Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law – Book Review

Published Date: September 14, 2021

Publishing Co.: W.W. Norton Company

Pages: 308

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Are some species just dicks?”

A poignant question poised by the author. It’s rhetorical of course. Animals are just being animals whether humans enjoy it or not and this book is mostly about humans trying to stop them from inconveniencing them. Like the time some people tried to take caterpillars to court to get them off their property. It went as well as one would suspect if you had half a brain.

Humans have created a lot of the problems themselves. British immigrants to New Zealand missed their rabbit hunts back home, so they imported some. New Zealand doesn’t have any large predators, the rabbits, boinked like rabbits do and overpopulated the land. Humans then brought over stoats and cats in an attempt to take care of the problem only to ultimately be overrun by rabbits, stoats and feral cats. These imported species take up the habitat and kill the native species to the island. Now, it’s a race against time to save endangered species before they’re gone forever.

So, what I’ve learned here is that it only takes one nostalgic human to ruin everything and years and years of research to try to fix anything. Often, without any success.

The battle against nuisance species is a delicate balance. Back in the day, humans would happily slaughter any animal that was inconvenient or effected their livelihoods. Even to the point of extinction because how dare they? People are slowly becoming more cognizant to animal suffering. Less people want so-called nuisance animals harmed. Preferring relocation if possible. However, relocation doesn’t tend to work effectively according to research in Fuzz. Scientists are busy trying to come up with more humane (or less harmful) ways to manage species that get in our way or cause us problems. The results are years off but provide for a fascinating read.

And maybe, just maybe, take the time to remember to lock down your garbage properly so some bear doesn’t get euthanized for stealing your scrumptious muffins you didn’t finish. A little mindfulness goes a long way in saving lives.

This is my first Roach book. I enjoyed her writing style and extensive research. I’m sure I will check out her other publications down the road.

17 thoughts on “Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law – Book Review

  1. I think I mentioned that I have no read this author yet, but I did listen to a long interview with her on NPR, which covered her studies of LSD and how they were useful in experiments back in (I think) the 70’s, and then LSD was banned. But once again we’re discovering just how helpful LSD can be for things like PTSD.

    Where humans really F’d up? I’d say it’s the idiots who release pet snakes in Florida. I watched a whole special about how Burmese pythons (huuuuge snakes) keep getting released, and the Indian python that’s more aggressive keeps getting released, and now there is evidence they are breeding to create HUGE, AGGRESSIVE snakes!

    Oh, also the new news about these big slugs in Florida that will kill everything.

    1. When we were last in Florida, we went to the Everglades and did a swamp walk tour with a park ranger. We didn’t see any pythons but they told us all about the invasion and that there’s a hunting contest every year to try to get rid of them. Someone gets a prize more most killed, and another gets a prize for biggest killed. It was in the headlines recently that they found a 215 pound, 18-foot-long female! Biggest yet. They don’t have many natural predators in Florida because interestingly enough, gators have a hard time eating them. They kind of get caught across the jaws and don’t go down the throat when they try. Then, another place showed us a picture of the stomach contents of a snake they got. Full deer inside. D:
      They’re going to take over the everglades if we don’t figure out how to get rid of them.
      I saw the news about the African slugs!
      I also recently saw that small mouth bass have hit the Colorado river and that’s going to hurt the natural species there.

      1. Do you know Kathy Reichs? She’s the lady who is/was a real-life forensic scientist and worked in the field for decades. She wrote the books about the forensic scientist that was later turned into the show Bones (though I hear they have little in common). Anyway, she has a novella called Swamp Bones that starts with something like an alligator that ate a bird that had eaten a human finger, or something like that, and it’s all set in the Florida everglades. I really enjoyed it!

      2. We talked about this author last night. 😉
        I love everything to do with the everglades. It’s just so beautiful and full of life. I need to take Rob back there in the summer (we went in the winter) because it’s totally different and teeming with plants and animals.

      3. Oh, yeah, lol. I forget what I say and what I think and what I type sometimes, so I’m a bit of a repeater.

        Okay, remind me again what you guys called skating rinks when you were kids, because Nick cannot believe it. A rollertarium or something?

  2. I get so annoyed when people consider native species nuisances. Your house is now where their forest was! This is not to say I want coyotes to run off with your babies or cats (I’ll fight a coyote), but the viewpoint needs to shift. Oh, and this is yet another reason to keep cats indoors. They kill literally everything and can decimate bird populations.

    1. Exactly! Not to mention, cats live so much longer when you don’t let them outside to get hit by cars or eaten by said coyotes. We live right and town and hear the coyotes from time to time. Part of the reason we fenced our yard not that that stops coyotes, but I also never leave my dog out unattended. I’ve heard too many horror stories about things people do to unattended dogs in their own yards since I was little to be comfortable with it. My husband had a childhood dog shot by the neighbor for one.

      1. I worry about mine when they’re just on the balcony outside. It’s got a fence and we’re up one level. I don’t think they’d jump off, but they also like to go after birds so I worry they might “forget.” But I also think about hawks and whatnot. Thankfully no people could get to them, and I used to warn my SIL because she’d let her black cat roam around o.O One, the cat got into lots of fights with other animals and two, people are assholes to animals, especially black cats and I really told her to keep her inside around Halloween. I’d honestly be more worried about a human hurting my kitties. They both have claws and could probably hold their own against another animal, but Cid is really, really friendly and I’d have to John Wick someone.

        I’ve heard the horrible shit people do to dogs in their own yards because they don’t like the people and it’s like wtf is wrong with you?

      2. I would fully John Wick someone over my animals. I agree though, it’s more likely that a human would hurt the animal intentionally than animal shenanigans. Zelda does not have her front claws so she would not last a minute. Samus hates strangers so I doubt anyone would be able to catch her unless they trapped her. I would worry more about her getting hit by car because she doesn’t seem to understand that they are dangerous, just fun to ride in.

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