Secret Language of Animals: A Guide to Remarkable Behavior

Secret Language of Animals: A Guide to Remarkable Behavior

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by Janine M. Benyus, Juan Carlos Barberis
     
 

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Unlock the secrets behind the behavior of the world's most fascinating creatures? from the Adélie penguin to the plains zebra to the giant panda?in this wonderfully written, beautifully illustrated book.

In The Secret Language of Animals, biologist Janine Benyus takes us inside the animal kingdom and shows us the whys and the hows

Overview

Unlock the secrets behind the behavior of the world's most fascinating creatures? from the Adélie penguin to the plains zebra to the giant panda?in this wonderfully written, beautifully illustrated book.

In The Secret Language of Animals, biologist Janine Benyus takes us inside the animal kingdom and shows us the whys and the hows behind the distinctive behavior of creatures great and small in their natural environments.

Divided geographically into five sections?Africa, Asia, North America, the oceans, and the poles?the book examines and describes the behavior, body language, and patterns of communication of 20 different animals: the gorilla, lion, African elephant, plains zebra, black rhinoceros, giraffe, ostrich, greater flamingo, Nile crocodile, giant panda, peacock, Komodo monitor, bottlenose dolphin, California sea lion, gray wolf, bald eagle, sandhill crane, beluga whale, polar bear, and Adélie penguin.

For each animal, Benyus describes and explains basic behaviors (locomotion, feeding, drinking, bathing, grooming, sleeping), communication behavior (greeting, social play, group defense, conflict, aggression/submission, fighting, courtship, copulation), and parenting behavior (birth, care and feeding, teaching, communal care).

The book is illustrated throughout with tender yet precise line drawings that beckon us to the animals and vividly capture everything from changing facial expressions to nurturing postures to playful and aggressive interactions. The text, too, is both intimate and informative, allowing for a deep connection with, and a great admiration for, each one of the animals.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
09/15/2014
This clear and concise guide offers sections on creatures of the African jungles, plains, and waterways; Asian forests; warm oceans; North America; and the Poles. Within those sections the material is laid out animal by animal, with information on the communication habits of, for example, the gorilla, lion, African elephant, plains zebra, black rhinoceros, giraffe, ostrich, Nile crocodile, giant panda, peacock, bottlenose dolphin, gray wolf, bald eagle, polar bear, and Adélie penguin. The book opens with a discussion of zoos, for Benyus (A Field Guide to Wildlife; Northwoods Wildlife) is a proponent of well-managed and carefully thought-out facilities as a means of animal preservation while the fragile earth is slowly yet carefully brought back from the brink of ruin. These early pages also provide primer material on general animal behavior, complete with a discussion of habitat, basic behaviors, interacting strategies, and more. A number of pen-and-ink drawings also complement this first chapter. VERDICT Benyus's approachable writing can easily be understood and navigated, and her topic will be compelling to a wide range of library patrons.—Susan E. Brazer, Salisbury Univ. Lib., MA
From the Publisher
Nature writer Benyus (Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, 1997, etc.) defends the value of zoos even though scarcely 10 percent meet the standard for accreditation by the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums. "Though captive breeding is a number one priority at many zoos," writes the author, "it is not always obvious to the casual visitor." Zoos also play an important role in educating children about the need to protect and nurture wildlife. Benyus' aim in this update (the book was originally published in 1998) is to guide young and old visitors in better understanding the behaviors of the animals on view. To this end, she provides snapshots of their behaviors in the wild, organized geographically and by species, and how this translates to the protected environment of a nature park-the proper conception of a well-run zoo. "If you haven't been to a zoo in several years, you're in for a wild surprise...[t]hey've sprung the cages and turned the animals loose in startling simulations of their home habitats," she writes. In a properly administered zoo, solitary animals no longer exhibit stereotypical behavior. "Besides being more at home, the animals are also in better company," writes Benyus. "No longer the lone representative of their species, they now romp in herds and pods, troops and bevies." From African gorillas and lions to peacocks, North American wolves and eagles, Arctic polar bears and whales, the author covers the typical behaviors of different species, their feeding, locomotion, grooming, vocalizations, gestures and courtship rituals, social organization and raising of young. Most of us will never go on a safari, but with Benyus' guidance, supplemented with more than 200 charming illustrations, a visit to the zoo can be educational and provide thrills galore-and we can play an important role by observing that the animals are being properly treated.

A user-friendly reference volume densely packed with facts, theories and anecdotes- Solid information, great fun.

Booklist - Rebecca Vnuk
Humans have always pondered what makes us different from animals. After all, many species exhibit behaviors that resemble our own (or is it the other way around?). This informative volume covers 20 of the world's most well-known animals, including African elephants, flamingos, giant pandas, Nile crocodiles, and polar bears.

Divided by geographical regions ("African Jungles, Plains, and Waterways"; "Asian Forests"; "Warm Oceans"; "North America"; and "The Poles"), the chapters cover some of the basic habits and behaviors of a particular animal, such as elimination, self-grooming, and sleeping. Social behaviors, from friendly to threatening, are discussed, as are sexual and parental interactions. Numerous sidebars showcase vital stats on each animal, quirky facts, and trivia. Each chapter ends with a list of behaviors for readers to look for at the zoo or in the wild. Plentiful introductory material highlights zoo conditions and habitat simulation and includes a lengthy overview of how animals behave in general. Noted nature illustrator Barberis supplies artful line drawings. The narrative is extremely accessible, and readers of all ages will enjoy learning something new about their favorite zoo animals.

Recommended for most public libraries, where this would do well in the circulating collection.

Kirkus Reviews
2014-03-18
Nature writer Benyus (Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, 1997, etc.) defends the value of zoos even though scarcely 10 percent meet the standard for accreditation by the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums. "Though captive breeding is a number one priority at many zoos," writes the author, "it is not always obvious to the casual visitor." Zoos also play an important role in educating children about the need to protect and nurture wildlife. Benyus' aim in this update (the book was originally published in 1998) is to guide young and old visitors in better understanding the behaviors of the animals on view. To this end, she provides snapshots of their behaviors in the wild, organized geographically and by species, and how this translates to the protected environment of a nature park—the proper conception of a well-run zoo. "If you haven't been to a zoo in several years, you're in for a wild surprise….[t]hey've sprung the cages and turned the animals loose in startling simulations of their home habitats," she writes. In a properly administered zoo, solitary animals no longer exhibit stereotypical behavior. "Besides being more at home, the animals are also in better company," writes Benyus. "No longer the lone representative of their species, they now romp in herds and pods, troops and bevies." From African gorillas and lions to peacocks, North American wolves and eagles, Arctic polar bears and whales, the author covers the typical behaviors of different species, their feeding, locomotion, grooming, vocalizations, gestures and courtship rituals, social organization and raising of young. Most of us will never go on a safari, but with Benyus' guidance, supplemented with more than 200 charming illustrations, a visit to the zoo can be educational and provide thrills galore—and we can play an important role by observing that the animals are being properly treated.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781603763653
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Publication date:
04/15/2014
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
639,990
File size:
49 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Janine M. Benyus is the author of A Field Guide to Wildlife: Habitats of the Eastern United States and A Field Guide to Wildlife: Habitats of the Western United States as well as Northwoods Wildlife: A Watcher's Guide to Habitats. An educator at heart, she believes that the better people understand the genius of the natural world, the more likely they are to love and protect it.

Juan Carlos Barberis was the staff artist/illustrator for the Museum of Natural History in New York for twenty years.

Alexandra Horowitz teaches psychology at Barnard College, Columbia University. She earned her PhD in Cognitive Science at the University of California at San Diego, and has studied the cognition of humans, rhinoceros, bonobos, and dogs. For seventeen years she shared her home with an unwitting research subject, Pumpernickel, a wonderful mixed breed.

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The Secret Language of Animals: A Guide to Remarkable Behavior 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
BLUEFISH99 More than 1 year ago
So much information that I didn't realise that when animals live in their own habitat it is better for them, understandable now how so many zoos are changing  the way animals live, plus how their habits , behaviour speaks volumes about their lifestyle, why gorillas chuckle, giraffes neck slap and pandas honk, you would never get this information if you didn't read this book. Its quite mind blowing and I found it most fascinating, together with some brilliant pictures. A geography book within a book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not to bad just alot to read and kind of complicated