Did you know that . . . shark embryos can attack? caterpillars can tap dance? koalas have fingerprints almost identical to those of humans? And, who would have guessed that . . . chimpanzees talk about food? male animals from hot climates make bad fathers? owls employ snakes as babysitters? rats can learn the differences between languages? some parasites castrate their victims? dogs can see moving objects up to 985 yards away? ants won't cross a chalk line? a sloth moves so slowly that fungus grows on its feet? Astonishing new facts about animals are discovered every day. Here, gathered together in one book, are hundreds of the most fascinating, often funny, and, occasionally, just plain bizarre snippets known about animals freshly gleaned from the most up-to-date scientific observations and experiments. With chapters on every aspect of animal life - from how they communicate with one another to their highly unusual parenting practices to their lively and varied sex lives - Augustus Brown has compiled a charming, educational, and supremely entertaining book that will satisfy even the most obsessive animal lover. So, dig in to this irresistibly entertaining and utterly engrossing inside look at the animal kingdom at its most peculiar!
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Augustus Brown's fascination with the strange side of animal life began on the Welsh farm where he grew up surrounded by cows that could sense rain, highly-combustible sheep and chickens that could easily be hypnotised. As a journalist and author, he has since written and contributed to numerous books, many on animal behaviour. In researching this book, he drew on scientific archives, books and studies, scores of zoological and biological websites and consulted leading experts in the animal science world. The most surprising thing he learned was that many animals frequently get drunk. The least surprising thing he learned was they get into trouble when they do so. Augustus Brown lives in London with his wife and two children, overlooking a park filled with creatures whose innocent appearance no longer fools him.From Booklist:
Many people are endlessly fascinated with animals--their methods of communication, mating rituals, how they build their homes and nurture (or not) their offspring. Augustus Brown panders to this near obsession in this delightful book, offering snippets of information such as "armadillos are the only animals other than humans who can suffer from leprosy," "snakes indulge in heavy petting," and "an elephant's trunk contains 40,000 muscles." He then goes one step beyond most books of this type, offering a comprehensive reference section for anyone wanting to check his facts or ferret out even more information on animal behavior. Brown entertains while he educates his audience on such subjects as animal intelligence, how animals live together in peace or wage war, which animals use tools, and what species eats their siblings. But readers beware if read in public, the title arouses so much curiosity they will be accosted by strangers asking, "Why do pandas stand on their hands?" The answer? "Read the book." Pamela Crossland
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