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Owls Aren't Wise & Bats Aren't Blind: A Naturalist Debunks Our Favorite Fallacies About Wildlife
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Owls Aren't Wise & Bats Aren't Blind: A Naturalist Debunks Our Favorite Fallacies About Wildlife

3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  126 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Did you know that "flying" squirrels are incapable of true flight? Were you aware that opossums don't "play dead," as in the common folk saying "playing possum"? In this fascinating and gorgeously illustrated new book, wildlife expert and enthusiast Warner Shedd, former executive for the National Wildlife Federation, uncovers the scientific realities obscured by our numero ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Crown (first published June 27th 2000)
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Aug 05, 2009 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a wildlife lover and a voracious reader of books about wildlife, I already knew that most of the myths listed at the beginning of the chapter are truly myths. The book is very engaging just the same. Although the book confirms much of what I know, there was still much to discover, like that beavers are often flattened and killed by the very trees they're trying to fell and that coy-dog lines die out quickly because the introduction of the dog genes throw procreation out of whack by introducin ...more
Chris Meads
Apr 20, 2014 Chris Meads rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, wildlife
Since I am an avid outdoor and nature nut, I really liked this book. It is informative as well as a bit humorous. The author has many tales to tell that happened not only to himself but to others also.

Each chapter deals with a particular animal such as the bat, the cougar, whitetail deer and salamander. Each lists the myths about each critter and why they aren't true. Some of these myths have been around for a long time so there is the question of how they got started, while others come about be
Suzanne Watkins
Amusing book! I learned a lot of really great things about common animals, and now have some points of random trivia. However, there are some of the "myths" that he mentioned that I had never heard of before, and I feel like he maybe made them up so he could divulge some more information about that animal. Some of the animal chapters has must more than I wanted to hear, or much less. Still, a fun read.
May 30, 2011 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Read this for work.

I was unfamiliar with at least half of the myths presented in this book. The use of myths seemed like a weak vehicle for writing short life histories of the mammals and amphibians presented in this book. This book is appropriate for an general audience being introduced to these species.

I could have done without the personal stories about wildlife observations.
May 10, 2017 Deidre rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very informative and debunks a lot of animals myths, but would have preferred more engaging prose style.
Tippy Jackson
This was fun. Learned some cool new facts. I felt like sometimes they were cheating a little. For example, one of the debunked myths is that opossums play dead. They do essentially appear to be dead for a would be predator. However, the author notes that they are not "playing" dead, in that it is not a conscious action and not an active attempt at deception. So okay, he's right, but that's not the main point of the common use of the "myth." It's more just getting nit-picky with the language, whi ...more
It’s funny that such a little thing should be such a distraction, especially something as small as an exclamation point!!! But where was the editor on this project? I have read book after book and never come across a single exclamation point! Guess what? They are all in this book! After awhile the very sight of one made me moan! There must be one per page!

Otherwise, the book is filled with useful, fun information! It debunks a lot of old folk wisdom! Example: I have worked with owls for years;
Jul 21, 2010 Castiron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-checkout
A very readable introduction to a wide variety of U.S. wildlife. The details about the various animals' life cycles, diets, activities, environment, and so forth was interesting, and Shedd also talks about things we *don't* know about particular animals.

My only complaint about this book is that there are parts where Shedd conflates "common sight in New England" with "common sight in the U.S." I've never seen a beaver's dam that I can recall, for example, because I've never lived in the northern
May 02, 2015 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was both informative and entertaining. It took me a while to finish because I wanted to read a chapter or two and digest them and then come back to the book. Otherwise I thought the information was too overwhelming. I found the facts in this book interesting and the antidotes related by the author both informative and amusing. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading material on wildlife and nature.
Apr 24, 2016 Ashley marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Own in hardback.

FS: "The path that led to this book began with an instinctive fascination with wildlife, evident even when I was very young."

LS: "Nonetheless, we may well witness the return of relatively large herds of these great, shaggy, magnificent beasts - the quintessential North American mammal - grazing as in centuries past."
May 21, 2015 Sacha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Meh. I would like to do some further myth busting. I was especially annoyed with the bear chapter. Mr Shed states that bears have poor eyesight. This is a common misconception. He also makes no mention of elk and claims that the whitetail deer is the most iconic member of the deer family. He's obviously never spent time in the west. Disappointing overall.
Aug 12, 2011 Jessie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the books that me and my mom read together when I was little. I know that seems strange, especially since I was the one who longed to read it. I was very into animals (still am) and was always reading animal encyclopedias so no matter how strange it seems for a six-year-old to read this book, I enjoyed it.
Lynda Gross
Nov 28, 2012 Lynda Gross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I live in a very rural area. I appreciated the personal experiences and the information. I now know why I find golf balls in the meadow and on the forest floor. Great book full of information of lots of animals I have seen and made assumptions about.
Jun 14, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfict, animals
Most of these myths I already knew weren't true, or had never heard of. However, that didn't stop this book from being exceptionally engaging and informative. Lots of information about the species all around me: deer, rodents, squirrels, owls: love it!
Apr 09, 2014 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read it the first time on 5/6/14.
Jan 10, 2013 Ami rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish, 2013
Kind of dry but I learned a few things, and the drawings were gorgeous.
Jul 04, 2007 Jeremy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great one for debunking nature myths.
Jan 07, 2010 Lauren rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Mediocre naturalist book. Maybe I'm just over it because none of it was new information, and it's not a particularly good version of the same old thing.
Very good introduction to those of us ignoramuses out there!
Julie R
Apr 16, 2010 Julie R rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting, simple read about fun animal facts. Would recommend to anyone who enjoys learning about wildlife.
Amy Sawyer
Feb 14, 2016 Amy Sawyer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read for the average person looking to learn more. Enjoyed the sprinkling of anecdotes provided by the author.
May 28, 2011 Vasha7 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has a completely delightful style, both informative and anecdotal. I sometimes dip into it when I need cheering up. With great pictures by Trudy Nicholson, too.
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