BIO104: Animal Behavior

Use this guide to find books about animals for BIO104 (Spring semester course).

Books for BIO104 Assignment

Dr. Eagan has pre-selected the books below for the class to choose from. 

  • See descriptions of the books with the scrolling gallery below.
    • Click a book's link for a full description and book reviews. 
    • Check if the book is available or if it's already been borrowed. 
  • These books are on a cart in the library, near the circulation desk.
  • Stop by before or after class to choose and borrow a book. Make sure to bring a photo ID.

For Animal Behavior Book Assignment

Crocodile: evolution's greatest survivor

The crocodilian is an ancient animal whose ancestors have roamed the eartch since the time of the dinosaurs. While continents drifted, ice ages thawed and once-prolific species became extinct, the crocodilian survived it all. However, many breeds of this seemingly indescructible species are now facing extinction because of human activity, intrusion into their habitats and retaliation for the threat they pose to humans.

Prairie dogs: communication and community in an animal society

C. N. Slobodchikoff and colleagues synthesize the results of their long-running study of Gunnison's prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni), one of the keystone species of the short-grass prairie ecosystem. They ... detail their investigation into the prairie dogs' sophisticated system of barks, yips, and chirps, which, the authors argue, represents a referential communication capable of fine distinctions among predators."

Eager : the surprising, secret life of beavers and why they matter

"...Environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb reveals that our modern idea of what a healthy landscape looks like and how it functions is wrong, distorted by the fur trade that once trapped out millions of beavers from North America's lakes and rivers. ... Today, a growing coalition of 'Beaver Believers"...recognizes that ecosystems with beavers are far healthier, for humans and non-humans alike, than those without them.... "

Sex on Six Legs

Insects have inspired fear, fascination, and enlightenment for centuries. They are capable of incredibly complex behavior, even with brains often the size of a poppy seed. How do they accomplish feats that look like human activity such as personality, language, childcare, with completely different pathways from our own? ...Can insects be taught new skills as easily as your new puppy? This book provides answers to these questions and many more. 

Buzz, Sting, Bite

"An enthusiastic, witty, and fascinating introduction to the world of insects and why we--and the planet we inhabit--could not survive without them. Insects comprise roughly half of the animal kingdom. They live everywhere--deep inside caves, high in the Himalayas, inside computers, in Yellowstone's hot springs, and in the ears and nostrils of much larger creatures. ... With ecologist Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson as our capable, entertaining guide to the insect world, we'll learn that there is more variety among insects than we can even imagine..."

Ants at Work

"Based on the author's seventeen years of research on harvester ants in the Arizona desert,...Gordon shows that an ant colony operates without any central control and that no ant has power over another. Yet the ant colony harmoniously performs extremely complex tasks, including nest building, navigation, foraging, food storage, tending the young, garbage collection, and on occasion, even war."

A Walk Around the Pond

Gilbert Waldbauer introduces us to the aquatic insects that have colonized ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers, especially those in North America. ...We learn about the diverse forms these arthropods take, as well as their remarkable modes of life.  (BOOK AVAILABLE AS BOTH PRINT AND ELECTRONIC BOOKS.)

Octopus!

Veteran journalist and contributing editor for 'Scientific American, ' Katherine Harmon Courage dives into the mystifying underwater world of the octopus, sharing new scientific discoveries and demonstrating deep cultural ties that connect us all to this alien-like creature.

Monkeytalk

Can the behavior of non-human primates, their sociality, their intelligence, their communication - really be chalked up to simple mimicry? Emphatically, absolutely: no. And as famed primatologist Julia Fischer reveals, the human bias inherent in this oft-uttered adage is our loss, for it is only through the study of our primate brethren that we may begin to understand ourselves. 

The Grandest of Lives: Eye to eye with whales

Because they spend almost 95 percent of their time beneath the ocean surface, however, little has been known about their lives--until recently. With advances in technology and more intense study, fresh facts are coming to light about these magnificent mammals...."

Coyote America: A natural and supernatural history

This book "traces both the five-million-year-long biological story of an animal that has become the wolf in our backyards, as well as its cultural evolution from a preeminent spot in Native American religions to the hapless foil of the Road Runner."--Dust jacket flap.

Return of the Sea Otter: The story of the animal that evaded extinction on the Pacific Coast

Presents a science journalist's journey along the Pacific Coast from California to Alaska to track the status, health, habits, personality, and viability of sea otters--the appealing species unique to this coastline that was hunted to near extinction in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Bird Way: A new look at how birds talk, work, play, parent, and think

Drawing on personal observations, the latest science, and her bird-related travel around the world, from the tropical rainforests of eastern Australia and the remote woodlands of northern Japan, to the rolling hills of lower Austria and the islands of Alaska's Kachemak Bay, Ackerman shows there is clearly no single bird way of being. 

The Well-Dressed Ape

Explores how the human animal--the eponymous well-dressed ape--fits into the natural world, even as we humans change that world in both constructive and destructive ways

The Year of the Gorilla

This work chronicles George B. Schaller's two years of travel and observation of gorillas in Central Africa in the late 1950s, high in the Virunga volcanoes on the Congo-Rwanda-Uganda border.

Gorillas in the Mist

One of the most important books ever written about our connection to the natural world, GORILLAS IN THE MIST is the riveting account of Dian Fossey's thirteen years in a remote African rain forest with the greatest of the great apes. Fossey's extraordinary efforts to ensure the future of the rain forest and its remaining mountain gorillas are captured in her own words and in candid photographs of this fascinating endangered species. 

Inside of a dog : what dogs see, smell, and know

What do dogs know? How do they think? The answers will surprise and delight you as Alexandra Horowitz, a cognitive scientist, explains how dogs perceive their daily worlds, each other, and that other quirky animal, the human

The Modern Dog

Evaluates the cultural, literary, religious, and economic ways in which the human race has shaped its relationship with dogs throughout the past 15,000 years, sharing stories of how dogs have become entangled in human political, legal, and evolutionary processes.

Pit Bull: The battle over an American icon

The story of how a popular breed of dog became the most demonized and supposedly the most dangerous of dogs -- and what role humans have played in the transformation. When Bronwen Dickey brought her new dog home, she saw no traces of the infamous viciousness in her affectionate, timid pit bull. Which made her wonder: How had the breed -- beloved by Teddy Roosevelt, Helen Keller, and Hollywood's "Little Rascals"--Come to be known as a brutal fighter?

Cat Sense: How the new feline science can make you a better friend to your pet

"A must-read for any cat lover, Cat Sense is a revolutionary new account from one of the leading scientific experts on these little-understood animals. As he did in his acclaimed, best-selling Dog Sense, Bradshaw combines the most up-to-date research with fascinating case studies to paint an unprecedentedly detailed portrait of the domestic cat"-- Provided by publisher.

The lion in the living room : How house cats tamed us and took over the world

Cats are incredible creatures: they can eat practically anything and live almost anywhere. Tracing their rise from prehistory to the modern cat craze, Abigail Tucker presents an adventure through history, natural science, and pop culture. Tucker investigates the way house cats have used their relationship with humans to become one of the most powerful animals on the planet.

Why did the chicken cross the world? : the epic saga of the bird that powers civilization

From ancient empires to modern economics, science reporter Andrew Lawler delivers a sweeping history of the animal that has been most crucial to the spread of civilization across the globe -- the chicken. ... Throughout the history of civilization, humans have embraced it in every form imaginable -- as a messenger of the gods, powerful sex symbol, gambling aid, emblem of resurrection, all-purpose medicine, handy research tool, inspiration for bravery, epitome of evil, and, of course, as the star of the world's most famous joke. 

Donkey : the mystique of Equus asinus

This book has emerged out of our responses to donkeys: donkeys as a species and donkeys as individuals. The book grazes, feeding on a landscape both real and historical, imagined, desired and underfoot, inspired by a creature that has, strangely, embedded itself into the very fabric of philosophy, religion, art, the environment, human history, as well as in our hearts. 

Lesser Beasts: a snout-to-tail history of the humble pig

Incredibly efficient at converting almost any organic matter into nourishing, delectable protein, swine are nothing short of a gastronomic godsend, yet their flesh is banned in many cultures, and the animals themselves are maligned as filthy, lazy brutes. As historian Mark Essig reveals in "Lesser Beasts," swine have such a bad reputation for precisely the same reasons they are so valuable as a source of food: they are intelligent, self-sufficient, and omnivorous.

Four Fish: The future of the last wild food

"Award-winning writer and lifelong fisherman Paul Greenberg takes us on a culinary journey, exploring the history of the fish that dominate our menus -- salmon, sea bass, cod, and tuna -- and investigating where each stands at this critical moment in time." -- Dust jacket.

Demon Fish: Travels through the hidden world of sharks

In this globe-spanning adventure, environmental journalist Juliet Eilperin investigates the ways different individuals and cultures relate to the ocean's top predator. Along the way, she reminds us why, after millions of years, sharks remain among nature's most awe-inspiring creatures.

Private Lives of Garden Birds

Explains the habits and behavior of mockingbirds, swallows, bluejays, chickadees, sparrows, robins, red-winged blackbirds, and crows.

Mind of the Raven: Investigations and adventures with wolf-birds

Award-winning naturalist Heinrich adopts ravens, thereby becoming a raven father,"as well as observing them in their natural habitat, studying their daily routines, and in the process painting a vivid picture of the world as lived by the ravens."

Vulture: The private life of an unloved bird

Vulture follows a year in the life of a typical North American turkey vulture. By incorporating information from scientific papers and articles, as well as interviews with world-renowned raptor and vulture experts, author Katie Fallon examines all aspects of the bird's natural history: breeding, incubating eggs, raising chicks, migrating, and roosting. After reading this book you will never look at a vulture in the same way again.

H Is for Hawk

An award-winning best-seller from the UK recounts how the author, an experienced falconer grieving the sudden death of her father, endeavored to train for the first time a dangerous goshawk predator as part of her personal recovery.

In the Beginning Was the Worm: Finding the secrets of life in a tiny hermaphrodite

"In the Beginning Was the Worm is not just an account of the study of one small organism. It also explains why scientists believe that genes will make sense of all their understandings of biology, and how much work will be needed before that dream comes true."--Jacket.

Spineless: The science of jellyfish and the art of growing a backbone

A former ocean biologist describes how she rediscovered her passion for marine science while investigating the enigmatic jellyfish and what the species' unique physiologies can teach about engineering and environmental stability.

The Curious Life of Krill: A conservation story from the bottom of the world

Eminent krill scientist Stephen Nicol wants us to know more about this enigmatic creature of the sea. He argues that it's critical to understand krill's complex biology in order to protect them as the krill fishing industry expands. Ocean enthusiasts will come away with a newfound appreciation for the complex ecology of a species we have much to learn from, and many reasons to protect."

Mosquito

An expert on this vexing insect traces the mosquito's origins, its role in history, and its ongoing threat to humankind as the bearer of diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, and encephalitis.

Buzz: The nature and necessity of bees

As informative and enchanting as the waggle dance of a honeybee, Buzz shows us why all bees are wonders to celebrate and protect. Read this book and you'll never overlook them again.

How Not to Be Eaten: The Insects Fight Back

By explaining the many ways in which insects avoid becoming a meal for a predator, and the ways in which predators evade their defensive strategies, Gilbert Waldbauer conveys an essential understanding of the unrelenting coevolutionary forces at work in the world around us.

Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle

[Extreme animal weapons] ...have cropped up in walruses and narwhals, crabs, beetles, bugs and flies. What is it about these species? ...Biology professor Douglas Emlen pulls readers into the worlds of these remarkable beasts, trekking through rainforests and mountain passes to unravel the mysteries of their weapons.....

Other Minds

[One] branch of the tree of life has ... sprouted surprising intelligence: the cephalopods, consisting of the squid, the cuttlefish, and above all the octopus. New research shows that these marvelous creatures display remarkable gifts. What does it mean that intelligence on earth has evolved not once but twice? And that the mind of the octopus is nonetheless so different from our own?

Humanimal

Our genome is 98 percent identical to a chimpanzee's. And yet we think of ourselves as exceptional. Are we? In this original and entertaining tour of life on Earth, Adam Rutherford explores the profound paradox of the "human animal."