Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the World's Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers

Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the World's Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers

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by Amy Sutherland
     
 

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A rare and absolutely enchanting look inside the Harvard of wild animal wranglers

As is obvious to anyone who has read her most e-mailed New York Times article of 2006, ?What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage,? Amy Sutherland knows a thing or two about animals. In Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched, she takes readers behind the gates of

Overview

A rare and absolutely enchanting look inside the Harvard of wild animal wranglers

As is obvious to anyone who has read her most e-mailed New York Times article of 2006, ?What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage,? Amy Sutherland knows a thing or two about animals. In Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched, she takes readers behind the gates of Moorpark Community College, where students are taught such skills as how to train a hyena to pirouette and coax a tiger to open wide for a vet exam. As she follows the faculty, student body, and four- footed teaching aides at Moorpark's Exotic Animal Training and Management program, Sutherland produces a true walk on the wild side, filled with wonder, comedy, occasional heartache, and transcendent beauty.

Editorial Reviews

The Exotic Animal Training and Management Program at California's Moorpark has been called "America's teaching zoo" and the "Harvard for exotic animal trainers." Whatever you call it, this institution of learning offers a curriculum unlike any other. Its courses provide incomparable training for animal professionals destined for jobs at zoos, aquariums, animal sanctuaries, research studios, and Hollywood. Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched shepherds readers through the school's unique academic regimen, following students as they learn to interact with cougars, baboons, snakes, wolves, tortoises, mule deer, camels, servals, and rats.
Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
… Sutherland's book does showcase the importance of training in a world where wild places are quickly disappearing and many species may soon exist only in captivity.
— The New York Times
Los Angeles Times
Anyone who reads [this book] will never view animals in quite the same way again.
The Christian Science Monitor
If you've ever dreamed of swimming with dolphins, dancing with wolves, or walking a cheetah on a leash, then this is the book for you.
Publishers Weekly
Graduates of the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program at California's Moorpark College land jobs in prestigious zoos, animal sanctuaries and research facilities, and they can be found in high-profile positions in Hollywood studios, the U.S. Navy and the organization Guide Dogs for the Blind. Sutherland (Cookoff: Recipe Fever in America) chronicles the intriguing year she spent with students at this "Harvard for exotic animal trainers," accompanying the "first years" as they interact with the exotic and not-so-exotic animals in the teaching zoo-including baboons, cougars, servals, wolves, tortoises, snakes and rats. She attends classes in the rigorous academic program, goes to training sessions where the students learn to communicate with, rather than dominate, the animals, and discovers that the school is no place for anyone who thinks animals are cute: students may be attacked by emus, kicked by mule deer or backed into corners by camels. There is, however, much friction among the students, especially with the "second years." Sutherland observes that people who relate well to animals don't always relate well to other people, and this theme makes the book a fascinating study in human as well as animal behavior. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Who trains the animals that star in Disney movies, the dolphins that dance at Sea World, and the guide dogs that lead the blind? Mainly, it's the (mostly female) graduates of the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program (EATM) at Moorpark College in California, the premier school for animal trainers. Journalist Sutherland (Cookoff) spent a year observing this associate degree program, following the students through their grueling 16-hour days as they cleaned excrement from cages, prepared special diets, memorized species' Latin names, and trained rats. She explains the positive, reward-based training methods taught at EATM pioneered by Karen Pryor (Lads Before the Wind: Adventures in Porpoise Training), which are improving the lives of captive animals. This fascinating account of these dedicated students-whose mantra is "The animals come first"-is recommended for career collections in public libraries and for academic libraries serving institutions with programs in animal behavior, veterinary technology, and preveterinary medicine.-Florence Scarinci, Nassau Community Coll. Lib., Garden City, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
Anyone who reads [this book] will never view animals in quite the same way again. (Los Angeles Times)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101218822
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/01/2006
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
650,794
File size:
398 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Anyone who reads [this book] will never view animals in quite the same way again. (Los Angeles Times)

Meet the Author

Amy Sutherland is the author of Cookoff and was a features reporter at the Portland Press Herald in Portland, Maine, for seven years. Her articles have also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, and Disney Magazine. She has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University.

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Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the World's Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I always wanted to work at the San Diego Zoo but now I realize I never will since I am 68. However I greatly enjoyed this book. I didn't realize exactly HOW dedicated you have to be to actually get a zoo job. Also HOW difficult it is to get such a low paying job. Well none of that would have stopped me but Moorpark wasn't available (well the EATM part anyhow) when I got out of college. Now that was one thing about this book--she does abbreviate phrases and doesn't tell you what they stand for. I ended up googling EATM and it stands for Exotic Animal Training and Management. But there were other abbreviations and she should have said what they were. Never the less it was a very interesting book for me to read. I only wish I could have been there and done those things, but at least I got to read about it and dream what could have been. This was THE BOOK for me but then you have to understand how much I wanted to be Joan Embrey at the SD Zoo. The book just pretty much covers the experiences of one class the first year. It would have been even more interesting if it had followed the class through both years. For anyone planning to work at a zoo or hoping to train animals, it is practically a must read. For anyone who wanted to work at a zoo, its also a great read. Quite honestly for the average person who doesn't have these interests, it wouldn't be so interesting. BUT I sure do thank the author for writing this book for the enjoyment it brought me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful peek inside of the every day life at a exotic wildlife training school. I have worked with gibbons and small clawed asian otters in the past and could relate to some of the odd behaviors and mood swings that they can have. I really enjoyed it.