The Book of Animal Ignorance: Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong
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The Book of Animal Ignorance: Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  721 ratings  ·  95 reviews
Fast on the heels of the New York Times bestseller The Book of General Ignorance comes The Book of Animal Ignorance, a fun, fact-filled bestiary that is sure to delight animal lovers everywhere. Arranged alphabetically from aardvark to worm, here are one hundred of the most interesting members of the animal kingdom explained, dissected, and illustrated, with the trademark w...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 2nd 2008 by Crown (first published 2007)
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Community Reviews

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Susie
Did you know that a "Riggwelter" is a sheep that's fallen on its back and is too heavy to get back up? That hummingbirds can fly upside-down? That in 1450, a piano was created using live pigs to generate the tones instead of strings? That the latin name for the American Bison is bison bison bison? That the only reason an Aardvark is a widely known animal is because the Oxford dictionary editor in 1928 decided to include it as the first word?

Yeah, I didn't either.

Sidenote: Wow, who knew animals c...more
Steven
This book was amusing, but the author talks about animal sex too much. I mean, it's interesting and all, but do you really need to hear about it every other page? Sheesh.
Tippy Jackson
Right so...first off, I would definitely have to do some research on sources before I repeat any of this as current truth. I get a 404 error when I attempt to check in on the website that is supposed to list the sources and allow for corrections and comments. Some of the information I have come across previously, and sometimes the authors are obviously intentionally exaggerating and anthropomorphizing in an attempt to be more interesting. However, the result is that it's not always clear when th...more
Karen
Oct 30, 2012 Karen rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
I was very disappointed with this book. I loved The Book of General Ignorance, because it had so many interesting facts and just hopped around from topic to topic so you never knew what was next. I like random trivia, and I really like random trivia about animals, so I was expecting to like this one as much, if not more. But for me, the way the book is set up and laid out made it a very boring read. It's just a chunk on a bunch of animals, presented alphabetically, and tells some about the anima...more
Pam
Apr 25, 2012 Pam rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: animal
After much thought, I decided The Book of Animal Ignorance is like eating potato chips-I couldn't stop reading it, but it was not making me feel good. My first problem with the book is the short vignettes of only about 2 pages per animal, a format which I generally don't relate well too because I seem to lose all the information as I move on to the next unrelated topic. The second is that to make the subjects as interesting as possible the authors used exaggeration and focused on obscure facts....more
Tempo de Ler
{Blog} http://tempodler.blogspot.pt/2012/07/...


Os curiosos (e hilariantes!) factos sobre animais apresentados neste livro tornam-no numa leitura excecionalmente divertida.

Os autores avançam no livro, de animal em animal, descrevendo as facetas mais bizarras sobre cada um deles - coisas que não julgávamos sequer serem possíveis.

A adaptação das espécies e a variabilidade biológica são temas cativantes e quase inesgotáveis - exemplificados neste livro de forma bastante prática e simples.

Garantin...more
Chris
A fairly entertaining read. The book reviews a collection of animal species or broader group (mostly familiar beasties) and drops a heap of trivia about them. The entries covering a group like frogs or beetles feels a bit disjointed (Species A does this. Species B does this) but does show the diversity of a taxon. Not surprisingly, a lot of the information focuses on courtship and reproduction. In general, most of the information in each entry I knew, but that added some credibility to a book wi...more
Elizabeth
The Book of Animal Ignorance by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson (pp. 288)

This book is not one might expect from the cover. It is written as a trivia sequel to The Book of General Ignorance from the men who present the BBC program and website: Quite Interesting. The title format is shared with its predecessor, but makes little sense when it comes to the actual content. It is simply 100 of the most common animals presented in two page summaries covering some weird and fascinating facts. With only t...more
Spencer
brunei ants have guards that will intentionally explode their heads when threatened causing a sticky mess that slows down the intruders.
bears can give birth in their sleep.
if sealed and stored properly, honey is the one food that will never spoil.
jellyfish don't have brains.
ants act collectively, and together an ant colony has as many neurons as a human. ants dont gather food, harvester ants usually bring in foilage on which the farmer ants grow fungus.
a female cheetah will bring back antelope c...more
Sandra
Ein wirklich interessantes Buch voller unnützem Wissen über die Tierwelt.
Mich hat es wirklich sehr überrascht, was man alles für Tiere gefunden (und ausgerottet) hat und was diese Tiere alles können. Schön wird dabei deren Fähigkeiten auf den Menschen umgerechnet, sodass man sich gut vorstellen kann, was so ein Tier alles leisten kann - als Beispiel müsste der Mensch innerhalb von 20 Minuten 30 Tonnen Erde umgraben, um es mit dem Maulwurf (oder es war irgendein andres grabungsfähiges Tier) auf...more
Amy
A more specific and animal focused book of information. This book has lengthy explanations about each animal and their facts. Instead of questions, this book instead focus on each animal and explains all the weird and wild things about it over a couple pages. There are illustrations and additional snippets of information as well. It covers the well known animals such as cats and bears as well as the strange and unheard of animal varieties, it also reveals that there are some quite peculiar anima...more
Shauna
I'm rather enjoying this book--I'm learning all sorts of wacko facts I had no idea about (albatrosses can go for YEARS without landing; they can soar for six DAYS without once flapping their wings). But the format of the book doesn't really lend itself to reading straight through--this would be a great book for the bathroom (except I'm anti-reading material there). It's organized alphabetically with each chapter devoted to one type of animal. There are about 100 chapters--I'm on Bee. This could...more
Jan
A definite wealth of knowledge and trivia about the animal world that had me laughing out loud in some places, shaking my head in others and entertained from the first page to the last. Polar bears have an insatiable taste for toothpaste and will level a camp only to suck the last tube of Colgate dry. There are about 40,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 nematodes all told and their DNA is 75% identical with that of human beings.The Aisan giant hornet venom i...more
Holden Attradies
Really cool and interesting facts just like their first book. But I will admit that the repetitive nature of animal after animal got kind of tiring by the end. I guess maybe it was just too much similar information with nothing to break it up. It's a good read, don't get me wrong, but maybe a better bathroom read than all at once like I read it.
PRL
A good fun read. Each of the selected animals gets 5 or 6 pages to itself with some wonderful illustrations of interesting anatomical features.

I learnt more about the sexual practices of certain creatures than is probably good for me, but at least I can now tell a Common wasp from a German one.

In all, highly recommended.
David
This book is similar in spirit to "The Book of General Ignorance," also by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson. However, instead of a general trivia, question-and-answer format, this book is full of amazing facts about animals, organized in alphabetical order by animal. It's a fascinating and fun read, and the illustrations by Ted Dewan are clever and often very cute.

There are occasional editing problems. In the entry on giraffes, it claims that they have one more neck vertebra than other mammals but...more
Eva
In the foreword Mitcheson and Lloyd link the book to the old bestiaries - only this time, scientifically proven facts (or the stunning lack of knowledge we have about some creatures) instead of manticores and unicorns - describing it, very aptly, as an "armchair safari".

I loved this book and would it have been twice as long I would have loved it even more.
Some of the factoids (terrifying echidna penises, exploding German toads, etc.) I already knew about, but there was still a treasure trove of...more
Dana
This book is a lot of fun and chock full of information. Of course, the reproductive stuff is most titillating - the female hyena has an penis she give births out of and the kangaroo has 3! vaginae (really? spell checked corrected me on "vaginas".) - but the other facts about anatomy and habitat and evolution are also fascinating. Like the woodpecker has a mechanism in his head that adjusts the placement of his brain when he pecks - driving it to the back of his skull when his plunges forward in...more
Kevin
This booked is filled with all kinds of fun & fascinating facts covering the entire animal spectrum. From mites so small we can't even see them, to the biggest of them all, the mighty Blue Whale . There's even a chapter on us humans. But after reading this book my biggest question is what is this British fascination with the word bottom ? The authors used this word countless times and I couldn't help but think, c'mon guys we're adults, if you can't use come to grips with the ass word, how ab...more
Jennifer
I just started this book and love it so far. It is inspired by old fashioned bestiaries but all the crazy information is actually true!
For example,” Beavers can stay submerged for up to 15 minutes. In 1976 the College of Physicians and Faculty of Divinity in Paris classified beaver as a fish because of its scaly tail. That meant the French settlers of North America could officially eat beaver during lent and on other fast days."
or this... "If the male nine-banded armadillo were human, its p...more
Emma
A fun little book with stacks of interesting, amusing facts about the wacky, stranger than fiction creatures we share our planet with. This isn't the sort of book you read from cover to cover in one sitting, I found myself stealing moments to read a chapter at a time (each only being two pages) whenever I had a few minutes going free. Light, educational and in some cases eye opening, this is a lovely foray into wildlife, told with decent lashings of wit and wisdom so as not to make the subject m...more
Tori
This hodge-podge of factoids about familiar animals (and despite what the title claims, insects as well) is a entertaining compilation of facts you may not have ever thought to have wanted to know about nature.

Each entry is covered in a page or two and while won't make you an expert about any animal, might help you on trivia night at the bar. The descriptions are funny as well as enlightening, written with a wink and a nod.
Kim
An interesting look at at a selection of animals from A to Z. From the most common of animals like bees and worms to the rare like the tuatara and the quoll.

Some things I've read or known but even with the most common animal there were still new and interesting facts.

One thing I have learned is far too many animals eat their own feces or spray their urine on everything including each other.
Jerry Smith
Series of short narratives about interesting facets of animal life and behavior you didn't know. They are interesting but the author seems incapable of completing a section without dwelling on the breeding habits of the animal in question. It just becomes annoying - we really don't need an in depth analysis of every male animal's tackle for each example and it becomes wearing after a while.
Michelle
Lots of interesting and just plain crazy amazing animal facts organized into bite-sized portions perfect for when I had one or several moments to spare, otherwise known as I sat down to read one and ended up going through several and then sharing them with anyone who would listen. This book is filled with laugh/gasp/wow moments and charming illustrations, and was a lot of fun.
Nick
How appropriate to have finished this on April Fool's day. My husband and son thought I was joking when I first started to read some of these facts aloud. I did have to censor some of what I read to my son (he is 7). I'm not quite ready for some of the discussions that would have to follow! All in all it was a fascinating book with more facts than I could ever possibly remember.
Kim
Entertaining book of entries on various animals with surprising facts about each. However, the authors rely a bit too heavily on penis bones, barbed penises, double penises, animal rape and other facts about how each creature mates. The whole penis thing got boring by the end of the book. Not appropriate for children until they are ready to process sexual violence.
Elizabeth Newell
A fun enough book, but I'm pretty sure some of the 'facts' are incorrect. Amusingly, the author is British and keeps giving startling facts about American culture that I've never heard of (Like that we keep Bintoroungs as pets and say of ourselves that we engage in 'aardvarking'. Since the odd facts are the point of this book, it makes it a bit dissapointing.
Lisa


A light, quick read. Would make for good beach reading. The title really does little to describe the book. I was hoping for a "common knowledge says...." and then a " this is how it really is... " on each animal. Instead there's a page or two of cool trivia for each animal, which is fine, but not what the title implies.
Faith Fishcrazy
I really enjoyed this book. For minors, however, some may not want their kids to read it quite yet. It takes an unashamed look at the reproductive lives of these creatures, using blunt words that accurately describe. This book has some animals that I never even knew lived, such as my recent speech topic, the Fossa(look it up).
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John Hardress Wilfred Lloyd CBE is a British comedy writer and television producer. Lloyd was Trinity College, Cambridge, where he befriended and later shared a flat with Douglas Adams. He worked as a radio producer at the BBC 1974–1978 and created The News Quiz, The News Huddlines, To The Manor Born (with Peter Spence) and Quote... Unquote (with Nigel Rees). He wrote Hordes of the Things with And...more
More about John Lloyd...
The Book of General Ignorance The Second Book of General Ignorance: Everything You Think You Know Is (Still) Wrong 1,227 Quite Interesting Facts to Blow Your Socks Off The Book of the Dead: Lives of the Justly Famous and the Undeservedly Obscure If Ignorance Is Bliss, Why Aren't There More Happy People?: Smart Quotes for Dumb Times

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“Animals have this in common with one another: unlike humans they appear to spend every minute of every hour of every day of their lives being themselves. A tree frog (so far as we can ascertain) doesn't wake up in the morning feeling guilty that it was a bad tree frog the night before, nor does it spend any time wishing it were a wallaby or a crane fly. It just gets on with the business of being a tree frog, a job it does supremely well. We humans, well . . . we are never content, always guilty, and rarely that good at being what nature asked us to be--Homo sapiens.” 2 likes
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