The Inner Life of Animals

A nonfiction book by Peter Wohlleben.

Peter Wohlleben

Through vivid stories of devoted pigs, two-timing magpies and scheming roosters, The Inner Life of Animals weaves the latest scientific research into how animals interact with the world with Peter Wohlleben's personal experiences in forests and fields.

Horses feel shame, deer grieve and goats discipline their kids. Ravens call their friends by name, rats regret bad choices and butterflies choose the very best places for their children to grow up. Animals are different from us in ways that amaze us — and they are also much closer to us than we ever would have thought. (From Greystone Books)

From the book

It was a hot summer day at my forester's lodge deep in the woods near Hümmel in the Eifel, a mountain range in Germany. The year was 1966. To cool off, my wife and I had set out a wading pool under a shady tree in the garden. I was sitting in the water with my two children, and we were enjoying juicy slices of watermelon when, all of a sudden, I became aware of a movement out of the corner of my eye. A rusty-brown something was scampering toward us, freezing for an instant every now and then as it advanced. "A squirrel!" the children cried in delight. My joy, however, soon turned to deep concern as the squirrel took a few more steps and then keeled over onto its side. It was clearly ill, and after it had taken a few more steps (in our direction!), I noticed a large growth on its neck. It looked as though what we were dealing with here was an animal that was definitely suffering from something and might even be highly infectious. Slowly but surely, it was approaching the pool. I was on the point of gathering up the children and beating a hasty retreat when the menacing advance resolved itself into a touching scene. The lump turned out to be a baby wrapped around its mother's neck like a furry ruff. The baby's stranglehold, along with the shimmering heat, meant the squirrel mother could only suck in enough air to take a few steps before falling over sideways, exhausted and gasping for breath.


From The Inner Life of Animals by Peter Wohlleben ©2017. Published by Greystone Books.