Picks and Pans Review: Joan Embery's Collection of Amazing Animal Facts

updated 03/14/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/14/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Joan Embery with Ed Lucaire

Embery is a former veterinary medicine student who became the San Diego Zoo's "goodwill ambassador"—essentially its primary publicity generator—and makes frequent appearances on the Tonight Show and other TV programs, animal charges in tow. She and Lucaire, a New York-based free-lance writer, have rounded up an alphabetical directory of animal trivia that is readable and handy if not full of zoological revelations. Here are examples: The agouti, a South American rodent about 20 inches long, can jump six and a half feet into the air from a standing start. More people in the world die annually from bee stings than snake bites. The deer bot-fly is the swiftest flying insect, winging it at speeds as fast as 36 mph. The moa, an extinct New Zealand creature, was the tallest bird that ever lived, measuring up to 12 feet; the kiwi is a distant relative. The average mole eats up to two-thirds its own body weight in food every day. The smallest living carnivore is the dwarf weasel, which weighs about two ounces. There's lots more—all fun. (Delacorte, $14.95)

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