of Sex , The Nature of Birds , Portraits of the Rainforest , The Architecture of Animals , Exploring the World of Birds and Exploring the World of Insects . A specialist in animal behavior and rainforest ecology, Forsyth lives in Washington, D.C., where he is a researcher at the Smithsonian Institution.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In the introduction, Forsyth, a science writer and biodiversity expert who serves as a researcher at the Smithsonian, states that one of this book's goals is to interest readers in the wild mammals that currently flourish in North America. As modern society encroaches upon their habitats and threatened ecosystems, many of these animals may become endangered. The author has limited his work to approximately 150 species that inhabit some of the same territory as humans. He hopes that readers will come to appreciate these creatures and work to save them from extinction. Each chapter follows the same format: the common name of the species followed by the Latin name; a color photograph; a sidebar consisting of a map with the habitat shaded, a description, and vital statistics, including life span, diet, habitat, predators, and dental formula; and an article of a few paragraphs to several pages describing the mammal's life in the wild. The animals are arranged in the text by scientific order, from the marsupials and insectivores to cloven-hoofed mammals. Domesticated animals are only included in comparison with their wild relatives. An index and bibliography are provided as reference aids. The bibliography is categorized by several topics as well as specific mammals; scientific journals and field guides merit special groupings. Missing from the volume are conservation status and an explanation of mammalian classification. Though all of these mammals are covered in titles such as Academic's Encyclopedia of Mammals [RBB Ap 1 99] and Marshall Cavendish's Wildlife and Plants of the World [RBB Mr 1 99], the strictly North American context is valuable. This resource can be used by students for reports because the text is clear and easy to comprehend. The illustrations will capture the attention of both the nature lover and the casual browser. It is a fascinating book that will be useful in junior-high-school, high-school, and public library collections.

Library Journal Review

This book provides information on over 150 species of mammals organized by taxonomic classification. Although the focus is on Canada and the northern United States, many species have ranges extending far to the south. Forsyth, a biologist with the W. Alton Jones Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution, furnishes the usual details about anatomy, habitat, diet, gestation, and range for each species, but the emphasis is on animal behavior--particularly why animals behave the way they do. He also covers some subjects that usually fall outside the realm of field guides, such as animal welfare, pollution, and the effects of human interaction. Whereas The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals (LJ 11/15/99) covers twice as many species, it is geared toward a more scholarly audience. Forsyth's book, with its accessible style of writing and useful index, is more easily approachable for the lay reader who may not know the scientific classification of a species. The currency of the material is questionable, however, as this work duplicates to a large extent Forsyth's earlier Mammals of the American North (1985. o.p.), the primary differences being the reversed order of the chapters and new photographs. Libraries should therefore choose the more comprehensive and authoritative Smithsonian book over Forsyth's.--Teresa Berry, Univ. of Tennessee Libs., Knoxville (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Forsyth's attractive book provides an introduction to nearly all native mammal species of the continental US and Canada. Species accounts are arranged taxonomically, and the author provides a brief description of the evolutionary history, characteristics, behavior, and ecology of each higher taxon before describing individual species. Although not all species are pictured, most of the photos are excellent, offering close-up views of animals in nature. In addition to the descriptive accounts, salient facts about the size, distribution, habitat preferences, reproductive ecology, and dental formula of all species are provided in convenient sidebars. The author also treats numerous current topics in behavior and ecology in a series of essays that are appropriately placed throughout the book. Most of the book is well written, although some explanations of behavioral, ecological, and evolutionary patterns seem overly edited, omitting logical steps in some arguments. In addition, although the author provides very basic biological information on some topics, he assumes that readers have a fairly sophisticated knowledge base when discussing others. The book contains relatively few inconsistencies and inaccuracies. Unfortunately, the bibliography, provided to direct readers to additional sources, is markedly dated. General readers; undergraduates. P. E. Hertz; Barnard College

Table of Contents

New World Opossums
Plain-nosed Bats
Pikas, Rabbits and Hares
Rabbits and Hares
Mountain Beaver
Pocket Gophers
Kangaroo Rats and Pocket Mice
Mice, Rats and Voles
Jumping Mice
Meat Eaters
Foxes and Wolves
Eared Seals Walrus and Hair Seals
Weasels, Badgers and Otters
Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises
Gray Whale
Right Whales
White Whales and Narwhal
Beaked Whales
Sperm Whales
Cloven-Hoofed Mammals
Oxen, Goats and Sheep
Photo Credits