The Secret Lives of Bats: My Adventures with the World's Most Misunderstood Mammals

Merlin Tuttle. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-0544382275
Tuttle, the founder of Bat Conservation International, sets out to motivate readers to care about conservation in this enjoyable collection of career travelogue stories. Hoping that having some fun and presenting good information to readers will work some magic, he describes the grandeur of bat communities discovered deep in secluded caves, recalls bat-related encounters with moonshiners and witch doctors, and shares stories of conservation successes. Tuttle really shines in his delightful accounts of complicated, risky, and expensive expeditions and creative efforts dedicated to getting the perfect nature photo. It can take 10,000 shots to get a single publishable image that shows a desired animal behavior, but that's the kind of image that Tuttle believes is critical to turn fear of bats into understanding. He details taming fragile bats to feed them by hand, getting ammonia poisoning from guano fumes while documenting massive colonies of freetailed bats, and creating a hotel room studio with furniture replaced by rainforest plants to create the impression of a shot taken high in the forest canopy. Tuttle shares his drive to document the creatures he loves with subtle humor and contagious, unsubtle passion. 40 color photos. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 12/21/2015
Release date: 10/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-544-39043-0
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