cover image Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law

Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law

Mary Roach. Norton, $26.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-324-00193-5

Bestseller Roach (Bonk) sheds light on nature’s malefactors in this often funny, always provocative survey of species that “regularly commit acts that put them at odds with humans.” Readers will learn that most lethal bear attacks (which are very rare) are committed by what is commonly believed to be the less dangerous black bear, and that the animal responsible for the most damage to civil aircraft in the U.S. is, surprisingly, the white-tailed deer. Along the way, Roach attends a training for wildlife officers on using forensics to identify the culprits of attacks, where shop talk involves such questions as “ever tase an elk?” In Vatican City, papal officials have a scarecrow that uses lasers to scare off birds and keep them from destroying Easter flower displays. Roach hopes that humans can come to embrace coexistence even with creatures seen as pests—as she does the rat living in her own home. Roach’s writing is wry, full of heart, and loaded with intriguing facts: “You may be wondering: When you live off your own fat, do you need to use the toilet? If you are a bear, you do not.” This eminently entertaining outing is another winner from Roach. (Sept.)