South American rats settle arguments by boxing. Tuna fish sunbathe and herring communicate with each other by breaking wind. Llamas hum to each other, elephants impersonate traffic sounds and whales sing ballads. Some kangaroos grow on trees. Strange new, scientifically proven facts about the animal kingdom emerge seemingly every day. Here, gathered together in one book, are hundreds of the funniest, most fascinating and plain bizarre things we have discovered about the non-human world. All animal life is here- from the only dog that can develop gout to the wren whose song sounds just like Beethoven, from the cattle that generate electricity to the worm that has the power to brainwash. It is a book full of surprises. Who would have thought giraffes can't trot, reindeer 'fly' after taking magic mushrooms or that elk turn nasty when drunk? Who would have known that shark embryos attack, that caterpillars tap dance or that - out of our earshot - male mice are serenading their girlfriends with high-pitched love songs? And who on earth would have guessed that male pandas court potential partners by performing handstands?
Augustus Brown's fascination with the strange side of animal life began on the Welsh farm where he grew up surrounded by cows that could sense rain, highly-combustible sheep and chickens that could easily be hypnotised. As a journalist and author, he has since written and contributed to numerous books, many on animal behaviour. In researching this book, he drew on scientific archives, books and studies, scores of zoological and biological websites and consulted leading experts in the animal science world. The most surprising thing he learned was that many animals frequently get drunk. The least surprising thing he learned was they get into trouble when they do so. Augustus Brown lives in London with his wife and two children, overlooking a park filled with creatures whose innocent appearance no longer fools him.