Secret Language of Animals: A Guide to Remarkable Behavior

Secret Language of Animals: A Guide to Remarkable Behavior

Janine M. Benyus

Language: English

Pages: 480

ISBN: 1579129684

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Unlock the secrets behind the behavior of the world's most fascinating creatures? from the Adélie penguin to the plains zebra to the giant panda?in this wonderfully written, beautifully illustrated book.

In The Secret Language of Animals, biologist Janine Benyus takes us inside the animal kingdom and shows us the whys and the hows behind the distinctive behavior of creatures great and small in their natural environments.

Divided geographically into five sections?Africa, Asia, North America, the oceans, and the poles?the book examines and describes the behavior, body language, and patterns of communication of 20 different animals: the gorilla, lion, African elephant, plains zebra, black rhinoceros, giraffe, ostrich, greater flamingo, Nile crocodile, giant panda, peacock, Komodo monitor, bottlenose dolphin, California sea lion, gray wolf, bald eagle, sandhill crane, beluga whale, polar bear, and Adélie penguin.

For each animal, Benyus describes and explains basic behaviors (locomotion, feeding, drinking, bathing, grooming, sleeping), communication behavior (greeting, social play, group defense, conflict, aggression/submission, fighting, courtship, copulation), and parenting behavior (birth, care and feeding, teaching, communal care).

The book is illustrated throughout with tender yet precise line drawings that beckon us to the animals and vividly capture everything from changing facial expressions to nurturing postures to playful and aggressive interactions. The text, too, is both intimate and informative, allowing for a deep connection with, and a great admiration for, each one of the animals.

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with one of her case studies of animals before your next zoo outing, your visit will be transformed. It was a privilege for me to watch those great animals, the rhinoceroses, as it is a privilege to be able to gaze upon the lives of all animals, zoo’d, wild, or domestic. What I have seen has changed me. The “secret language” of animals is decodable for those who know how to look. The pages that follow hold your code. Go observe! —Dr. Alexandra Horowitz, author of Inside of a Dog and On Looking

internal furnace, just as we do. To conserve their hard-won warmth in achingly cold temperatures, penguins evolved two forms of insulation: a layer of blubber and a tight, overlapping coat of feathers and down. This skull-cap-smooth covering traps a layer of air next to the penguin’s body, allowing it to brave iceberg-chilled waters in relative comfort. The second danger occurs because the penguin, despite its dependence on the sea, has never evolved gills. It has to carry a supply of oxygen

scavenging, 380 threat call, 374, 375 characteristics, 375–376 evolution, 375 interaction communal hunting and feeding, 381 communal roosting and bathing, 380, 381–382 conflict behavior, 381–383, 382–383 food fights, 382–383, 383, 389 friendly behavior, 381 with humans, 385–386 threat, 381–382, 382, 389 location, 375, 376 parenting behavior caring for eggs, 387 eaglet feeding, 387, 387, 389 eaglet life rehearsal, 388, 389 nest building, 386–387 sibling rivalry, 388 pesticides

available, the terrain they must traverse, and the predators they must face. The most complex societies have developed among mammals that live in a relatively open habitat, especially one that contains large, dangerous predators. For these animals, it pays to have more than one set of eyes on the lookout and to be able to mount a group defense when predators attack. Part of the beauty of living in a group is simple statistics. If an animal is alone when a predator strikes, it will surely be

Mammals, having the most facile faces in the animal world, are often able to move their lips, ears, eyes, and even noses with meaning. Many of these movements are characteristic not just of one species, but of an entire group of species. Primates, for instance, be they monkeys, orangutans, or humans, share a common repertoire of facial expressions. The human smile is a good example; both human and nonhuman primates bare their teeth in a grin when they are delighted or feeling frisky. The

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