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Bats Sing, Mice Giggle: The Surprising Science of Animals' Inner Lives

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  202 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
"Amazing, moving and enlightening. Bats Sing, Mice Giggle presents the latest findings on the intimate lives of animals with great elegance. I recommend it wholeheartedly."—Larry King

"Did you know that spiders taste with their feet, that a decapitated cockroach can live for two weeks, that a certain type of parrotfish wraps itself in a sort of foul-smelling snot before tak
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published August 17th 2010 by Icon Books (first published August 6th 2009)
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(showing 1-30)
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Petra X
Very enjoyable book about, essentially, how what we think of as human traits turn out to be evolutionary ones, that started way back some of them, in the lizard brain. Since I am definitely on the side of science and have no respect at all for creationists (I nearly wrote 'cretins'), which means fundamentalists of all kind of religions, I enjoyed this book.

I like to feel close to animals. I am not at all offended by having monkey cousins and orangutan ancestors. Actually it's a lovely thought th
Colleen Wu
Jan 17, 2011 Colleen Wu rated it it was ok
Interesting, but more a listing of random animal facts grouped into themed chapters than a cohesive book on animal behavior. The book also seemed to jump around in regards to reading/knowledge levels, at times assuming a high level of knowledge by the reader and at other times a low level. All of the information presented was intriguing and I would want to learn more, but did not really feel like this book had depth.
Carroll Straus
Jul 24, 2011 Carroll Straus rated it liked it
Bad editing-- frustrating and irritating. Every time they start to discuss something fascinating they break off and leave you hanging. Some of it seems to be written for third graders. I would say it was awful but there some of it that is POTENTIALLY terrific.

This book desperately needs a new editor!
Sep 07, 2010 Hayley rated it liked it
This book is a great source of wild animal behavior facts, but it wants to tackle too much and its organization isn't great.

It also seems to stop just short of examining the most debated and human-like qualities of animals - things like love, empathy, abstract creativity...

What you *will* see is a mass of science-based stories of how elephants pick up vibrations through their feet, whales have rhythm and monkeys lie. They're all entertaining.

The authors fit these tales into "Sensing," "Survivi
Maxwell Hayden
Mar 24, 2015 Maxwell Hayden rated it liked it
The book presents very interesting anecdotes and animal studies. The book is very concise and does not use much, if any flowery language which is nice considering the content matter. It doesn't make many connections between the studies but is rather organised like a series of short, non-critical scientific literature reviews. Although this was frustrating at times it makes this book easy to pick for a few minutes at a time without getting trapped in a story for hours. That being said I would ...more
Nov 10, 2011 Cindy rated it liked it
Recommends it for: I don't
This book was received free from Library Thing in exchange for review.

I love reading popular science books, and books on animal behavior are always fun. This had a lot going for it. But it also had a lot against it.

FOR: Animals are interesting. Great subject matter. All kinds of quirky bits of info I'd never heard before, which was why I wanted to read it in the first place.

AGAINST: Wow, where to start? First, the style was a little too breezy and tried too much to be funny. It was a little jarr
Jennifer Osterman
Nov 30, 2011 Jennifer Osterman rated it liked it
When I started reading Bats Sing, Mice Giggle, I think that I anticipated something along the lines of Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" about the science of Animal Behavior and Neurobiology. I was quite excited about the topic, as animal behavior is quite fascinating. However, while I enjoyed this book, I felt that it wasn't sure just what it wanted to be - a lighthearted romp, or a detailed overview for scientists. In some areas, I thought that the scientific detail was too ...more
Icon Books
Nov 17, 2011 Icon Books rated it it was amazing
Shelves: popular-science
Did you know that bats compose their own songs? That mice giggle when tickled? That porpoises go to sleep in only one half of their brains at a time? That lizards do push-ups to seduce a mate, that elephants ‘hear’ through their feet, or that rats laugh?

Drawing upon the very latest scientific research, Karen Shanor and Jagmeet Kanwal show how animals build, create and entertain themselves and others; how they express grief, joy, anger and fear; how animal ‘friends’ keep in touch; and how some an
May 16, 2012 Victoria rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, nature
Though the adage warns readers not to judge books by their covers, there should also be a warning about not basing expectations on titles! From the rather cutesy title, I really expected this book to be filled with more adorable anecdotes on animals. There were some of these stories, but just not the quantity that I expected. It was still an entertaining read, that was rather light on the neuroscience aspect that promised to give this book its own angle. The writing was quite clear, and easy to ...more
Mar 20, 2016 Jo rated it it was amazing
This one came up when I was looking for a book on bats to give to my brother for Christmas. It actually discusses the bats singing and the mice giggling rather briefly, but I found it all so fascinating that I don't care. While some of the science at the beginning gets a little dense, I found the book overall to be accessible for the average reader (AKA: people who aren't scientists), and the dense first section was made perfectly digestible by reading in small segments instead of gobbling it ...more
50 Book Reading Challenge 2015: A book with bad reviews I am aware that this book doesn't have terrible reviews on Goodreads, but its lower than what I normally read and I am not much of a fan, so I classified it as my "book with bad reviews". If not for the information about bats sprinkled throughout the book, I may have stopped reading. It contained good information, but usually just teased the reader. They would introduce an animal or topic and then only spend 3 sentences describing it
Mar 24, 2015 Amy rated it it was ok
I really wanted to enjoy this one but found it hard going. Lacked cohesion and some of the paragraphs stuttered - there was no continuous flow! And when there was the technical jargon was a bit much and took me out of the book so the results were the same for each chapter. As I've started to ascribe to the "life's too short to read a boom you're not enjoying" I stopped and returned to the library.
Jul 04, 2012 Miranda rated it it was amazing
This is a great review of research in the animal world. It really makes you think about how much we don't know about our non-human animal friends. Great, easy read that will make you smile, laugh and think about the world we inhabit.
Oct 03, 2016 Virginia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book to have with you because you can read a quick section while waiting around. The authors do a great job explaining the science so you don't have to have a degree in biology to know what's going on. Lots of fun factoids and interesting stories!
Jan 25, 2012 Hope rated it liked it
If I had skipped the Introduction, I would have enjoyed this book more. The writing style is a strange combination of formal scholarly writing and colloquial writing, a formal sentence that includes a phrase like 'those guys'. The Introduction defined what was included in each and every chapter, with a little description thrown in.

The rest of the book was really interesting, telling what scientists have learned about how animals behave and how they learned things. For example, we know that mice
Mar 03, 2012 SheilaRaeO rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I was disappointed in this book. With a title so playful as Bat's Sing, Mice Giggle, The Surprising Science of Animals' Inner Lives, I was expecting a more "heartwarming" approach to teaching the reader the science of these mysterious phenomenons. It was just too heavy handed on the science side and too dry on the emotional side for me. I enjoy science and discovering new things, but I am not a scientist, and I was expecting a more "readable" book for the average animal/nature lover.
I'm no good at reviews so I'll make this swift.
It was a fun and informative glance into the private lives of various animals, with a few specific cases that were really interesting.
A good start for any people interested in animal behaviour.
Aug 22, 2012 Kelly rated it liked it
Not the best bed time read since there was a lot of scientific jargon that went over my sleepy head. There was a lot of interesting information on animals and how they communicate and sense the environment around them.
Sep 02, 2016 Perri rated it really liked it
"Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we CAN imagine" Sir Arthur Eddington, quoted in part one, emphasis added, and isn't that just the truth!?!? The authors look at how different animals sense, survive and socialize using the latest scientific findings.
Sep 15, 2013 Georgina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
very disappointing, it doesn't live up to its title. It's very badly written and would have been better of as a bulleted list. Although some of the facts are interesting it lacks detail and it doesn't hang together so really doesn't achieve anything.
Jun 15, 2011 Lindsay rated it liked it
A quick read full of animal behaviour snippets. Could have gone into some more detail, but there were some fun facts in here.
Apr 07, 2012 David rated it it was ok
Shelves: cleanskin
Always nice to learn new things of interest, even when most of it will just be trivia and only a grain remembered. See how it goes
Maranda Cromwell
May 29, 2012 Maranda Cromwell rated it it was amazing
Very enlightening and scientifically sourced. A great read for anyone interested in the higher brain functions of animals.
May 13, 2014 Linda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animal-behavior
Wonderful book about how delving just a little deeper reveals so much more about the intricacies and nuances of animal behavior and animal sensibilities.
Donna Jo Atwood
Very readable book about animals--how they communicate, how they express their feelings, how they manage their world.
Nadine rated it liked it
Feb 01, 2015
Abby Ismond
Abby Ismond rated it it was ok
May 30, 2016
Amy rated it liked it
Mar 23, 2012
Claire rated it really liked it
Jan 06, 2013
Scottie Richardson
Scottie Richardson rated it it was amazing
May 30, 2015
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“Research suggests that the earliest flying reptiles swallowed small pieces of volcanic rock and could breathe out flammable gases like hydrogen produced in their own bodies. It is hypothesized that their ingenious “fire breath” was used as a defense against predatory reptiles.” 2 likes
“at least a fifth of all mammalian species are bats.” 1 likes
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