The Book Depository Blog

RSS

 

  • Rooooooaaaaaarrrrrrr

    Thu, 29 Mar 2012 13:27

    blog imageFor the release of the paperback edition of Gordon Grice's Deadly Animals we've got Gordon himself to give us a little intro into his world of savage encounters...

    How I Came to Write Deadly Animals

    My journey toward writing Deadly Animals began with a single step-actually, with two steps, which landed on the same spot. One was made by my own size-12 boot, which left a print on the fine soil of a country road in Wyoming. The other was the step of a cougar, which left its own print-four oval toes plus an M-shaped pad-neatly within my bootprint. I had felt watched as I walked the road the previous evening.

    Here was confirmation. It may seem like an odd reason to start a book, but the real story for me was the conflict between my gut and my brain. My gut said I was in danger as I walked back to the ranch house that cool evening. My brain told me cougars don't eat people, because I'd read that in books.

    Current events quickly told me the books were wrong. In Colorado, a teenaged runner was killed and eaten by a cougar. In California, another cougar ate a mother of two.

    I took another look at old books, and what I saw revealed a puzzling pattern. Victorian writers had no doubt that cougars were dangerous to humans. Some of their accounts, like an 1860 bit of fiction by Harriet Prescott Spofford, reek of melodrama. Spofford's "Indian devil," as the animal was often called at the time,has "breath like a vapor from some hell-pit." It stands in for Satan himself, causing the heroine trapped in its claws to engage in all manner of theology before escaping. (If you ever find yourself trapped in the claws of a cougar, a better strategy is to gouge the eyes. Eye-gouging beats theology every time.) Nonetheless, Spofford's story reveals some understanding of real cougars. She knew, for example, that a cougar can lick the skin from its prey with its "rasping tongue." And there are true accounts from that era, including one from the meticulous Charles Darwin, attesting that cougars occasionally ate people.

    Reports of death-by-cougar dwindled in the twentieth century. From 1949 to 1971, there were no cases of predatory attacks on people. It's easy to find books from this era that describe cougars as "cowardly," no danger to humans except when sick with rabies.

    Starting in the late 1980s, the attacks resumed. They were hardly common -certainly not as common as death from bee sting or dog bite - but the pattern was puzzling. In talking with biologists, I learned that the biggest factor in play was human behavior. It used to be the custom to kill predators on sight. In the rural area where I grew up, men would stop their trucks to shoot at any coyote they happened to spot. They'd patiently decapitate rattlesnakes with garden hoes. This approach to predators reached its apex in the mid-twentieth century, when well-armed humans were plentiful across the Americas.

    But in recent decades, we've come to understand the many ways ecosystems can be damaged by such indiscriminate killing. We've sensibly changed our ways. And one result is that some cougars no longer fear us.

    We used to think of that fear as innate, a tribute other animals paid us as a special species. It turns out that we'd made ourselves fearful through violence. This is a radical shift in thinking, for it means we have to accept that cougars and other animals aren't mere machines responding with hard-wired instincts. Young cougars learn from their mothers which animals to treat as prey and which to leave alone. When they strike out to establish their own territories, the young males experiment, testing unfamiliar animals to see which ones taste good and which ones are dangerous. They're smarter than we thought. And more like us.

    That changes everything. It's not just the cougars; across the animal kingdom, we're beginning to understand how our own behavior interacts with the behavior of other animals. We know, for example, that deforestation sometimes leads elephants to trample people and that dumping garbage into the sea can cause shark attacks miles down-current. The animals are ancient, but the circumstances are new.

    There were good old books about animal attacks-or human-animal conflict, as we've come to call it-but they may as well have been written in a different world. I wanted a new book for the twenty-first century. So I decided to write it myself.

    Posted by Gordon Grice Gordon Grice

    Categories: Deadly, animals, roar, bite, maim, blood

    Comments

    1. ejiltyro's avatar ejiltyro

      replica rolexreplica rolexreplica Rolex-horlogesreplica Rolex-horlogesreplica rolexreplica rolex replica Rolex-horlogesreplica rolexreplica rolex kopiëren rolex kopiëren rolex prijs blog prijs About fakewatchesrolex.com blog

      Posted Mon, 07 Apr 2014 09:28
    2. lingerielingeri's avatar lingerielingeri

      louis vuitton tassen outlet online louis vuitton tassen outlet onlinelouis vuitton tassen outlet online louis vuitton tassen outlet onlinelouis vuitton tassen outlet online louis vuitton tassen outlet online louis vuitton tassen outlet online louis vuitton tassen outlet onlinelouis vuitton tassen outlet online louis vuitton tassen outlet onlinelouis vuitton tassen outlet online louis vuitton tassen outlet online lv outlet lv outlet online blog online About blog

      Posted Sat, 14 Dec 2013 02:10
    3. aircheap's avatar aircheap

      pandora salg pandora salg Pandora Sølv Pandora Sølv Pandora Sølv Pandora Sølv pandora salg pandora salg Pandora Sølv Pandora Sølv Pandora Sølv Pandora Sølv pandora stikkontakt online pandora stikkontakt online salg blog salg About blog

      Posted Wed, 11 Dec 2013 09:28
    4. ejiltyro's avatar ejiltyro

      timberland botas timberland botastimberland salida timberland salidatimberland salida timberland salida timberland botas timberland botastimberland salida timberland salidatimberland salida timberland salida timberland boot salida timberland boot salida botas blog botas About blog

      Posted Sun, 08 Dec 2013 23:49
    5. vroomrefu's avatar vroomrefu

      timberland tomadatimberland tomadasapatos timberlandtimberland tomadatimberland tomadatimberland tomada timberland tomadatimberland tomadatimberland tomada timberland bota tomada timberland bota tomada

      Posted Wed, 13 Nov 2013 22:40
    6. nellubatiffany's avatar nellubatiffany

      full lace wigswigs wigs stroewigs onlinewigs on sale ±ùä¿ÁÜÃ"Ã'±ý ±ù¼¤Áèµ°¸â ±ùä¿ÁÜÃ"Ã'±ý ±ù¼¤Áèµ°¸â ±ùä¿ÁÜÃ"Ã'±ý ±ù¼¤Áèµ°¸â ±ùä¿ÁÜÃ"Ã'±ý ±ù¼¤Áèµ°¸â

      Posted Sun, 09 Sep 2012 13:38
    7. cheapnike's avatar cheapnike

      Replica WacthesA. Lange & Sohne watchesReplica A. Lange & Sohne watchesfake A. Lange & Sohne watchescopy A. Lange & Sohne watches

      Posted Sat, 08 Sep 2012 14:07
    8. jerseyswinner's avatar jerseyswinner

      Air Gear CosplayAir CostumeCosplay DressCosplay shopCosplay online

      Posted Wed, 05 Sep 2012 22:08
    9. dressesoccasion's avatar dressesoccasion

      Advent batterycheap Advent batteryAdvent laptoplaptop batteryAdvent laptop batteryIBM laptop batterydiscount Sony batterylaptop batterybatteryDuracell laptop battery

      Posted Thu, 21 Jun 2012 22:26

    Write a Comment

    Create an account

    Fields marked * are required

    Please enter a password with at least six characters.


The Book Depository Team
Publisher Blogs