Author(s): Peter Wohlleben
Roosters that deceive their hens? Mother deer that grieve? Horses that feel shame? We humans tend to assume that we are the only living things able to experience feelings intensely and consciously. But have you ever wondered what's going on in an animal's head? More and more researchers are realising that animals in fact experience a rich emotional life. Acting as our interpreter of the animal world and of the fascinating science, Peter Wohlleben brings this new research to life with his own observations of his favourite creatures. From the leafy forest floor to the inside of a bee hive, The Inner Life of Animals shows us microscopic levels of observation as well as forcing us to confront the big philosophical, ethical and scientific questions. We hear the stories of a grateful humpback whale, of a hedgehog who has nightmares, and of a magpie who commits adultery; we meet bees that plan for the future, pigs who learn their own names and crows that go tobogganing for fun. And at last we find out why wasps exist. Our fellow creatures are not mindless automatons driven by an inflexible genetic code, but individuals with personality and feeling. The Inner Life of Animals will show you these living things in a new light and will open up the animal kingdom like never before.
Do you want to know why male bears kill cubs? Or have you heard of the humpback whale which expressed gratitude on release from netting? Whether they are better natured than people? Or simply why some animals feel safe around humans and the majority don’t? German author Peter Wohlleben has spent a lifetime managing a forest in his home country and has made pithy but subtle observations on animal traits on his lifestyle farm. In his latest book – a follow up to his best-selling The Hidden Life of Trees – Wohlleben has brought animals to life. He examines whether they have a soul (they do, he concludes, though he admits he does not believe in an afterlife). His book is also widely researched; many conclusions have been drawn from laboratories around the world to form one whole in his work. Do animals recognise kindness as in our humpback whale? My experience is reinforced by the whale of a tale. Many years ago, while jogging, I found a shimmering pup lost in a Kaharoa lane. I nursed it for an hour or so, before a motorist kindly offered to deliver it to the SPCA. Its owner was found. Many years later, on the same country lane, I stopped at a homestead for water. A large Labrador bound towards me, licking at the sweat equity of a mid-afternoon run. The owner said: “You were the gentleman who looked after a pup some years back?” “Yes,” I replied. “But how would you know?” The farmer replied: “Without fail, this dog barks at everyone and every car that comes down the drive – he did not bark at you!” Animals is not a definitive book on wider behaviour (indeed it is a snapshot) but it’s the closest most will get to understand animals’ behavioural nuances. Wohlleben has drawn convincing outcomes. His style is casual and his curiosity expands globally and he beams right into our backyards, our kitchens and lounges. –Phil Campbell (Guest Reviewer)
"The Inner Life of Animals will rock your world. Surprising, humbling, and filled with delight, this book shows us that animals think, feel, and know in much the same way as we do -- and that their lives are, to them, as precious as ours are to us." -- Sy Montgomery, author of THE SOUL OF AN OCTOPUS "Peter Wohlleben's convincing, highly readable stories about free-living and domestic animals show there's much overlap between how humans and other animals experience bonding, loss, and the great, shared themes of life." -- Carl Safina, author of BEYOND WORDS: WHAT ANIMALS THINK AND FEEL "With the same charm and clarity that drew so many readers to The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben has produced another gem. I found delight on every page, thanks to the author's rare skill at blending scientific discoveries with his own wealth of insightful personal experiences." -- Jonathan Balcombe, author of WHAT A FISH KNOWS "An important reminder that while we surely are different from other animals, the similarities in our cognitive, emotional, and moral lives are not only surprising and daunting, but very real." -- Marc Bekoff, author of THE EMOTIONAL LIVES OF ANIMALS "Animal lovers everywhere will be enthralled. Find out what squirrels, deer, and other animals really do out in the woods." -- Temple Grandin, author of ANIMALS IN TRANSLATION
Peter Wohlleben spent over twenty years working for the forestry commission in Germany before leaving to put his ideas of ecology into practice. He now runs an environmentally-friendly woodland in Germany, where he is working for the return of primeval forests, as well as caring for both wild and domestic animals. He is the author of the international bestseller The Hidden Life of Trees.