Walker’s Carnivores of the World by Ronald M. Nowak is an excellent single-volume primer for individuals interested in the development, characteristics, behavior, distribution, and habitat of species in the groups: Candae, Ursidae, Procyonidae, Mustelidae, Viverridae, Herpestidae, Hyaenidae, and Felidae. Researchers, students, and academics should be aware that the two-volume reference Walker’s Mammals of the World has substantially more information and much of the information contained in Carnivores stems from that resource by the same author.
Carnivores begins with an intelligent, informative introduction covering carnivore adaptations, diet, range and territorial behaviors, social systems, reproduction, communication, and conservation status. The black and white photos along with detailed characteristics for both sexes provide a satisfactory starting point for further research into specific species. The primary strength of Carnivores is the concise, informative arrangement of information for each species in an encyclopedic format that does not omit data on species vulnerability, conservation status, or the species’ presence in the legal and illegal wildlife trades. However, having been published in 2005 it should be noted that some of the taxonomic information may be outdated or the conservation statuses changed. Carnivores concludes with several useful pages in the appendix suitable for students or researchers in the field. There are also 25 pages dedicated to citations for further reading and reference.