Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Book of Animal Ignorance: Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong” as Want to Read:
The Book of Animal Ignorance: Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  1,104 Ratings  ·  109 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Book of Animal Ignorance, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Book of Animal Ignorance

The Book of General Ignorance by John LloydWhy Do Men Have Nipples? by Mark LeynerUncle John's Bathroom Reader by Bathroom Readers' InstituteWhat If? by Randall MunroeChildhood Is Hell by Matt Groening
Best Bathroom Books
12th out of 140 books — 55 voters
Brisingr by Christopher PaoliniAmerican Wife by Curtis SittenfeldThe Ghost in Love by Jonathan CarrollHome by Marilynne RobinsonThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Best books of September, 2008
29th out of 29 books — 30 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 08, 2015 Ryan rated it really liked it
So many great facts in here. Animals are fricking weird. makes me laugh that people try and speculate on extra-terrestrial life when animals on our own planet are completely alien to us!

Anyway neither here nor there, this one's well worth the read!

especially if you want to hear about animal penises and sex habits! And who doesn't !xD
Aug 11, 2008 Susie rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-commented
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
Jan 10, 2009 Steven rated it liked it
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
Dec 30, 2012 Tippy Jackson rated it it was ok
Shelves: animalia, 2012
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 ...more
Oct 30, 2012 Karen rated it did not like it
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 ...more
Apr 25, 2012 Pam rated it it was ok
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
Jul 01, 2012 Tempo de Ler rated it really liked it

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.

While this wasn’t quite as entertaining as the Book of General Ignorance, it was still very interesting and mostly amusing and I did learn quite a few things that I didn’t know before, which is always a bonus. Typically for QI it does lean towards the sexual side of life, descriptions and innuendo (so be prepared!) and while this does get a little tiresome it is not unexpected. A good read although it would probably be better read in small doses rather than in one go like I did.
Oct 04, 2016 Harun rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yabancı
Bir kitap için bunu yazdığım için üzgünüm ama bana göre değilmiş,bitirene kadar neler çektim.
Nov 25, 2008 Spencer rated it really liked it
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
Aug 27, 2009 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Shelves: 52-in-2009
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
Bert Becker
Nov 23, 2014 Bert Becker rated it liked it
Shelves: becker-s-reviews
Lloyd, John (2008). The Book of Animal Ignorance: Everything YOu think You KNow Is Wrong. Random House LLC 256 pages

Citation by: Bert Becker

Type of reference: Alamanac

Call Number: Ref 550.1

Content/Scope: This alamanac is a book written about animals A to Z and gives very interesting information and is beautiful illustrated. It gives interesting and witty insight on the animal kingdom.

Accuracy/Authority/Bias: It is published by Random House which is a estabished publisher and the information tha
Nov 14, 2011 Chris rated it liked it
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 ...more
Mar 25, 2011 Sandra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals, non-fiction
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
Jun 15, 2008 Shauna rated it really liked it
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
Giulia Negri
Aug 28, 2016 Giulia Negri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ora che si sono concluse le Olimpiadi di Rio, la “medaglia libresca” va al libro che mi ha accompagnata in questi ultimi giorni. Mentre gli atleti saltavano gli ostacoli… io non saltavo nemmeno una riga. Anzi, alcune scoperte erano così esilaranti che perseguitavo chi mi stava vicino per recitare alcuni estratti ad alta voce. Ebbene sì, un altro libro sugli animali: mi appassionano fin da quando ero piccola e ho sempre amato leggere del loro comportamento, oltre a divorare tutti i documentari ...more
Jan 10, 2013 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Jul 27, 2013 Jan rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Aug 02, 2013 Eva rated it it was amazing
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
May 16, 2009 David rated it really liked it
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
Dec 06, 2009 Dana rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Am Y
Nov 21, 2015 Am Y rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Riddled with editorial mistakes. E.g. Some words were joined together, missing punctuation, etc. But I must admit it was an interesting read.

The book lists many animals, from goats to fleas to sea cucumbers and more, and dedicates exactly 2 pages (still a substantial read though, because the font was small, so 2 pages contained a lot of text!) to each of them; I learned lots of entertaining trivia.

Would recommend this book if you want something factual (I hope) but light (and sometimes humorous
Jan 13, 2009 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-nf
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
Kevin McAllister
Dec 15, 2008 Kevin McAllister rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Mar 17, 2013 Emma rated it really liked it
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 ...more
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.
Feb 07, 2009 Tori rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 15, 2014 Alayne rated it it was amazing
An A-to-Z book about individual stories of the animal kingdom. It tells witty tales about man's first encounter with kangaroos (mouse-colored deer with big feet), to explaining the sexual reproduction habits of many reptiles (fascinating!), to even a brief moment to explain humans. Reading the stories, even with the number of snippets that ended with "and now they are extinct," continuously brought a smile to my face.
Apr 02, 2011 Nick rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 17, 2012 Kim rated it liked it
Shelves: genre-nonfiction
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The People's Almanac Presents the Book of Lists
  • Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife
  • Rainforest
  •'s Ultimate Book of Bizarre Lists: Fascinating Facts and Shocking Trivia on Movies, Music, Crime, Celebrities, History, and More
  • The Ultimate Book of Top Ten Lists: A Mind-Boggling Collection of Fun, Fascinating and Bizarre Facts on Movies, Music, Sports, Crime, Celebrities, History, Trivia and More
  • Curious Folks Ask: 162 Real Answers on Amazing Inventions, Fascinating Products, and Medical Mysteries
  • Dark Banquet: Blood and the Curious Lives of Blood-Feeding Creatures
  • That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles: 62 All-New Commentaries on the Fascinating Chemistry of Everyday Life
  • Dracula is a Racist: A Totally Factual Guide to Vampires
  • Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
  • Does Anything Eat Wasps?: And 101 Other Unsettling, Witty Answers to Questions You Never Thought You Wanted to Ask
  • Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages
  • Do Elephants Jump?: An Imponderables' Book
  • The Taming of the Screw: How to Sidestep Several Million Homeowner's Problems
  • The Ig Nobel Prizes
  • The Life of Mammals
  • Why Don't Penguins' Feet Freeze?: And 114 Other Questions
  • mental floss presents Instant Knowledge (Collins Gem)
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 ...more
More about John Lloyd...

Share This Book

“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.” 4 likes
More quotes…