The Beauty in the Beast
We were standing in her kitchen and most of the surfaces were covered with cages containing bats.
'This is A&E. When they first come in I have to make the big decision. All the time I have to consider, what is best for the bat? About a third of them I can fix and release. A few others never quite pass the flying test, and join the education team. And the remainder, well, they have to be euthanised.'
The Beauty in the Beast is a gentle, witty and caring account of some of the extraordinary people who devote themselves to wild animals. The author Hugh Warwick, himself a hedgehog expert, interviewed fifteen people, each devoted to their own corner of the natural world. Chapters about otters, bats, bees and dolphins, the other creatures and their enthusiasts each provide rich insights into a natural world it's only too easy to ignore.
As I write this the snow is falling and the natural world is revealing itself, temporarily, through the tracks and prints left in the white. The Beauty in the Beast will leave a track in your mind, a trail marked with new facts (if the builder thinks you have a mouse infesation in the roof, check the droppings, bat poo is dry and crumbly, mouse poo sticky) and in my case a re-awakened desire to spend more time out and about looking and listening to the creatures whose world we share.