That's gross!
11th Oct 19

That's gross!

From blood-sucking bats to cannibal spiders and vomiting vultures, discover more about the weird and wonderful world of gross animals in this brilliant new book - A GIANT DOSE OF GROSS - by ANDY SEED.

If you want to know more about wildlife that you aren't going to find anywhere else - then read on!

Author ANDY SEED tells us more about A GIANT DOSE OF GROSS:

Q: You write non fiction, so what has been your favourite topic to write about so far?

A: My favourite topic... wow, there have been so many... I've written about an amazing range of things: monsters, cheese, football, silly inventions, jokes, The Great Stink, whales, bobsleighs, riddles, chocolate and strangler figs to name just a few. Poo was very interesting to write about but my favourite is probably animals - especially the gross ones in my new book!

Q: Do you enjoy researching strange facts for your books?

A: I enjoy the research and the writing, but the researching is fun because I get to find out loads of amazing facts. For example, that male giraffes taste female giraffes' wee to see if they are ready to have a baby.

Q: Give us your top 'poo' fact from the first book in this series, The Clue is in the Poo?

A: Froghoppers are small insects which blow bubbles out of their bottoms to make a kind of foam, often called cuckoo spit. They stay inside this froth to protect themselves from predators - in other words they hide in poo!

Q: How did you decide on what subject to cover in the second book, A Giant Dose of Gross?

A: Well, poo proved to be very popular with readers and so we decided to do a book about other stinky and yucky aspects of animals that we find disgusting. 'Gross' is a good way of summing up all of the things about nature that we find revolting but fascinating.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about the book and how it's arranged?

A: Yes, it's a look at animals that we find disgusting because of how they look or what they do, but it also explores why some animals look gross or do gross things such as eat their sisters or lick their bottom.

The book is split into sections:

UGLY! (animals that look gross)

YUCKY! (animals that do gross things)

UNFUSSY! (animals that eat gross things)

THIRSTY! (animals that drink blood)

GRISLY! (animals that live in other animals)

STINKY! (animals that pong)

WACKY! (animals that are very strange and gross)

Plus some gross quizzes at the back, for fun

Q: Were there many surprises when you researched this book? What were your top three 'finds'?

A: Lots of surprises. For instance, the number and range of parasites around the world is simply staggering. And many of them have developed to live off one particular host.

For example there are thought to be over 600,000 different types of parasitoid wasps alone! One group of them lays their eggs on spiders. The wasp larvae or grubs that hatch eat the spider, sucking out its vital juices.

Another horrific creature is the tongue-eating louse, a giant sea parasite which climbs into a fish's head, bites off its tongue and fixes itself in the poor victim's mouth, crouching like the creepiest villain you've ever seen.

Another animal I enjoyed writing about is the howler monkey of Central American jungles. If a predator or human comes too close it will climb a tree above the threat and poo on it! I could have chosen so many creatures from the book - exploding toads, cookiecutter sharks, stink badgers and vampire frogs to name a few.

Q: Which creatures would you be least happy to meet in its habitat?

A: I wouldn't like to get too close to the botfly. It lays its eggs in a cut or scratch on your body and a big lump then develops with a giant spiky maggot inside. Truly gross!

Q: Who do you think A Giant Dose of Gross will appeal to?

A: Everyone interested in nature, I hope. Actually, even people who aren't will find some of the content interesting.

For example, there is an insect which produces fatal farts. The beaded lacewing kills termites by releasing deadly gases from its rear end before dining on the poor victims. Nasty!

Q: Where is your favourite place to write and what are you working on now?

A: I like working at home where its quiet and I have access to tea of astonishing quality. I also live in a forest which is very handy for my nature research!

At the moment I am writing a book for the British Museum which is an Ancient Egyptian puzzle adventure. You have to decode the clues, in hieroglyphics of course, to help prevent a gang of tomb robbers from unleashing a deadly curse. It's going to be spectacular!

Q: What has been your stand out non fiction project during your career?

A: Ah, well, that has to be The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff which was great fun to write and went on to win the Blue Peter Book Award for Best Book with Facts in 2015. I got to be on the show and was given a legendary badge. The book was the first in a series of 6, all full of fun facts, jokes, games, puzzles, challenges and things to do. Enormous fun.

Q: What are your favourite escapes from writing?

A: I go walking in the forest where I live, spotting the wildlife, and I love climbing hills too. And eating cheese. And playing table tennis. And reading books. Lots and lots and lots of books. Did I mention cheese? I like that too.

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