strange behaviors

Cool doings from the natural and human worlds

  • Richard Conniff

  • Reviews for Richard Conniff’s Books

    Every Creeping Thing: True Tales of Faintly Repulsive Wildlife: “Conniff is a splendid writer–fresh, clear, uncondescending, and with never a false step; one can’t resist quoting him.” (NY Times Book Review)

    The Species Seekers:  Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth by Richard Conniff is “a swashbuckling romp” that “brilliantly evokes that just-before Darwin era” (BBC Focus) and “an enduring story bursting at the seams with intriguing, fantastical and disturbing anecdotes” (New Scientist). “This beautifully written book has the verve of an adventure story” (Wall St. Journal)

    Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time by Richard Conniff  is “Hilariously informative…This book will remind you why you always wanted to be a naturalist.” (Outside magazine) “Field naturalist Conniff’s animal adventures … are so amusing and full color that they burst right off the page …  a quick and intensely pleasurable read.” (Seed magazine) “Conniff’s poetic accounts of giraffes drifting past like sail boats, and his feeble attempts to educate Vervet monkeys on the wonders of tissue paper will leave your heart and sides aching.  An excellent read.” (BBC Focus magazine)

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Silent Water

Posted by Richard Conniff on May 26, 2011

I have been browsing through Edward Hoagland’s Sex and the River Styx, and this killer paragraph leapt out:

“The next town is slated to double in populace soon, due to the construction of a new ski resort. In the jumpy atmosphere prevailing nationwide, which is both hyper-mercenary and health-obsessive, people regard real estate as more than just a dwelling or a spot to park their assets. They want a dab of garden, several healthy trees, with birds at a feeder, a breeze, and grass to mow and put lawn furniture on, which is a fancy way of lying on the ground. They want low blood pressure, no acid reflux or palpitations — longevity. Politically, in the grab-by phase we’re living through, this impulse doesn’t take the form of widely wanting to preserve nature as a public domain. Rather, we’ll tend to hire a backhoe to dig a private mini-pond and plant nursery vegetation, after chopping down whatever had grown up naturally in the vicinity before. People want muscle cars and a swatch of land to play designer on. A guy next door to where I used to live simply poisoned all of ‘his’ frogs in the pond outside his house because they sang when they mated in the spring. He had thought he was buying silent water.”

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