The Johns Hopkins University Press

The Animal Answer Guides: Q&A for the Curious Naturalist

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The Animal Answer Guides: Q&A for the Curious Naturalist

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Deer

The Animal Answer Guide

George A. Feldhamer and William J. McShea

Think of deer and the image that pops into most American's minds is that of a white-tailed deer, the most common large mammal in North America. Most Europeans are more familiar with red deer. It may surprise many people to know that there are actually about 50 species of deer found throughout the world. Here, readers will find nontechnical, expert information about the wide range of diverse deer species. Did you know that elk and caribou are deer? Or that the earliest fossils of deer are 15 to 20 million years old? Have you ever wondered whether deer swim, play, or see color? How do deer avoid predators and survive the winter? Do deer make good pets or carry contagious diseases? George A. Feldhamer and William J. McShea answer these and other intriguing questions about members of the deer family Cervidae. From the diminutive pudu of South America that weighs 17 pounds to male moose that weigh close to 2,000 pounds, Feldhamer and McShea explore the biology, evolution, ecology, feeding habits, reproduction, and behavior of deer. They chronicle the relationships between humans and deer—both positive and negative—and discuss the challenges of deer conservation and management. With vivid color photographs and an accessible and engaging question-and-answer format, this easy-to-read book is the go-to resource on deer. Nature lovers, hunters, and anyone curious about deer will find this fact-filled book both fascinating and full of surprises.

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Fishes

The Animal Answer Guide

Gene Helfman and Bruce Collette

One fish, two fish, red fish, nearly thirty thousand species of fish—or fishes, as they are properly called when speaking of multiple species. This is but one of many things the authors of this fascinatingly informative book reveal in answering common and not-so-common questions about this ubiquitous group of animals. Fishes range in size from tiny gobies to the massive Ocean Sunfish, which weighs thousands of pounds. They live in just about every body of water on the planet. Ichthyologists Gene Helfman and Bruce Collette provide accurate, entertaining, and sometimes surprising answers to over 100 questions about these water dwellers, such as "How many kinds of fishes are there?" "Can fishes breathe air?" "How smart are fishes?" and "Do fishes feel pain?" They explain how bony fishes evolved, the relationship between them and sharks, and why there is so much color variation among species. Along the way we also learn about the Devils Hole Pupfish, which has the smallest range of any vertebrate in the world; Lota lota, the only freshwater fish to spawn under ice; the Candiru, a pencil-thin Amazonian catfish that lodges itself in a very personal place of male bathers and must be removed surgically; and many other curiosities. With over 100 photographs—including two full-color photo galleries—and the most up-to-date facts on the world's fishes from two premier experts, this fun book is the perfect bait for any curious naturalist, angler, or aquarist.

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Frogs

The Animal Answer Guide

Mike Dorcas and Whit Gibbons

Frogs are amazingly diverse—ranging from the massive goliath frog, which weighs several pounds, to the recently discovered gold frog, which measures a mere three-eighths of an inch when fully grown—and have inhabited the earth for more than 200 million years. Today, however, these amphibians face more challenges than any other vertebrate group. In this fun and informative book, herpetologists Mike Dorcas and Whit Gibbons answer common and not-so-common questions people may have about these fascinating animals. Dorcas and Gibbons discuss how frogs evolved, which species currently exist in the world, and why some have recently gone extinct. They reveal what frogs eat and what eats them, their role in cultures across the globe, why many populations are declining and what we can do to reverse this dangerous trend, why there are deformed frogs, and much more. They answer expected questions such as “What is the difference between a frog and a toad?” and “Why do some people lick toads?” and unexpected ones such as “Why do some frogs lay their eggs in the leaves of trees?” and “Do frogs feel pain?” The authors’ easy-to-understand yet thorough explanations provide insight into the amazing biology of this amphibian group. In addressing conservation questions, Dorcas and Gibbons highlight the frightening implications of the current worldwide amphibian crisis, which many scientists predict will bring extinction rates experienced by frog species to levels not seen in any vertebrate animal group in millions of years. Packed with facts and featuring two color galleries and 70 black-and-white photographs, Frogs: The Animal Answer Guide is sure to address the questions on the minds of curious naturalists.

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Geckos

The Animal Answer Guide

Aaron M. Bauer

Q: How do geckos walk across ceilings? A: Millions of hair-like setae on each foot. Q: Where do geckos come from? A: Throughout the world. Usually where it’s warm. Q: How many species of geckos are there? A: Close to 1,500 and counting! Q: What do they eat? A: Insects mostly. Discover the biology, natural history, and diversity of geckos—the acrobatic little lizards made famous by a car insurance ad campaign. Lizard biologist and gecko expert Aaron Bauer answers deceptively simple questions with surprising and little-known facts. Readers can explore color photographs that reveal the natural wonder and beauty of the gecko form and are further informed by images of how geckos live in their natural habitats. Although written for nonexperts, Geckos also provides a carefully selected bibliography and a new list of all known species that will be of interest to herpetologists. Anyone who owns a gecko, has seen them in the wild, or has wondered about them will appreciate this gem of a book.

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Parrots

The Animal Answer Guide

Matt Cameron

Have you ever wondered what parrots eat in the wild? Or why so many species live in the Amazon? How intelligent are parrots? What is the world’s rarest parrot? Parrots: The Animal Answer Guide provides detailed, factual answers to the ninety questions most on our minds. There are more than 350 species of these colorful callers, ranging in size from the diminutive lovebird to the massive macaw. Many species can live to be octogenarians in captivity—sometimes outliving their human caretakers by decades. The beautiful plumage of parrots and the ability to mimic sounds are both a blessing and a curse. A number of species are in danger of extinction because they are captured and sold into the pet trade by unscrupulous dealers. Fortunately, most parrot owners and retailers rely on captive breeding, although an appalling amount of wild collection continues. In addition to discussing parrot behavior and biology, Matt Cameron reveals the truth about the trade in wild parrots and explains what each of us can do to help save native populations. Whether you are a parrot owner, birder, ornithologist, or curious naturalist, you will find that Cameron asks and fully answers every question you have about these incredible birds.

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Porcupines

The Animal Answer Guide

Uldis Roze

Could a porcupine make a good pet? Do they ever stick themselves or other porcupines with their quills? In this latest addition to the Animal Answer Guide series, we learn about these mysterious animals’ “pincushion defense” along with the following facts: • porcupines survive on a diet of leaves, bark, and fruit • quills are actually modified hairs • there are 26 species of porcupines (and counting) • Old World and New World porcupines have a common ancestor but evolved independently • New World males will gather to fight ferociously over a single female Porcupines: The Animal Answer Guide presents solid, current science of porcupine biology. Uldis Roze compares porcupines in terms of body plan, behavior, ecology, reproduction, and evolutionary relationships. He examines the diversity of porcupines from around the world—from North and South America to Africa and Asia. This guide explores the interactions between humans and porcupines, including hunting, use of quills by aboriginal societies, efforts to poison porcupines, and human and pet injuries (and deaths) caused by porcupines. Roze also highlights the conservation issues that surround some porcupine species, such as the thin-spine porcupine of Brazil, which is so rare that it was thought to be extinct until its rediscovery in the 1980s.

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Rabbits

The Animal Answer Guide

Susan Lumpkin and John Seidensticker

Did you know that there are more than 90 species of rabbits, hares, and pikas, rabbits' little-known cousins? And that new species are still being found? Or that baby rabbits nurse from their mothers only once a day? How about that some people brew medicinal tea from rabbit pellets? Wildlife conservationists Susan Lumpkin and John Seidensticker have all the answers—from the mundane to the unbelievable—about the world’s leaping lagomorphs. To some, rabbits are simply a docile pet for the classroom or home. To others, they are the cute animals munching on clover or the pests plaguing vegetable gardens. Whatever your interest, in Rabbits: The Animal Answer Guide you will discover that they are a more complex group than you might have first imagined. Lumpkin and Seidensticker take these floppy-eared creatures out of the cabbage patch and into the wild, answering 95 frequently asked questions about these familiar and fascinating animals. With informative photographs and an accessible format, Rabbits: The Animal Answer Guide is the one resource you will need to learn about rabbits' anatomy and physiology, evolutionary history, ecology, behavior, and their relationships with humans. Lumpkin and Seidensticker also talk about conservation, because while rabbits may breed like, well, rabbits, several species are among the most endangered animals on Earth.

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Sharks

The Animal Answer Guide

Gene Helfman and George H. Burgess

Answering every conceivable question about sharks, authors Gene Helfman and George H. Burgess describe the fascinating biology, behavior, diversity, and cultural importance of sharks (there are more than 1,000 species worldwide), their close relations to skates and rays, and their critical role in healthy ecosystems. Helfman and Burgess take readers on a round-the-world tour of shark habitats, which include oceans as well as lakes and even rivers (as far up the Mississippi as St. Louis). They describe huge, ferocious predators like (Great) White and Tiger sharks and species such as Basking and Whale sharks that feed on microscopic prey yet can grow to lengths of more than 40 feet. The mysterious and powerful Greenland shark, the authors explain, reaches a weight of 2,200 pounds on a diet of seal flesh. Small (less than 2-foot long) Cookiecutter sharks attack all of these and even take a chunk out of the occasional swimmer. Despite our natural fascination with sharks, we have become their worst enemy. Many shark species are in serious decline and a number are threatened with extinction as a result of overfishing and persecution. Sharks: The Animal Answer Guide presents a perfect mix of current science, history, anthropology, intriguing facts, and gripping photographs. Whether your fascination with sharks stems from fear or curiosity, your knowledge of these animals will improve immensely when you consult this book.

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Small Wild Cats

The Animal Answer Guide

James G. Sanderson and Patrick Watson

Did you know that most wild cat species are small and that lions, tigers, and other large cats are the exception? That adult bobcats, clouded leopards, and other small wild cats are completely asocial? And that they fight only as a last resort? This entertaining and informative book reveals these and hundreds of other facts about the behavior, biology, and conservation of the more than thirty small wild cat species. From bobcats to servals, small cats are spread across the globe. They range in size from the rusty-spotted cat and African black-footed cat, each of which weighs around five pounds when fully grown, to the Eurasian lynx, which can reach an adult weight of 60 pounds. These felids are elusive, some are nocturnal, others are arboreal, and all are rare and secretive, making them especially difficult to study. James G. Sanderson, the world’s leading field expert on small wild cats, and naturalist and wildlife artist Patrick Watson provide informative and entertaining answers to common and unexpected questions about these animals. The authors explain why some small cats live on the ground while others inhabit trees, discuss the form and function of their coat types and colors, offer scientifically sound information on human–small wild cat interactions, and even review the role small that wild cats have played in literature, religion, and mythology. The world of cats is as fascinating as it is diverse. Small Wild Cats: The Animal Answer Guide shows just how important and interesting the littlest of the non-domesticated feline family are.

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Squirrels

The Animal Answer Guide

Richard W. Thorington, Jr., and Katie E. Ferrell

Did you know that a groundhog is really a type of squirrel? That squirrels control their body temperature with their tails? That most squirrels have yellow-tinted eye lenses that work like sunglasses to reduce glare? That tree squirrels can turn their hind feet completely around when climbing down a tree head-first? In Squirrels: The Animal Answer Guide, Richard W. Thorington Jr. and Katie Ferrell unveil the fascinating world of one of the "most watched" mammals on the planet. The diversity of squirrels is astounding. There are 278 species that inhabit all continents except Antarctica and Australia—varying in size from the lumbering 18-pound gray marmot to the graceful pygmy flying squirrel that is smaller than most mice. In many parts of the world they readily share human habitats, joining us for lunch in a city park, raiding our bird feeders, and sneaking into college dorm rooms through open windows. Reviled as pests or loved as an endearing amusement, squirrels have played important roles in trade, literature, and mythology. Thorington and Ferrell cover every aspect of this diverse animal family, from the first squirrels of 36 million years ago to the present day. With over one hundred photographs and an intuitive question-and-answer format, this authoritative and engaging guide sheds light on a common mammal that is anything but commonplace.

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