Janklow & Nesbit UK

Cold Blood: Adventures with Reptiles and Amphibians

published by Chatto & Windus (2014)

For as long as he can remember, Richard Kerridge has been obsessed with lizards and snakes. In a country mainly devoid of large wild animals, lizards provided the nearest he could get to the encounters with big game that he read about obsessively and watched on TV. There was something thrilling and exotic about them; they made even the suburbs seem wild. As a boy, growing up in South London, his garden was full of bath tubs containing reptiles and amphibians of every sort: brown lizards, marsh frogs, newts, grass snakes and adders. He wanted to keep them. But more than that, he wanted to understand what it was to be one. What is it to be cold blooded, to shed your skin? Are these animals conscious? If they aren't, is it meaningful to say that the experience of being a lizard or a snake is 'like' anything at all? Each of the chapters of Richard's book will examine the umwelt - the 'world view' - of a particular reptile. A natural history handbook, a field guide to amphibians and reptiles, and a wildly original autobiography, lyrical, disturbing, and funny, Cold Blood will be a tour de force of nature writing.