Book Review: As noted in “Fuzz,” furry scofflaws rarely face consequences

It was your first thought when you saw them in the field. Someone in the neighborhood just had a new horse-sized dog. Is it close to Halloween? Or there’s a Sasquatch in the hood. Or maybe, like in Mary Roach’s new “Fuzz” book, you’re sharing the block with something that might eat you.

In “Fuzz,” author Mary Roach examines the consequences – or lack thereof – that wildlife faces for the violent, dangerous and destructive actions they take. (Photo submitted)

Murder, theft, assault, destruction of property. It happens all the time between us and nature. But as Mary Roach discovered, there’s a reason it’s called wildlife: Tooth and claw scofflaws don’t always get caught, and they rarely see jail time.

So what kind of criminals are we looking at here, Your Honor?

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Take bears, for example. Roach attended WHART classes in British Columbia, where mutilated mannequins help officials learn how to determine bear bites from wolf bites from scavenger nibbles. In Aspen, she learned that bears are really good at sneaking into homes for food, but they’re not the only culprits – we humans are partly to blame for snack-stealing habits. bears.

Elephants, as she learned, aren’t the long-eyed, big-eared cuddles from the movies. In India, they can be destructive to crops and vengeful to people, especially if they have grudges or are in musth. In this case, elephants have been seen stepping on villagers and tearing them apart limb by limb – however, because people there regard the pachyderms as deities, the killers are rarely, if ever, treated negatively for their actions.

That’s not quite the case with the leopards of the Middle Himalayas, where the animals have killed hundreds of people over the years by grabbing them from behind. Incredibly, it wasn’t until the third attack that something was done to stop the disaster.

In India, macaque monkeys live to “harass people”. Cougars can attack you (but they rarely do). Trees can become a “danger”. Deer, camels, all dangerous.

Even mice can kill but yes there is a trap for that.

You can’t stroke a bison. No selfies with a bear or moose. The territory of leopards is prohibited. Please don’t feed the animals so what can you do? You can laugh and learn by reading “Fuzz”.

Make no mistake about it: while author Mary Roach has a sense of humor that will make you sniffle, what she shares with readers is serious business. As proof, she offers stories of animals doing things that humans would be arrested for and, like humans, those things can be bloody. It can hurt your stomach.

This can be fascinating as Roach takes readers around the world with experts who know, sometimes firsthand, the true habits of these seemingly familiar creatures. Reading this, seeing why elephant trainers get better paid, discovering ‘ridiculously adorable’ attackers and light-toed hairy-fingered extortionists, it shows that there are illegal bears, that camels can act like criminals, and sometimes nothing is more appropriate than the word “prisoner”.

If you are someone who enjoys reading aloud passages from your current obsession, “Fuzz” is your book. Clear your throat, prepare those around you; you don’t have to wait to put your paw on it.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is the author of the Detroit Lakes Tribune book review column,

Terri Schlichenmeyer is the author of the Detroit Lakes Tribune’s book review column, “The Bookworm Sez”. Schlichenmeyer has been reading since the age of three and never goes anywhere without a book. She lives in West Salem, Wisconsin with her two dogs and 9,000 pounds.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is the author of the Detroit Lakes Tribune’s book review column, “The Bookworm Sez”. She has been reading since the age of three and never goes anywhere without a book. She lives in West Salem, Wisconsin with her two dogs and 9,000 pounds.


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