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Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time: My Life Doing Dumb Stuff with Animalsby Richard Conniff
Synopses & Reviews
Field journalist Richard Conniff examines the lives of two-, four-, six-, and eight-legged creatures from around the globe, providing adventure-packed accounts of his many ill advised forays into the animal kingdom. He pulls a 90-pound snapping turtle out of a Louisiana bayou, tracks leopards with !Kung San hunters in the Namibian desert, and travels through the Himalayas in pursuit of tigers and the mythical migur. All in a day’s work, he flings chicken carcasses into piranha-infested waters to clock how quickly they disappear before diving in himself, and then encounters a man stung by 120 different species of insects, ranking their pain the way Robert Parker ranks wine. Again and again, Conniff courts the most dangerous animals and lives to tell the tale. This collection offers a rare chance to accompany him on death defying treks and see life through the lens of a bona-fide field naturalist.
"Travel writer and field naturalist Conniff (Rats) shares such outrageous vignettes from his career as feasting on warthog sausage with an occasional side of beetle larvae, having insects copulate on his forehead and communing with packs of African wild dogs. His acute descriptions and self-deprecating humor keep such sections riveting, but the chapters profiling other experts' research and involvement with various species read a bit laboriously. Particularly tedious is his investigation into Madagascar's lemurs with Patricia Wright, a housewife-turned-primatologist, who names the lemurs and spends nights in the forests observing them. Conniff's perspective is nowhere to be found in this chapter, only a historical and contemporary account of Wright's experiences and her effort to preserve the lemur colonies. Readers will likely crave more chapters spotlighting Conniff's personal experiences of the animals and his keen wit and insights." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
An award-winning nature writer takes us on a thrilling journey deep into the domains of strange—and often dangerous—animals.
In this thrilling foray into the animal kingdom, Richard Conniff takes readers on an adventure-packed journey as he courts the most dangerous animals and lives to tell the tale. He lets African wild dogs sniff his neck to test the idea that they are vicious man-eaters, sticks his hand in a fire ant mound and does multiple takes for a pretty camerawoman on a television shoot, and flings chicken carcasses into piranha-infested waters to clock how quickly they disappear'"before diving in himself. This collection offers a rare chance to go along on these death-defying treks and see life through the eyes of a bona-fide field naturalist.
About the Author
Richard Coniff, a Guggenheim Fellow and winner of the National Magazine Award, writes for Smithsonian and National Geographic and is a frequent commentator on NPR's All Things Considered and a guest columnist for the New York Times. His books include The Natural History of the Rich, Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time, and The Species Seekers. He lives in Old Lyme, Connecticut.
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