Nasty, Brutish and Short: The Quirks and Quarks Guide to Animal Sex and Other Weird Behaviour by Pat Senson

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This week is all about SEX! You can read more here but check back every day this week for reviews and giveaways.
 Stars: *****
McClelland & Stewart (Division of Random House)
Nonfiction (Animals)
296 pages
Summary:  Birds do it, and bees do it, so do all animals, some of them in weird and wonderful ways. Quirks & Quarks’ latest book explores the more bizarre behaviours of more than 100 creatures, from barnacles to Panda bears.

Okay so this book is only PARTLY about sex. Only two chapters cover sex in some form. First a bit about Quirks and Quarks in case you aren’t aware of what that is:

Quirks & Quarks (Quirks) is a Canadian weekly science news program heard over CBC Radio One of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Airing since October 8, 1975, Quirks & Quarks is consistently rated among the most popular CBC programs, attracting over 500,000 listeners each Saturday from 12:00 to 13:00. – From Wikipedia

So how does the radio show have to do with the book?

“Over the years on Quirks & Quarks (the CBC Radio program that I host), scientists have told us about the extraordinary range of bizarre adaptations nature has come up with, to make sure that birds, bees, and every other form of life can “do it” successfully. […] So, we’ve decided to gather together almost a hundred of these tales from over the last nine years, and put them together into a book for you.” – introduction in book

I enjoyed this book SO much. I love reading about animals and everything in this book was incredibly interesting. Not one story did I skip, not one did I find boring. Not one! I think even someone who doesn’t usually read nonfiction but loves animals or interesting/bizarre facts would enjoy this book.

So here is a bit about what you’ll find in each chapter and then I’ll share some of my favourites:

Chapter 1 – The Battle of the Sexes (sex, sexual organs, which gender is top and more)
Chapter 2 – Impressing the Other Sex (Calling to mates, showing they are a better mate than others)
Chapter 3 – Parenting Skills (interesting and funny ways they raise babies)
Chapter 4 – Lunch, Anyone? (foraging for food and avoiding becoming a meal)
Chapter 5 – Parsing Parasite Peculiarities (Beetles, Ants, Parasites and Caterpillars)
Chapter 6 – Higher, Faster, and Stronger (Super Animals!)
Chapter 7 – The Other Weird Behaviour (various – washing with urine, worm hibernation, clownfish sex, flatulent fish and more)

I found all of them interesting and some shocking  Here’s a teaser tidbit from the ones I loved the best:

  • The beetle larvae that deceive a bee, hitch a ride and steal their food
  • The bedbugs that can taste with their penises to tell if they’ve mated with a female before or not
  • The redback spider that mates and is eaten at the SAME time.
  • The barnacle with the world’s largest penis (for body size)
  • The nectar bat whose tongue, when not shooting out to get food, goes down the throat and is attached between rib cage and heart.

Links of Interest: Quirks & Quarks,

Other Reviews: NONE YET

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.