Oliver G Pike
Books - Wild Animals in Britain
This was Oliver Pike's last book: it was written at Leighton Buzzard
in 1949 and published in 1950 by Macmillan. It is possibly the only
one of his books that contains no photographs of birds and hardly any mention
of them either.
This volume is about the mammals, reptiles and amphibians that live
in Britain. Macmillan published companion volumes in the same
format on flowers, trees, birds and dogs. Many sets must have been
bought for school libraries for "Nature Study".
Most of the photographs, but not all, are his own work and there are
several coloured plates from paintings by William Reeves.
Wild Animals in Britain
The vast majority of this book is about mammals: each one is
described in detail, including even the formula for its
It is clear that Oliver Pike was very unhappy about the
introduction of the grey squirrel to Britain. He states
that it is much more destructive than the native red squirrel
and is responsible for much predation of birds' eggs.
Reptiles and amphibians are also covered, with photographs
showing the life-cycle of the common frog and how the common
toad flicks its tongue (which is hinged at the front) to catch
This book is a handbook and guide to these creatures,
and it contains a few interesting anecdotes from the
author's experience. One of these relates how a pair of
grey squirrels distracted him in Regent's Park, London.
This was at the beginning of the First World War and he was
in a Royal Flying Corps party being drilled by a sergeant-major.
He was shouted at in "army language" with the usual allusions
to his ancestry.