Cover image for Living on the edge : amazing relationships in the natural world
Living on the edge : amazing relationships in the natural world
Corwin, Jeff.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
[Emmaus Pa.] : Rodale : Distributed to the book trade by St. Martin's Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xii, 308 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QH104.5.S58 C67 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
QH104.5.S58 C67 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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"Get rid of it, for gosh sakes! Get rid of it!" my aunt barked when she spied the garter snake latched onto my six-year-old arm. I then responded with, "No!" That's when everyone went silent until my aunt spoke out once again, "What do you mean 'no'? Why not?"
As the tears continued to stream down my face, I answered back through an exaggerated and convulsing huff, "Because I love it!"

It was then that Jeff Corwin was hooked. Whether it's serpents, lizards, crocs, or frogs, or any number of furry creatures, Jeff has spent decades learning-- and educating-- about the world's most diverse ecosystems and their inhabitants.

Travel with him now through Arizona, Africa, Costa Rica, and Venezuela to encounter those who are familiar-- coyotes, elephants, anteaters, and crocodiles-- and meet those who aren't-- the vinegaroon, which keeps out of harm's way by gagging and repelling potential predators with caustic fumes; painted dogs, which allow only one monogamous pair within the clan to breed; the omnivorous kinkajou, which helps propagate the enormous strangler fig tree; and capybaras, the world's largest rodents, who happen to be excellent swimmers.

Bear witness to the codependency of all these creatures on either the plants that surround them or each other, and look behind the scenes to see Jeff's coming of age in the world of biodiversity. Some of the fabulous creatures in these pages are in danger of becoming extinct, while all carry a vital role in maintaining these ecosystems. Without the interplay of predator, prey, and symbiotic communalism, the world as we know it would be a vastly different place.

Author Notes

Explorer, naturalist, and wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin is the executive producer and host of The Jeff Corwin Experience, Jeff earned two bachelor of science degrees, in biology and anthropology, from Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts and a masters of science in wildlife and fisheries conservation from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; in 1999 he was honored with a doctorate in public education from Bridgewater State for his lifelong work in communicating to the public the need for a sustainable approach to using natural resources and the importance of conserving endangered species. Jeff is also the founder of the interactive EcoZone Wetlands Museum in Norwell, Massachusetts. When he's not in the field he resides on a small island off the coast of New England with his wife, Natasha, and baby daughter, Maya Rose

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Corwin, host of numerous television specials about wildlife, offers commentary on some of his favorite regions and animal inhabitants. He begins with his last bachelor's outing, spending several weeks in Arizona's Sonoran Desert, before his wedding. Corwin planned poorly and didn't think he would need equipment or supplies in this domestic wilderness. However, after one night of nearly freezing to death, he sought shelter in his car and then went to buy a tent. After this inauspicious start, Corwin spent nearly two weeks searching for snakes and reptiles, with only limited success. In his words, "There would be no Gila monsters flowing from their subterranean dens, and the eerie rasping shudder of a rattlesnake's rattle kept silent wherever I searched. Tortoises never ventured from their lairs into the light for me, and tricolor king snakes remained shadowed beyond my reach." Corwin's adventures in other parts of the world, like Tanzania, Costa Rica and Venezuela, are much livelier and more rewarding. Corwin enthusiastically describes the animals, the land and his concerns about protecting natural habitats in various countries. His passion for the wildlife he's studying is so strong that even readers not particularly fond of crocodiles, snakes and other scary creatures will find Corwin's writing captivating. He discusses the sloth-"At just under three feet in body length, and a total weight of around 10 pounds, the three-toed sloth is not very large, but if you're looking for the cutest mammal living in the Neotropics, this guy comes in a close second to the silky anteater." People familiar with Corwin's television specials will savor this book, and other armchair travelers will also find it an enjoyable voyage into exotic locales. (Nov.) Forecast: National media publicity, Corwin's lecture tour along with his new TV shows this fall should translate into strong initial sales, and the book should have further appeal as a holiday gift. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Forewordp. xi
The Sonoran Desert of Arizonap. 3
The Savannah of Southeastern Africap. 81
The Costa Rican Rainforestp. 149
The Llanos of Venezuelap. 229
Consulted Researchp. 287