Jun 3, 2009

Vet on the Wild Side

Further Adventures of a Wildlife Vet
by David Taylor

I just finished reading David Taylor's Vet on the Wild Side yesterday. It's a collection of stories about the experiences of a zoo vet; I've written about two other of his books here and here. For some reason, Vet on the Wild Side didn't enthrall me as much as the other titles. I think this is because it didn't feel as focused. While relating one story about a certain animal, the author would often begin musing on other experiences he'd had working with the same species, or in the same country, or with a certain individual. It made the accounts feel rather disjointed. The constant, sideline mention of stories I'd read in his other books also started to distract me. But, as always, it was still a fascinating read. During the time frame covered by this book, Taylor was frequently traveling, as a vet specializing in wildlife and exotic animals. He recounts working in a special hospital in Arabia just for sick falcons, solving a mystery of poisoned baboons, rescuing a pair of dolphins that had been abandoned in a posh hotel swimming pool, collecting semen (to a crowd of curious onlookers and press) from the famous albino gorilla Snowflake and devising methods for transporting large sharks, among other tales. I learned quite a bit about sharks- did you know they don't have bony skeletons, but cartilage? Their skin is comprised of dentine scales, and so rough its abrasion alone can cause injuries. One of the most astonishing stories in the book included a scene where a shark had busted out of its tank on a truck, fallen onto the roadbed, and had to be rushed to the nearest aquarium in the backseat of a taxicab! Another really interesting collection of anecdotes related his work doing tv programs about animals- with frank disclosures about how much they faked things. If you like reading about wildlife, or veterinary work, this book is recommended.

Rating: 3/5                 224 pages, 1990


  1. Too bad this one didn't live up to its promise. I'll have to look into his other books.

  2. I loved my introduction to David Taylor, "Is There A Doctor In The Zoo?" Which one should I try next?

  3. Bermudaonion- well, it was still good! Just didn't wow me like the others.

    Bybee- I really liked "One by One" and "Zoo Vet." Try one of those!

  4. I'll have to try him sometime. Sounds good, even if this wasn't his best.

  5. I see you seem to enjoy books about horses? Did you ever read the n/f Chosen By a Horse? IT'S WONDERFUL!

  6. Yes, I have! I liked it very much. My review it is here.


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