A Book of Rather Strange Animals – Review

Matt Ward presents his concise review of Caleb Compton’s new fascinating Book of Rather Strange Animals and the lesser-known natural wonders of the world.

“There is beauty and wonder in every species, and this book will show you why”

From the tentacular star-nosed mole to the charcoal-chewing, wildly urinating okapi, this companion guide to left-field animalia is an insightful and concise read for anyone intrigued by the lesser-known wonders of the natural world. Inspired by the success of his Twitter handle @StrangeAnimals, Caleb Compton has compiled in this short but densely packed book all of the facts and curios you could desire about the strangeness and diversity of the animals we live alongside, knowingly or otherwise, across the globe. Accompanied by a range of photographs and illustrations, each animal enjoys a page long entry, providing such details as feeding habits, defense mechanisms, mating rituals, societal structures and, most importantly for the environmentally conscious reader, information on the human impact on the species’ future and what efforts are and can yet be made to help preserve these creatures. From the foreword onwards, Compton is careful to make the reader aware of the plight of the animals investigated and encourages a mindful approach to the natural world to preserve the wonderful diversity on show in the book. Reading the text, I enjoyed a system of dropping in and out, reading a few entries at a time either by order, or by which sounded most intriguing from its name. For environmentalists, students, animal enthusiasts, or just those with some time to spend and an interest in learning something new about the breathtaking spectacle of evolution, this book is for you.