From amphibians and reptiles to birds and bats, new books reveal nature’s secrets
PRATT — There is an incredible treasure of Kansas natural history books and guides, and several recent publications have added to this body of work. Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles in Kansas, by Joseph T. and Suzanne L. Collins and Travis W. Taggart, is an excellent guide, available through Eagle Mountain Publishing ( for $30. The book displays the herpetofauna of Kansas in vivid color through the lens-craft of co-author Suzanne L. Collins. With more than 1,700 entries, the bibliography in this book is the most complete ever assembled for a state field guide. Color range maps show specific locations where each species has been sighted, and text describes the latest information on them. Phone 801-789-4149 for more information.

Birds of Kansas — by Max C. Thompson, Charles A. Ely, Bob Gress, Chuck Otte, Sebastian T. Patti, David Seibel, and Eugene A. Young — is available through the University Press of Kansas ( This respected team of authors, all recognized avian authorities, have created a beautiful, large-format volume highlighted with professional-quality color photographs and maps. The first such survey in 20 years, this remarkable book depicts every one of the state’s now-documented 473 species. It’s available for $39.95. Order online or phone 785-864-4155.

Bats of Kansas —by Dale W. Sparks, Curtis J. Schmidt, and Jerry R. Choate — is an 8 ½- by 11-inch heavy-duty paperback available from the Sternberg Museum of Natural History ( and the Kansas Wetlands Education Center ( for only $8 per copy. Bat enthusiasts and anyone wanting to know more about these mysterious creatures will welcome this new book as the finest resource for the general public on the ecology of bats in Kansas. Beneficial to humans in many ways, from seed dispersal and pollination to insect predation, bats are the only flying mammal and the only flying animal that preys on insects at night. For more information or to order, phone the Sternberg Museum at 785-628-5569 or the Kansas Wetlands Education Center at 620-786-7456.

Kansans interested in learning more about these diverse residents of the Sunflower State should order these new books. They are also excellent resources for teachers.