Mammals of North America ($19.99) by mydigitalearth.com is the Princeton field guide to marine and land mammals of the United States and Canada, and is now available as an app for your iPhone/iPod touch. With over 400 mammals listed in this comprehensive book, you are sure to be a nature expert in no time.
This book app is loaded with 462 land and marine mammals for you to learn about. Each mammal has at least one, usually more, illustrated representation. Most include a scat or “droppings” drawing and many show a representation of the mammal’s tracks. There are also over 150 audio clips of sounds that some of the mammals make. You can hear the howl of a wolf, the high-pitched whine of a vole or the eerie growl of a raccoon.
There are also photos of many of the mammals. In quite a few cases, there are multiple images, showing all sides of a bat or sea otter. Each mammal’s native habitat is represented as a color on a map of the U.S. and Canada. You can set your local region and only search mammals near you. You can also make your own list of the mammals you have spotted, including the date, specific location and a comment on the event.
While full of informative summaries of nearly 500 land and marine mammals, this app is $19.99, which is a high price to pay for an app that isn’t even universal. It is really only compatible with an iPhone or iPod touch. A physical copy of the book will run you the same price and doesn’t include the sound clips or the ability to search mammals within your area, but the price is still hard to swallow.
Overall, this is an exciting and educational digital book that offers hours of engagement. The sound clips that are included with some of the mammals are interesting enough to be the main purpose of the app. Although it is well written and comprehensive, it falls short when it comes to price. At $19.99, this app should at least be universal. Hopefully, the developers will consider lowering the cost. Even at the high price, it is a great read for nature fans.