Delightfully Disgusting Animal Dinners, Dwellings, and Defenses

By: Melissa Stewart

Published: June 23, 2020

Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books


Elementary-aged kids gravitate towards the gross and disgusting. That is why I have no doubt that this book will be a favorite choice from my book bag. The best part is that while kids are reacting to the gross and disgusting things animals do, they don’t realize they are learning. I’ve even had parents tell me that their child came home and told them a fact they learned from a book like this. It is sinking in!

Even I am fascinated by the weird and revolting things animals do to survive. Some of them truly gross me out, but also amaze me. The red-billed oxpecker is not an bird I was familiar with as it lives in the Savannas. But, it’s nourishment comes from the blood that resides in ticks on rhinoceroses and wildebeests. If it can’t find enough blood, then it will dine on spit, snot, dandruff, and earwax.

I was pretty curious to find out what that was in the lower right corner of the cover. It is a caecilian, another animal I’ve never heard of and quite gross-looking. It lives in tropical rainforests and young ones live off the shredded skin of their mother. Their favorite food though is an earthworm.

Aside from gross meals, there are also animals who choose gross places to live, like a dung beetle who lives, you guessed it, in animal dung…or poop. They like to take residence within 15 seconds of the poop arriving on the ground.

One section that left me itching included insects that live on human flesh like the eyelash mite or itch mite. No thanks!

The last section talks about animals defenses with many animals using pee or poop to ward off their predators. Others use spikes on their body, or spit a vomit-like substance at their predators.

I found this book so fascinating and I think I learned something about each of the 45 animals featured. I know this will be a favorite among kids and is a great animal science resource if you are homeschooling. The photography, as always, is top-notch and extremely detailed which will make it even more enticing for kids.

Melissa Stewart has written more than 180 science books for young readers. While gathering information for her books, Melissa has hiked in tropical rain forests, gone on safari in Africa, and swum with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands. She can’t imagine any better job! Visit Melissa’s website, HERE.

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Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to make a purchase through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.
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