The Modern Bestiary

Joanna Bagniewska


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15 September 2022
ISBN: 9781472289605
256 pages

From the publisher

An illuminating compendium of some weird and wonderful creatures.’ Observer

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.

‘ [A] 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.’ Yussef Rafik

The Modern Bestiary provides a fascinating, accessible and humorous insight into the wonders of the natural world.’ Amy Dickman, director of Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit

‘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.’ Tom Moorhouse, author of Elegy for a River

‘Everyone who loves wildlife – especially fantastically weird and cringingly gross wildlife – should read this masterful book.’ Mark Carwardine, author/presenter of Last Chance to See

‘If ever there was a book that highlighted the bewildering wonders of the natural world, and the need for their conservation, this is it.’ Michael Brooke, author of Far from Land