IT'S true to say not everyone loves snakes but if you're one of them Bridport Waterstones will be the place on Sunday from 11am. (dec 20)

That's when south west author Dan Eatherley will be signing copies of his first book Bushmaster: Raymond Ditmars and the Hunt for the World’s Largest Viper.

Dan, whose wife Clair grew up in Lyme Regis and Weymouth, is an environmental consultant and former wildlife film maker at the BBC Natural History Unit.

He graduated with a zoology degree from Oxford and started his career as a researcher before joining an independent film company in Bristol.

It was here he started working on a film about bushmasters and discovered the story of Raymond Ditmars - and thus began is own obsession.

Dan's book Bushmaster is the story of one man’s obsession with an enigmatic and deadly reptile.

Dan said: "During the research I learned of a famous, but now forgotten, association between the bushmaster and an American zoologist called Raymond Ditmars. A man of many talents—writer, pioneering film producer and herpetologist—Ditmars achieved fame in the early twentieth century as the first curator of reptiles and mammals at New York’s Bronx Zoo. While still a kid he had started bringing snakes home as pets—including venomous ones. After much resistance his parents yielded to their son’s hobby, by the mid-1890s surrendering the entire top floor of their house to the expanding collection. One day, the young Raymond received a crate of snakes from Trinidad; among the tropical boas, rat snakes, coralsnakes, and fer-de-lances was an eight-foot-long bushmaster in good condition, which, the delivery note stated, the recipient should “be extremely careful with liberating.” On its release the viper supposedly chased the young snake devotee around the room, the rest of the family downstairs oblivious.

"I was hooked on the story and a few years later I resolved to follow in Ditmars’s footsteps, visiting his snake-hunting haunts in North America before later heading down to South America to try my own luck at finding a bushmaster.

Dan was assistant producer on Sir David Attenborough’s Life of Mammals and Planet Earth television series for the BBC. As well as authoring Bushmaster, he’s written more than 100 articles on science and environment for New Scientist, Scientific American, BBC Wildlife, The Guardian and the New York Post. When not hunting giant vipers, he works as an environmental consultant based in Exeter, UK.

Bushmaster was launched by New York City-based publisher Skyhorse.