The truth about animals : stoned sloths, lovelorn hippos, and other tales from the wild side of wildlife

Unexpected truth about animals
Cooke, Lucy, 1970- author

Publication Details Click to collapse Cite/Export

  • Creator Lucy Cooke
  • Format Books
  • Publication First US edition. New York : Basic Books, 2018
  • Physical Details
    • 336 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
  • ISBNs 9780465094646, 0465094643
  • OCLC on1030147790


  • When seeking to understand animals, context is key. Humans have a habit of viewing the animal kingdom through the prism of our own narrow existence. Zoologist and documentary filmmaker Lucy Cooke is fascinated by the myths people create about animals to fill in the gaps in our understanding, and how much they reveal about the mechanics of discovery and the people doing the discovering. In this book she has gathered together the biggest misconceptions and mistakes made about the animal kingdom, and recounts the experiences that have opened her eyes to many surprising realities about animals and the progress of animal science.
  • "Humans may have flown to the Moon and found the Higgs boson, but when it comes to understanding animals, We still have a long way to go. From medieval bestiaries to March of the Penguins or the latest viral video of romping panda cubs, our species relentlessly makes up stories about the virtues and vices of the creatures around us. Chaste pandas are reluctant to mate. Loyal penguins would never abandon their partners. And sloths are just, well, lazy. In reality, pandas don't just have sex; they could make Christian Grey blush. Penguins won't just cheat on a mate; they pay for sex, too. And, despite their names, sloths might just be the most successful animals on the planet. In The Truth About Animals, Lucy Cooke takes us on a global adventure to find out how the animal world really works, and why we humans keep getting it wrong. She fearlessly smears herself in hippo sweat and drinks a blended frog, all in the name of answering questions you never knew you had: What does Aristotle's obsession with eels have to do with twenty-first-century drug mafia? Do female hyenas really give birth through a penis? And why was the New England Puritan Cotton Mather certain that storks could fly into space? Funny, thought-provoking, and at times downright bizarre, The Truth About Animals reveals to us all that is weird, wild, and completely unexpected in the animal kingdom."--Dust jacket.


  • "April 2018"--Title page verso.
  • Originally published under title: The unexpected truth about animals : a menagerie of the misunderstood. London : Transworld Publishers, 2017.
  • Includes bibliographical references (pages 275-322) and index.


  • Eel -- Beaver -- Sloth -- Hyena -- Vulture -- Bat -- Frog -- Stork -- Hippopotamus -- Moose -- Panda -- Penguin -- Chimpanzee
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