Vivarium Life. 2nd edition. Alfred Leutscher

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 17.08.40The second edition of Vivarium Life was published in 1961.  I had never seen this edition until I bought one a few days ago from a book dealer for very little. As far as I can judge the first edition is the one usually on offer so I suspect that the second edition did not sell so well.  Alfred Leutscher explained in the Preface what had been changed:

This edition meets, it is hoped, the principal wish expressed by many users of the original version: that it should not only describe the individual creatures likely to inhabit a vivarium, but should give some general information on how to set one up. The author has provided an introductory section on this subject, with a number of drawings of suitable constructions…

Leutscher himself drew replacements for most of Humphrey Dakeyne’s illustrations of reptiles and amphibians. I got to 37 replacements but I may have lost count. Unfortunately, Leutscher’s drawings are no better than Dakeyne’s and some are much worse.  Indoor and outdoor vivaria, reptiliaries and pools are covered in the new section with reference, in some cases, to the designs of other herpetologists of the 1930s and earlier. One example is L.G. Payne’s ‘Toad Hall’ (see my post of 22 February 2014 on Payne on this site); another is Bateman’s aqua-terrarium, using a laboratory bell jar as the aqua part (no mention of glass accumulator jars which were commonly used in the 1950s as a replacement for the  expensive bell jar or as simple aquaria).

The errors in the first edition remain: ‘Conrana‘ for Conraua and ‘parotid’ for parotoid are two examples.

Much of the content of this edition of Vivarium Life was carried forward to his Keeping Reptiles and Amphibians published by David & Charles in 1976 and on which there will be more later.

The book can be downloaded here or the Downloads page above:

Vivarium Life 2nd edition


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