• The Truth About Animals

  • Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife
  • By: Lucy Cooke
  • Narrated by: Lucy Cooke
  • Length: 10 hrs and 28 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (227 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Mary Roach meets Bill Bryson in this "surefire summer winner" (Janet Maslin, New York Times), an uproarious tour of the basest instincts and biggest mysteries of the animal world

Humans have gone to the Moon and discovered the Higgs boson, but when it comes to understanding animals, we've still got a long way to go. Whether we're seeing a viral video of romping baby pandas or a picture of penguins "holding hands," it's hard for us not to project our own values - innocence, fidelity, temperance, hard work - onto animals. So you've probably never considered if moose get drunk, penguins cheat on their mates, or worker ants lay about. They do - and that's just for starters. 

In The Truth About Animals, Lucy Cooke takes us on a worldwide journey to meet everyone from a Colombian hippo castrator to a Chinese panda porn peddler, all to lay bare the secret - and often hilarious - habits of the animal kingdom. Charming and at times downright weird, this modern bestiary is perfect for anyone who has ever suspected that virtue might be unnatural. 

©2018 Lucy Cooke (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"[A] deeply researched, sassily written history of 'the biggest misconceptions, mistakes and myths we've concocted about the animal kingdom,' spread by figures from Aristotle to Walt Disney." (Nature)

"The eclectic stories come thick and fast, with an equally varied human cast dedicated to uncovering the truth, scientifically or otherwise. Cooke illuminates and mickey-takes in equal measure, and the truth as she tells it is not only unexpected but often bizarre, bawdy and very, very funny. " (BBC Wildlife - UK)

"In the end, the history of zoology reveals as much about our human foibles as about the animals we study. And this book will leave readers more enlightened about both." (Science News)

What listeners say about The Truth About Animals

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great listen, highly recommend

Lucy Cooke does a great job of narrating her book about some of the more obscure histories of a handful of animals. The stories are fascinating, at times almost unbelievable. She not only delves into the unique abilities of each animal, but also the quirky attempts that us humans have made in trying to understanding them. If you're a animal lover, nature lover, history lover, or just like a good story, you should definitely give this a listen. You won't regret it.

12 people found this helpful

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It's ok but a bit corny

I like where the book comes from and agree with many of her points. Unfortunately, it feels like it provides only a handful of interesting content which it stretches out to cover the entire book using not so funny puns and gimmicky entertainments. it doesn't help that the voice performance itself isn't the greatest, switching between wacky to represent the author and an over stuffy parody of authoritative voice to represent direct quotes from source material.

5 people found this helpful

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Fascinating and Obscure Facts about Animals.

I really enjoyed this book. It's full of those odd useless but fascinating facts some of us love. Wait till you hear about the hyena's genitalia. Historical asides abound which are very entertaining. It also addresses research and how wrong headed some of it has been over the centuries.

My only (mild) complaint is with the author's narration. She reads VERY fast and blasts right by some witty and funny anecdotes. You don't have time to appreciate them as you're racing to catch up with her. This would have benefited from a professional narrator. That said, Ms. Cooke is obviously well-educated and enunciates clearly, so there's no problem there. I look forward to listening or reading more of her works.

2 people found this helpful

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OK

This was a mildly interesting, mildly informative book about animals. The book is quirky at best, tedious at worst. The narration is a little off-putting (as with the vast majority of author narrations). The "Truth" you learn are a few odd, funny, or sexual aspects of a handful of animals.

I don't regret reading this, and I shared a few of the facts with others, but I would not recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

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very informative

A great listen. I enjoy The author read their own work.
A very good book

1 person found this helpful

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AWSOME listen

This book is both funny and very informative, Lucy Cooke did an amazing job at both collecting all the research as well as writing this book in a nob-boring way. I love it and I highly recommend!

1 person found this helpful

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Great book but don't recommend the audio version

The book is fun and interesting. A lot of the book is about people and all the terrible/stupid things we've done to animals over time, so if you love animals and don't like people, definitely dig in. And to contrast some reviews that criticize the book for being too sex-obsessed, that's kind of the point: sex is a big part of biology, the animal world, and I think the author uses it to bring up a theme underlying the whole book: animals are very often not cuddly creatures and nature can be rather insane. If you want a lighter version of reality on this topic, go watch a Disney-produced animal documentary or something. I think the point of the book is: let's learn some wild things about some misunderstood animals, understand the ways in which we make animals all about ourselves and don't respect them, and come away knowing that nature is both cuddly and horrifying. So, good job on that front.

The only criticism -- and it's a major one -- and why I wouldn't recommend the audio version of this book is the narrator/author. As other reviews point out, Lucy speaks loudly, almost in continuous exclamations, and it's stressful to hear. I had to listen to this in chunks because I found listening to her at length too shrill. I like how enthusiastic she is about the topic, but it really does interfere with the content. I'd describe the narration as being somewhere between exclamatory and shrill, and definitely loud, as though she's not aware she's speaking into a microphone. My recommendation is to listen to a sample and ask yourself if you're OK with 10 hours of what you hear.

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Enjoyable, I learned and I found no inaccuracies,

Very much enjoyed your stories, many antidotes were new to me ... a lot of fun. As an aside; during an ice breaker voyage to antarctica I took the time to lay down on a penguin "trail" or highway to see what the Adele's and again with King penguins would do ... just for a couple of minutes. A couple came up and looked at me, then scurried around me but I also had a bird hop up on me and continue on it's way. I'm now glad that I was not a mating tool ... that would have been "uncomfortable." smile
Thanks again. I'm looking for other works of yours. Enjoy, R

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Great story, emphatic reader

The historical info about different animals is fun. The reader has a lot of energy behind the reading, as though it is being read in an auditorium. As I usually read to relax or while doing something else, I found the experience to be stress inducing.

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definitely recommend

this book is very informative and funny!! it was definitely a good laugh. anyone would enjoy listening.