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From the familiar to the improbable, the gross to the endearing, The Modern Bestiary is a compendium of curious creatures. It includes both animals that have made headlines and those you’ve probably never heard of, such as skin-eating caecilians, harp sponges, or zombie worms – also known as bone-eating snot flowers.

Arranged by elements (Earth, Water, Air), The Modern Bestiary contains well-known species told from new, unexpected angles (rats that drive cars; fish that communicate by passing wind), as well as stranger and lesser-known creatures, including carnivorous mice that howl at the moon, cross-dressing cuttlefish, and antechinuses – small marsupials that literally mate themselves to death. Finally, there are the ‘aliens on Earth’ – the incredible, the surreal, the magical – such as tardigrades, tongue-eating lice and immortal jellyfish, creatures so astonishing that they make unicorns look rather commonplace.
Written by a zoologist with a flair for storytelling, this is a fascinating celebration of the animal kingdom.

What's Inside

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Mark Carwardine, author/presenter of Last Chance to See
Everyone who loves wildlife - especially fantastically weird and cringingly gross wildlife - should read this masterful book.
Michael Brooke, author of Far from Land
Even after half a century - and counting - as a professional zoologist, I encountered new and intriguing facts on every page, all conveyed in an easy, friendly style. If ever there was a book that highlighted the bewildering wonders of the natural world, and the need for their conservation, this is it.
Tom Moorhouse, author of Elegy for a River
If you love animals, especially ones with unsavoury habits, this book is for you. Entries are crafted with affection, cast-iron scholarship and an unyielding dedication to exposing as much hilarious weirdness as the animal kingdom can offer. And that, it appears, is rather a lot. This is a book to adore.
George McGavin, entomologist, author and TV presenter
This modern bestiary is a magnificent miscellany that will amuse and amaze. From butterflies that make crocodiles cry and penis-fencing slugs to fish that live inside sea cucumbers' bottoms - the natural world is stranger than you could ever imagine.
Amy Dickman, director of Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit
The Modern Bestiary provides a fascinating, accessible and humorous insight into the wonders of the natural world. Packed with incredible facts and jaw-dropping insights into wildlife ecology, anatomy and behaviour, it is a genuine delight.
Yussef Rafik, zoologist and wildlife TV presenter
Just when you thought the natural world couldn't get any more bizarre, you turn the page and learn about a small marsupial that mates itself to death. There's plenty inside this beautifully written book to make you laugh, squirm and - perhaps most importantly - appreciate how lucky we are to not have to live inside an anus.
An illuminating compendium of some weird and wonderful creatures.
Times Literary Supplement
'Addictive ... The Modern Bestiary offers excitement on a grand scale'