I know what and how I see, hear, feel, smell and taste, but what about all the other living creatures I share the world with?

Until listening to An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us (Random House, 2022) I had not given much thought to how animals navigate the world. Sure, I know a bit about the power of a dog’s sense of smell, but my knowledge about other species had been pretty thin.

Author Ed Young delves into the animal kingdom in a way I had not even given any thought to before.

I had never thought about there being other senses beyond what humans have. Sure, I understand animals can have better senses than us. Many can see at night or hear things we don’t. But some use whiskers and other body parts as sense mechanisms.

Snakes use infrared radiation, bats echolocation, octopuses polarized vision, and bees tap into the Earth’s magnetic field.

I was fascinated and bored by this book at the same time. Such are the hazards of science not being one of my favorite subjects. While Young delivers the information in a manner that is easy to understand, at times it was a bit too much. I could only take in so much at a time so it took me a while to get through the book.

The last chapters were about how humans are changing life for all animals—what with our desire to light up the night sky, create noise on land and in the water, and build barriers to their normal migration in the name of what we call progress. This was illuminating in a negative way. Even music being played outside is changing what’s “normal” to every other living being that can hear it.

It really made me realize how most humans (it can’t be just me!) are clueless about the impacts their daily lives have on the animal world.

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