10 Must-Read Wildlife Books

The natural world is a never-ending treasure trove of wonder, and from the skies to the deep seas we’re blessed to be surrounded by a thriving animal kingdom. We’ve gathered the ten must-read wildlife books to offer an insight into these worlds. From conservation to ecology, these books are centred on the beating heart of the world of wildlife.

Here are the 10 Must-Read Wildlife Books:

1) In The Shadow Of A Man By Jane Goodall

This is the powerful account of the experiences of anthropologist and conservationist Jane Goodall’s living with chimpanzees in the Tanzanian jungle. Shining a light not only onto the fascinating inner-culture of the primate world, this book also draws many parallels between humans and their closest cousins. What emerges is a beautiful story with a powerful message about conservation and climate.

2) 30-Second Zoology edited by Mark Fellowes

The world of biology is often off-puttingly vast for wildlife fanatics but Mark Fellowes cuts it down to size in this readable and accessible compilation. Accompanied by beautiful illustrations that take this book from a work of science into the realms of art are explanations of all the need-to-know concepts of zoology, explained in under 300 words. A fantastic book for those looking to learn more about the natural world.

3) A Life On Our Planet: My Witness Statement And A Vision For The Future by David Attenborough

“There are few people living today who have spent a life so up-close and personal with the animal kingdom and it’s clear from this book that this journey has left a profound impression on Attenborough,” says Danelle Lehman, a book blogger at State Of Writing and OXEssays. “This is the gripping story of how our natural world is threatened today.”

4) Becoming Wild: How Animals Learn to be Animals by Carl Safina

Ecologist Carl Safina is one of the most learned observers of the animal kingdom, and he brings great subtlety and wisdom to animal behaviour in this book. What makes Becoming Wild so powerful is the way Safina breaks down the boundaries of nature, revealing the complex inner culture that explains the behaviour of animals from parrots to porpoises.

5) Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness

There are many lessons to be learned from observing the animal kingdom – an awareness of the interconnectedness of things teaches us to better care for our planet. At the same time, Harkness reveals how an interest in the natural world can encourage better care of our individual selves through practices that prioritise health and well-being. Bird Therapy demonstrates the benefits to our mental health than can be achieved by slowing down and looking out at the world around us.

6) The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

“Kipling’s beautiful collection has been a mainstay of many childhoods spent reading,” says Lan Zimmerman, a writer at UKWritings and Academized. “Whether you’re reading this book for the first time as an adult or revisiting it to invoke those happy memories, the stories in the book will immerse you into the animal kingdom in all its colourful glory.”

7) Birds of Heaven by Peter Matthiessen

Matthiessen’s skill as a writer shines through every page in this glorious global tour of the world of cranes, and he brings these fascinating and delicate birds to life. Matthiessen links the fragile nature of these birds to the receding landscape within which they live, building a memorable account of climate change in the world today.

8) The Future of Life by EO Wilson

EO Wilson is a titan of the biology world and The Future of Life tackles the fundamental questions of biology and conservation with great erudition and subtlety. Wilson understands how science is driven to find answers, but he also knows better than anyone the damage that can be wrought in the process – these tough questions are at the heart of this book which is all about how humans and wildlife can live in harmony.

9) Ocean by Hélène Druvert and Emmanuelle Grundmann

From the plains of Africa to cranes soaring in the sky, the natural world holds many wonders. Yet perhaps the most fascinating and thriving natural environment exists beyond the human eye, submerged in the endless ocean. Mysteries of the deep resurface in this thorough account of the ocean’s rich wildlife, as captivating writing is accompanied by stunning illustrations.

10) Changing a Leopard’s Spots by Alex van den Heever and Renias Mhlongo

Finally, join wildlife trackers Alex van den Heever and Renias Mhlongo on their decades-long work with leopards and lions at Londolozi, jaguars from South America, and grizzly bears in North America. Changing a Leopard’s Spots spotlights the duo’s works together – from joy to failures, to successes. Not only does the duo learn more about wildlife, but they also learn to develop a meaningful friendship with each other.

Changing a leopards spots book - Ecotraining

It’s a big world out there. These are the best wildlife books to captivate your imagination and start your exploration. Whether its biology, conservation or simply the magic of the animal kingdom that enthrals you, these books will keep you coming back for more.

About the Author

Katherine Rundell is an environmental blogger at and She studied ecology and conservation at the University of Cambridge and has worked on environmental projects stretching from northern Africa to Southeast Asia. Also, she is a proofreader at writing service.

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Katherine Rundell

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