The Book of Animal Ignorance

The Book of Animal Ignorance: Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong
by John Lloyd & John Mitchinson
Information. 241 pp.
Harmony. 2007.

flap copy:

Fast on the heels of the New York Times bestseller The Book of General Ignorance comes The Book of Animal Ignorance, a fun, fact-filled bestiary that is sure to delight animal lovers everywhere. Arranged alphabetically from aardvark to worm, here are one hundred of the most interesting members of the animal kingdom explained, dissected, and illustrated, with the trademark wit and wisdom of John Lloyd and John Mitchinson. Did you know, for instance, that

  • when a young albatross takes wing, it may stay aloft for ten years
  • vampire bat saliva—unsurprisingly, when you think about it—is the source of the world's most powerful blood thinning drug, appropriately called draculin
  • bombardier beetles fire a boiling chemical spray out of their rears at 300 pulses per second
  • a bald eagle's feathers weigh twice as much as its bones
  • a giant tortoise recently died at the documented age of 255
  • octopuses are dexterous enough to unscrew tops from jars
  • spider silk is so light that a strand long enough to circle the world would weigh as much as a bar of soap

So meet the water bears that can live in suspension for hundreds of years, the parasite carried by your cat that makes men grumpy and women promiscuous, and the woodlouse that drinks through its bottom. Marvel at elephants that walk on tiptoe, pigs that shine in the dark, and woodpeckers that have ears on the ends of their tongues.

If you still think a pangolin is a musical instrument, that hyenas are dogs, or that sheep are pointless and stupid, The Book of Animal Ignorance has arrived just in time.

This is so my kind of nonfiction book. Trivia. Lots and lots o' trivia. It's smartly written. Entries are brief. It's quite an enjoyable book. And it's instructive.

Oh. And the authors are clearly dog people, which means they're good people.

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