Great Plains Natural Science Society


The Prairie Naturalist

Date of this Version


Document Type



The Prairie Naturalist • 51(1): June 2019, pp 37-38


US govt


Cracking open this fully revised field guide invites a new appreciation for the diversity of carnivores (members of the order Carnivora) in the world. Dig a little deeper and you’ll uncover just how little we know about so many of them. This second edition of the Carnivores of the World features 250 mammalian species—from a species so tiny it can squeeze through a wedding ring to one weighing thousands of times more, the polar bear (Ursus maritimus). Each detailed species account includes an illustration of the species (and sometimes varying forms or subspecies), information on morphological and identifying features, distribution (including a map) and habitat, feeding ecology, social and spatial behavior, reproduction and demography, and status and threats. Compiling this global summary must have been a huge undertaking. Yet the author has managed to strike the right balance of breadth and depth, and has delivered a stellar reference. Title aside, this text focuses on terrestrial carnivores. Including primarily aquatic carnivores would have forced this handy (yet comprehensive) book into a multi-volume set, losing its nimbleness.

This is a terrific book to have in your personal library (and in your suitcase!). It will be hard to open Carnivores of the World without walking away with a rejuvenated sense of wonder and care for our world.