Water Life and Aquaria World 1950-53: Part 17. Some History and a Download of Extracts of Articles on Herpetology

Water Life CoverA few weeks ago I bought some copies of Water Life and Aquaria World, the post-war incarnation of Water Life under the publishers of Cage Birds, Poultry World and Farmer & Stockbreeder. There were two issues from 1950, one from 1951, four from 1952 and two from 1953;  the magazine was then published every two months. Only when I scanned the cover did I notice who had been the original owner. The newsagent had marked some ‘Hemms’ but another had the name J V Hems written across the top. Clearly, they had belonged to Jack Victor Hems, one of the major British writers on keeping fish as well co-author of a book on keeping reptiles and amphibians I have covered previously.


I cannot determine who the editor was at this stage. The name of Leslie W Ashdown who was clearly the editor when the magazine folded in 1958 looms large but so does that of Walter J Page; the latter was editor of Cage Birds later in the 1950s.

The articles on herpetology from the nine issues I have are extracted and available from the Downloads page. Most are by Alfred Leutscher who at this time also had his book Vivarium Life published. There is an interesting article on the use of larvae of a species of Alphitobius for feeding amphibians and reptiles, years I think before they became commercially available as ‘buffalo worms’ or ‘lesser mealworms’. Audrey Noël Hume had an article on hatching and rearing Spur-thighed Tortoises (Testudo graeca); the Noël Humes’ classic book on tortoises appeared about a year later. If I can get further issues from these years I will add extracts to the download.

Finally, I found a photograph of Alfred Leutscher in the January-February 1952 issue. I have also added it to my original post on Vivarium Life.

Alfred Leutscher

Alfred Leutscher

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