Wildlife of Atlantic Canada and New England


106 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55109-008-2
DDC 591.97





Photos by Wayne Barrett
Reviewed by Patrick Colgan

Patrick Colgan is associate director of programs at the Canadian Museum
of Nature in Ottawa.


As wildlife diminishes, and our longing for it increases, books such as
this are all the more welcome. Some 80 species of terrestrial
vertebrates and sea mammals common to the region are presented in a
winning combination of large and superb photographs and a text that is
informative and brisk, if somewhat choppy. There are many fascinating
titbits to be gained regarding the 200-day gestation of porcupines, the
role of parasites, delayed reproduction in otters, grooming in herons,
exiting by wood ducklings of their hole nests, breathing tubes in
petrels, toxic skins of amphibia, riblessness of turtles, live-bearing
in garter snakes, and the correction that fishers don’t fish. The
information on whales is especially intriguing: the source of ambergris,
the songs of humpbacks, and why right whales were regarded as right.

With a few unexplained exceptions, such as cloaca, the presentation is
appropiately nontechnical. Focused on the biology of the animals
themselves, the text would have benefited from some general
consideration of their environment; the columned format of the book
certainly provided space for such consideration. The opening material on
the impact of the European invasion on ranges, extinctions, and
introductions, together with later mention of trapping and fishing,
could have been expanded into a valuable discussion of some of the major
controversies surrounding land use, harvesting, hunting, and pollution.
A map of the northeast, perhaps as endpapers, would also have been
useful. Nonetheless, everyone who cares about wildlife, especially in
this region, will welcome this book.


Saunders, Gary., “Wildlife of Atlantic Canada and New England,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 19, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/12421.