Prologue: Reflections. Design. Procreation. Habitat. Companionship. Talkers. Workers. Habits. Red in tooth and claw. Monsters. Death and extinction. Epilogue: Celebration
'...selects from the work of naturalists, both professional and amateur, explorers, philosophers, novelists, children's writers, diarists, and, outstandingly, poets. It covers many periods and countries....[It] is arranged thematically, and embraces the function and beauty of the design and movement of creatures, their various habitats, mating and rearing of young, work (both for their own communities and when harnessed to man's purposes), and their roles as prey and predator; extinct species are included, and fabulous or invented ones. About 250 creatures, from the least significant to the most majestic, can be found....'