Kate Savage's Reviews > The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks

The Devil's Teeth by Susan Casey
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Apr 07, 12

bookshelves: nonfiction, animals
Read in April, 2012

The mythological, dangerous Farrallon Islands captivate, horrify, and push researchers to their limits as they strive to observe the great white sharks that seasonally inhabit the waters.

Case takes us through several stays at the islands. Each one is plagued by bad weather, horrible gulls who spread bird lice, food shortages, and mechanical breakdowns. Also, it is really dangerous to be there. Around 30 miles from San Francisco, these islands are seasonal grounds for great white sharks. Case is clearly amazed by these creatures. Her writing makes it impossible not to be enthralled with her. She is not necessarily the center of her own narration. She gives great detail to the biologists who come back year after year to observe the great whites and birds who call the deadly Farallons home. Access to the Farallons is no easy thing. Very few people get a permit clearance to be on the island. Even fewer get permission to be on the island during shark season. Of course, that doesn't stop "shark cage" tourism boats from junking up the water.

Casey writes beautifully and often times shows the comedy of the deplorable conditions everyone endures in order to see the waters boil, a sea lion be taken, and shark fins emerge surrounded by streaks of blood so thick they can be smelled. The researchers have given most of the sharks nicknames and personalities. It sounds amazing. It also sounds quite dangerous and not to be taken lightly. Reading accounts like this really makes me think these giant beasts need to be studied at a far distance and otherwise left in complete peace.
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