298 pages, 125 b/w illustrations
Animals have existed on Earth for many hundreds of millions of years. In that time they have evolved into a great variety of forms, exploiting nearly every habitat the planet has to offer. In the dark depths of the oceans, in the seemingly inhospitable polar regions, in the driest deserts, even within the bodies of other animals, there are animal species that have developed unique and extraordinary means of surviving and thriving.
Extraordinary Animals is an exploration of those members of the animal species who possess strange and even bizarre adaptations that allow them to survive in the most extreme environments, or whose complex lives can only be said to be bewildering. From the hagfish – which can literally tie itself in knots – to the sperm whale, from the armoured shrew to the naked mole rat, these species display the exceptionally broad spectrum of life, showing just how diverse the animal kingdom is.
The encyclopedia has been thoroughly researched, but is also accessibly written in everyday language. Each entry includes a description of the animal, an explanation of its odd behaviour, other interesting scientific and trivial facts, and black and white illustrations. In addition, a fun and interactive "Go Look" section encourages readers to look for the animals in the outside world.
"Stories about fascinating animals are great tools for whetting the appetite for knowledge. Teachers and parents will find many good tales for reaching children, including ideas about how to learn more by going out and observing."
- American Reference Books Annual
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Ross Piper has a Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Leeds. He lives in Hertfordshire.