With October being filled with many activities at the DWA, it seems only fitting that our book of the month be Crocodile Encounters! by Brady Barr with Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld. Published by National Geographic in 2012, it is part of their Kids Chapters – “Incredible stories about animals and the people who love them.”
The book begins by Dr. Barr introducing himself, “Hi, my name is Brady Barr, and I’m a zoologist. That means I study animals. I’ve studied all kinds of animals in about 70 countries on Earth. But of all the animals I’ve work with, crocodiles are my favorite.” Although written as a kids book, it is fascinating and entertaining for adults, as well as educational. It is a paperback with less than 100 pages of large print and great photos, making it “one of those books you can’t stop reading” a probability for one setting. Two of the chapters relay the experiences encountered when Brady listens to ideas that kids come up with concerning his interaction with crocodiles and how he can better do his job! One young lad suggested that he dress up like a croc so that he could get closer to them. Perhaps, just maybe! Dr. Barr was not to be undaunted by the weight of the 80-pound croc suit, nor the smell (coated on the inside with hippo dung) in getting up close and personal with giant crocodiles! It worked! However, the next excursion involved trying to capture a large crocodile with a remote controlled toy car equipped with a pole and a rope loop. Apparently crocs will eat most anything that seems to be in their space – including RC cars and cameras. It didn’t work, but when the camera was later found, Dr. Barr discovered he did get some good footage from inside the croc’s stomach – which he shared with the classroom from which the idea had originated. Apparently cameras are not a favorite food source for crocs; no mention was made of the remote controlled car.
Two other adventures are included in the book 1) the draining of a lake in Costa Rica prior to crawling into a hole with 13 crocs and 2) catching a huge croc in Uganda that managed to escape from its wooden crate before being loaded on a plane. You suspect the endings in both are good or Dr. Barr might not be visiting the DWA as a guest lecturer on October 19th for Croctoberfest.
The book is available for $5.99 in the Book Store and as always, members receive a 10% discount. It is definitely good reading — for all ages.