Animal Snoops

Animal Snoops

The Wondrous World of Wildlife Spies

Book - 2010
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Features animals with secret-agent skills including eavesdropping baboons, spying convict cichlid fish, and the deceptive eastern gray squirrel.
Publisher: Toronto : Annick Press, c2010.
ISBN: 9781554512171
Branch Call Number: 591.513 CHR J
Characteristics: 68 p. : col. ill. ; 25 cm.
Additional Contributors: MacInnes, Cat - Illustrator


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SPL_Childrens May 16, 2012

Animal spies, snoops, sneaks, tricksters and masters of deception can be found everywhere in nature. Many creatures, big and small, spy, deceive and hide. Why? For many, their “secret-agent skills” and habits are a matter of survival - a way to escape their predators, catch (or hide) food, or attract a mate.
A close-at-hand example can be found in our own backyards, where gray squirrels sometimes dig fake holes for their food caches when they suspect that would-be thieves (usually blue jays or other birds) are nearby.
There are many more examples of animal trickery. White storks sometimes stand silently to hear the mating call of a frog, thereby locating it and quickly seizing the frog with its long bill for a tasty snack. Similarly, dolphins, which love to eat toadfish, eavesdrop and locate these fish when the males serenade the females during mating season. Hungry gopher snakes listen to foot-drumming signals between kangaroo rats to find an appetizing meal, and one species of firefly locates smaller fireflies to eat by watching for their luminescent mating messages.
Animal trickery occurs in the forest, desert, tundra and even in the ocean, where whales sometimes use other whales’ echolocation to “zero in” on a tasty meal, and knife fish use electricity to give hungry predators unpleasant surprises.
One of the best examples of a wildlife snoop or spy is that of Marshmallow, a parrot living in a Memphis, Tennessee household. When burglars broke into the house, the hidden bird eavesdropped on their conversation and was able to hear (and later repeat) the name of one of the intruders. With this valuable clue, police were later able to apprehend the men.
As the author notes, “Wild snoops are impressive secret agents on a constant mission of survival.”
Young readers will be amazed, impressed and intrigued with the ingenuity and the craftiness of wildlife spies and tricksters, and with the colourful photographs and illustrations in this appealing book about animal underworld behaviour and the surprisingly complex network of animal communication. Further reading suggestions and an index are included.
The author, Peter Christie, has long had an interest in unusual animal habits and has written other books on the topic.

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SPL_Childrens May 16, 2012

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