From seals' frisky behaviour to red squirrels making their last stand in the battle against the greys, here are the mammals of Britain as you've never seen them before.
Join Fiona Mathews and Tim Kendall on an overnight stakeout in search of the elusive pine marten. Follow them down mines inhabited by greater horseshoe bats, cavers, ravers and teenagers smoking unusual substances. Meet water voles thriving in the East End of Glasgow – despite the lack of water – and observe the brilliance of wild boar in your back garden.
Lively and light-hearted, Black Ops and Beaver Bombing puts animals at the heart of the story, revelling in their peculiarities, with a few corny jokes along the way. In search of answers to the problems that beset our wildlife, Fiona and Tim reveal the wonder of creatures that are worth fighting for.
Fiona Mathews is a professor of environmental biology at the University of Sussex. She is the founding chair of Mammal Conservation Europe and author of the UK government’s official census of British mammals. She advises the UK government and its devolved authorities on a variety of conservation issues.
Tim Kendall is a professor of English literature at the University of Exeter. He is the author of works of poetry and literary criticism, and he edited Britain’s Mammals 2018. He lives in the wilds of East Devon with Fiona, and they share their house with two teenage daughters, two rabbits, a Labrador and a rehabilitating common pipistrelle bat.
– Countryfile's best nature and wildlife books for 2023
"If you care about Britain's beautiful mammals – which of course you do – this hilarious book is a must-read. Weasely my favourite book of the year so far."
– Dave Goulson, author of Silent Earth
"Everything you could hope for in a book about our beleaguered native mammals. Elegiac, informative and funny; some truly magical encounters in the wild; an almost baffled indignation at our institutional and collective failures of policy and imagination; and best of all [...] some actual solutions."
– Peter Fiennes, author of Oak and Ash and Thorn
"Packed full of useful information and acutely up to date [...] As she's one of the ablest mammalogists of our age, it's well worth listening to Fiona Mathews. I would heartily recommend this book to all."
– Derek Gow, author of Bringing Back the Beaver
"Spring has barely ticked over into summer, but I've already found the book that I'll be recommending for the rest of the year [...] this book celebrates, mourns and champions the British mammals that are the beating heart of these islands [...] There are no straightforward conclusions, no easy solutions, and this is not always an easy read. But there is hope, and much of it comes from humans."
– BBC Countryfile Magazine
"This book is, or should be, a big wake-up call to anyone who hasn't already realised that Britain's native mammals are in trouble [...] Black Ops and Beaver Bombing provides an entertaining and informative look at some of our native mammalian species as well as the wider issues associated with species conservation in Britain. It should be required reading for anyone with a passing interest in our native wild mammals as well as for those who would like to do more to help with conservation. I particularly hope that it will be read by the politicians and other people who are in a position to make positive changes to reverse the decline of our native mammals."
– GreenSpirit Magazine