I thought it would be really interesting to read DK Books’ Nature’s Deadliest Creatures Visual Encyclopedia ($21.99). I was thought it would be really fun to read this book with my 10-year-old son.
I was not mistaken on the interesting factor. I was, however, mistaken on the fun factor.
I actually did read this book from cover to cover, but got more and more freaked out by the possibility (albeit remote) of a terrible and painful death.
Because while I was expecting lions, tigers and bears (hee, hee), I should have realized the book would have contained creepy and crawlies, also known as spiders, snakes (so many snakes and I usually don’t have a problem with snakes. I may now have a problem with snakes) and nasty insects.
There is the moth butterfly caterpillar, which lives in the forests of Southeast Asian and Australia, that hatches from its egg, likely releases a perfume so the ants become calm and don’t fight back. It then eats the entire nest. The larvae is disgusting looking. The African Driver Ant is terrifying looking. It has pincer-like jaws on its huge head. When it bits its victims, it doesn’t let go. Local people use them to clamp together open wounds. Interesting, but disgusting.
The spitting cobra rears and back and releases venom at target about to 10 feet away, while the brown recluse spider, which lives near humans in the U.S. (too close) bites in self defence, producing a wound that turns into a big open sore.
We learn about orcas and my favourite, the polar bear, expected deadly creatures, but we also learn about the platypus, which I didn’t realize were deadline. But “during breading season, the spurs stab with a venom that is strong enough to paralyze small animals and cause excruciating pain in humans.” Fun.
Then we find out about the invasive species, brought it to various places by humans – either on purpose or by accident – including the aggressive Chinese mitten crab, which causes harm to other animals, but also to humans as it hosts various parasites.
Thankfully, there are also a variety of hawk and bird species in this book to ward off the feelings of disgust left by the creepy creatures. There is a beautiful (or creepy) picture of each creature (sometimes two) as well as a data file offering its danger file, its size, range and diet. There is also a paragraph telling us what makes this creature deadly and a quick fact about it, such as the peregrine falcon can reach more than 320 km/h in a midair dive. Beautiful creatures.
A copy of this book was provided by DK Books for an honest review.
The opinions are my own.