Review - "Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched"


The book Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched gets the point across hot off the press. Jobs in animal care are tough!

The author, Amy Sutherland, gives an in-depth year long report of life at the affectionately titled EATM (Exotic Animal Training and Management Program). Sutherland, a successful reporter and author, has already published three well-received books and numerous articles appearing in the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and Cooking Light. Sutherland's writing style may initially seem aimed at the Oprah book club crowd, but moments of a fair and honest reporter work their way into K, B, & S. An example would be the in depth look at the life of Dr. Gary Peddie, the then-current Director of EATM.

Sutherland does her research and digs out the dirt about working with animals most of your waking hours. Amongst profiles of the overstressed students and staff at EATM, Sutherland successfully describes the behaviors of the animals with which the trainers work. Being nearly trampled by a camel, walking big cats, and making wolves howl on command are described in an organic layout that allow the reader to feel and respond to her situations.

I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the topic or has ever asked the question, "what would it be like to train an exotic animal?" Fortunately, K, B, & S is short enough where you shouldn't lose interest, yet long enough that all of your questions feel answered.

Overall: 4/5


Just who am I, and why do I have a blog? Allow me to introduce myself.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, rogue walls of text flew threw space. It was a happy time - a better time... perhaps. On August 15th of a certain year, several people were born. I happened to be one of these people. The expectations were intense from day one! Breathe! Speak! Tap R or L twice to do a barrel roll! After acquiring basic skills, I soon decided to entice the idea of a future career in the research of Animal Behavior.

If the dots need filling in, my name is Alex Hall, and I am a sophomore at Southwestern University majoring in Animal Behavior with a Studio Arts minor. My hometown is Lewisville, TX, and I attended Lewisville High School for all four years of my secondary education.

Throughout my educational experience thus far, animals and their goings-on have fascinated my sister and me. Our lovely parents familiarized themselves with youth's sub-conscious call towards the great outdoor at some early point in time, and bought the home we currently live in. Our backyard sprawls toward the geographic feature giving our street a name - a babbling brook. Many an exciting adventure were had in this "untamed" (though roughly man-made) creek bed. Nature! Biophilia! Oh, how much fun.

My privileged, American public educational experience sent me to a wonderful elementary school encouraging reading as much as possible and often. Lucky for us youngsters, our literary success led and continues to lead us to such great heights. For me, my interest in animals combine with my reading affinity causing animal-related books to fall off of store shelves and out of internet archives onto my lap.

I eventually persuaded myself to commit to an account of my literary, academic, and other experiences on the topic of animals, animal behavior, and being an undergrad. Thank you very much for finding my blog, and I encourage you to contact me (halla(at) with suggestions of books I should review or topics I should cover. Comments are more than welcome, and I again encourage you to share my blog with bibliophiles, your roommate, or anyone who could appreciate my musings.


Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: After graduating from SU with a BS in Animal Behavior, Studio Arts minor (it's for fun), I plan on attending graduate school to continue my studies. After grad school, it's a bit far off to say, but I am considering more schooling, research, and/or teaching. Field research excites me, to say the least, and I am currently looking into summer programs that could tailor to a student of animal behavior.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: Video games! I'm a Nintendo-kid, and you'll have to excuse the occasional stretched Yoshi's Island reference (touch fuzzy, get dizzy). I am an amateur photographer, and am employed by SU's school newspaper The Megaphone as a photographer and occasionally as a writer. I am also an internet radio DJ on SU Radio and host the show "Alternative Affinity." Among other things, I read, websurf, enjoy camping, listen to music (my profile), appreciate art, and critique things. As you will probably be able to tell from later posts, there really isn't a great deal of free time at Southwestern, so many of these things are put on the backburner while in school.

Q: What did you do before attending SU?
A: I have roots in Boy Scouting and am an Eagle Scout, but as of the moment, I am not connected to a troop. My high school had an active NJROTC I contributed to for all four years. These experiences built and polished my leadership skills and convinced me of my capacity to teach using a hands-on approach.

Q: What clubs and organizations are you in? What about the past?
A: I am currently in the Alpha Gamma Kappa chapter of SU's Alpha Phi Omega. I am also a member of Beta Beta Beta (BBB), SU Animal Behavior Society (ABS), SU Allies, and Theater for Social Justice (TSJ). At various points in time, I have been part of BSA, NJROTC, Leo Club, NHS, and LHS's Herpetological Society.

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