Animal Records

Amazing feats and fascinating facts

Mark Carwardine

Animal Records is the definitive guide to the most exceptional creatures on Earth, from the strongest and shortest to the longest and laziest. This paperback edition has been fully revised and updated with new records and all the latest facts from the animal kingdom. 

978 0 565 09248 1
September 2010
253 x 192 mm
256 pp
Colour throughout
Natural History Museum


Did you know elephants have been reported to swim for as long as six hours at a time and as far as 30 miles without a break, and without touching the bottom? Or that when whales and dolphins open their eyes underwater, special greasy tears protect them from the stinging salt? Crammed with thousands of amazing animal facts and brilliant and bizarre feats, Animal Records will astonish and astound readers of all ages.

This wonderful reference book features world record holders from each of the main animal groups including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes and invertebrates. It is packed with all the latest discoveries, over 200 colour photographs and intriguing stories throughout.

Find out how the okapi can lick and clean its own eyes. Discover the tiny cat flea that jumps with an acceleration equivalent to over 20 times that needed to launch a space rocket.

Written by award-winning writer and broadcaster Mark Carwardine, this book is a celebration of creatures both great and small that will appeal to all the family.

See inside

Look inside this book to get an idea of its content.

Pages from Animal Records

Pages from Animal Records – The Panthera tigris in close up. Did you know the Siberian tiger is the world's largest cat?

Pages from Animal Records

Pages from Animal Records. The okapi has such a long tongue (up to 20 inches) that it can reach up to lick and clean its own eyes.

Pages from Animal Records

Pages from Animal Records. On the left is the strange-looking axolotl. The name 'axolotl' stems from an Aztec word meaning 'water monster'.

Pages from Animal Records

Pages from Animal Records. The record-breaking blue whale is the heaviest and largest animal on Earth. The average adult length is 25 m (80 ft) in males and 26.2 m (86 ft) in females, with body weights of 90–120 tonnes.

Pages from Animal Records

Pages from Animal Records. Did you know that bee hummingbirds build nests no bigger than a thimble?


Zoologist Mark Carwardine is an award-winning writer, widely published photographer and TV and radio presenter. He co-presented the hit BBC TV series Last Chance to See with Stephen Fry and was one of the presenters on the major BBC series about the Natural History Museum, Museum of Life. He has written more than 40 books – including several best-sellers.

The book is also fully checked and approved by Natural History Museum experts.


Find out what others think of this book.

"I think it is cool that an okapi, which looks like a horse, has such a long tongue that it can lick its own eyeballs. That was one of many amazing things I have learned from this book."

Review by an eleven year old reader - Sunday Express

"A sort of Schott’s Miscellany for wildlife lovers but better designed."

BBC Wildlife Magazine

"A fascinating compendium…Animal Records is a book every household should own. Each colourful page is crammed with the kind of startling trivia that brightens up any family gathering."

Sunday Express

"Animal Records contains every animal extravagance...irresistible"

The Times

"Britain's wildlife is all very attractive but it can seem a bit bland. No elephants or tigers, just foxes chasing rabbits and you will search in vain on Salisbury Plain for US-style herds of bison. Yet Britain has plenty of wildlife world record holders, according to a new book. The fastest living creature breeds on our cliffs and cathedrals and is now peregrinating across the countryside for the winter. The peregrine falcon plummets from the heavens at up to 155mph when swooping on to a hapless pigeon like a Spitfire on to a lumbering Heinkel. Broadcaster Mark Carwardine’s Animal Records for the Natural History Museum reveals that there is no point creeping up on a woodcock, a long-billed game bird with perfect 360-degree vision. But Britain does not hold a copyright on unexpected behaviour. Chimps are mini-medics. They have worked out which leaves to eat to cure illness. They also know that a plant’s chemistry varies over the day and take their medicine when it is most effective."

Daily Express

"Full of amazing animal facts!"

National Geographic Kids Magazine

"A wonderfully informative book…highly recommended."

The Teacher: magazine of the NUT

"If you couldn’t see it here with your own eyes, you’d struggle to believe some of what goes down in the animal kingdom…The proboscis monkey has a 10cm-long nose that actually droops over its own mouth. And did you know there’s a bird that drinks blood?...More fun than a trip to the zoo."

Flipside Magazine

"All you ever needed to know about the amazing record holders of the animal kingdom…there are over 250 pages of brilliant photographs and fascinating facts."

Aquila Magazine

"This is one of the best books about animals I’ve ever seen!...It is a brilliant book just to dip into or sit and read at length. Anyone who is interested in animals will love this!"

Teen Titles

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