Hamilton East Public Library logo

My Account

Hours & Location

Get A Library Card

September 02, 2015

The Ugly Animals: We Can’t All Be Pandas

Ugly Animal BookThe Ugly Animals: We Can’t All Be Pandas

By: Simon Watt

Don’t be put off by the cover of this book. It features the blobfish, the squatty, woeful-looking deep-sea dweller with a rivulet of slime peeking out of his mouth. It may look like a pottery project that went horribly wrong, but it’s also terribly endangered and vital to its ecosystem off the coast of Australia.

The Ugly Animals: We Can’t All Be Pandas features engaging profiles and photos of the less-cuddly, but highly endangered animals of the world that don’t get the attention garnered by snow leopards, elephants, polar bears, tigers, and other “charismatic megafauna.” As author Simon Watt, a biologist, comedian, and founder of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, says “I have nothing against the panda, but it already has its champions. The animals in this book don’t.”

There are plenty of “Mother Nature’s more aesthetically-challenged children” here to excite and delight you with their unique behaviors and adaptations – the long-tailed ninja slug, the nightmarish hagfish, and the pig-nosed purple frog, are among my favorites. I wouldn’t call all of the animals in this book ugly though; the smiling axolotl (a Mexican salamander), the dugong (an aquatic mammal similar to the manatee), and the fanged Chinese water deer are cute, but they don’t have the starpower of their better-known counterparts. At 143 pages, half of which are pictures, you can knock out this slim volume in an hour or two and learn about some of the less-known, yet fascinating endangered animals.

Review By: Julia Welzen