quotes of the day....animals


Avoid A Void
Listen to them [wolves]—the children of the night.What music they make!
—Bram Stoker, Dracula (1897)

I sometimes think, Mary, that it is a mistake to have a dog for a nurse.
—J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan (play, 1904)

Lions, and tigers, and bears! Oh, my!
—Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, and Edgar AllanWoolf,
TheWizard of Oz (film, 1939)

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and
from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.
—George Orwell, Animal Farm: A Fairy Story (1945)

[Referring to the birds:] Nat listened to the tearing sound of splintering
wood, and wondered how many million years of memory were stored in
those little brains, behind the stabbing beaks, the piercing eyes, now giving
them this instinct to destroy mankind with all the deft precision of machines.
—Daphne du Maurier, ‘‘The Birds’’ (1952)

I have spent too much of my life opening doors for cats—I once calculated
that, since the dawn of civilization, nine hundred and seventy-eight mancenturies
have been used up that way.
—Robert A. Heinlein, The Door into Summer (1956)

The wild black scavengers of the skies laid their eggs in season and lovingly
fed their young. They soared high over prairies and mountains and plains,
searching for the fulfillment of that share of life’s destiny which was theirs
according to the plan of Nature. Their philosophers demonstrated by unaided reason alone that the Supreme Cathartes aura regnans had created the world
especially for buzzards. They worshipped him with hearty appetites for many
—Walter M. Miller, Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz (1959)

A man who has been an animal has infinitely more knowledge of that animal
than a man who has merely dissected one.
—Jack Sharkey, ‘‘Arcturus Times Three’’ (1961)

The reptiles had taken over the city. Once again they were the dominant form
of life.
Looking up at the ancient impassive faces, Kerans could understand the
curious fear they roused, rekindling archaic memories of the terrifying
jungles of the Paleocene, when the reptiles had gone down before the
emergent mammals, and sense the implacable hatred one zoological class
feels towards another that usurps it.
—J. G. Ballard, The Drowned World (1962)

Stupefaction overrode all other emotion when I saw this creature on the
lookout, lying in wait for the game. For it was an ape, a large-sized gorilla.
It was in vain that I told myself I was losing my reason: I could entertain not
the slightest doubt as to his species. But an encounter with a gorilla on the
planet Soror was not the essential outlandishness of the situation. This for me
lay in the fact that the ape was correctly dressed, like a man of our world, and
above all that he wore his clothes in such an easy manner.
—Pierre Boulle, Planet of the Apes (1963), translated by Xan Fielding (1963)

Rabbits (says Mr. Lockley) are like human beings in many ways. One of these
is certainly their staunch ability to withstand disaster and to let the stream
of their life carry them along, past reaches of terror and loss. They have a
certain quality which it would not be accurate to describe as callousness
or indifference. It is, rather, a blessedly circumscribed imagination and an
intuitive feeling that Life is Now.
—Richard Adams, Watership Down (1972)

When you’ve seen one pterodactyl you’ve seen them all.
—Edward Wellen, ‘‘Down By the Old Maelstrom’’ (1972)

You become what you live.
She lived shark.
—Edward Bryant, ‘‘Shark’’ (1973)

Never try to outstubborn a cat.
—Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love (1973)

The literature of the emperor penguin is as forbidding, as inaccessible, as the
frozen heart of Antarctica itself. Its beauties may be unearthly, but they are
not for us.
—Ursula K. Le Guin, ‘‘The Author of the Acacia Seeds and Other Extracts
from the Journal of the Association of Therolinguistics’’ (1974)

She had always known that all lives are in common, rejoicing in her kinship
to the fish in the tanks of her laboratories, seeking the experience of existences
outside the human boundary.
—Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia (1974)

Who would have thought the bees would have been the first alien force to
invade America?
—Stirling Silliphant, The Swarm (film, 1978)

It was none the less a perfectly ordinary horse, such as convergent evolution
has produced in many of the places that life is to be found. They have always
understood a great deal more than they let on. It is difficult to be sat on all
day, every day, by some other creature, without forming an opinion about
—Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (1987)

Animals never spend time dividing experience into little bits and speculating
about all the bits they’ve missed. The whole panoply of the universe has been
neatly expressed to them as things to (a) mate with, (b) eat, (c) run away
from, and (d) rocks.
—Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites (1987)

[On dolphins:] Never trust a species that grins all the time. It’s up to
—Terry Pratchett, Pyramids (1989)

The gorillas are not yet sufficiently advanced in evolutionary terms to have
discovered the benefits of passports, currency-declaration forms, and official
bribery, and therefore tend to wander backward and forward across the
border as and when their beastly, primitive whim takes them.
—Douglas Adams, Last Chance to See (1990)

Eric: You liked dinosaurs back then.
Dr Grant: Well, back then they hadn’t tried to eat me yet.
—Peter Buchman, Alexander Payne, and Jim Taylor, Jurassic Park III
(film, 2001)

Animals do neither good nor evil. They do as they must do.We may call
what they do harmful or useful, but good and evil belong to us, who chose to
choose what we do. [. . .] The animals need only be and do.We’re yoked, and
they’re free. So to be with an animal is to know a little freedom.
—Ursula K. Le Guin, The OtherWind (2001)

Humans, eh? Think they’re lords of creation. Not like us cats.We know we
are. Ever see a cat feed a human? Case proven.
—Terry Pratchett, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents (2001)

It’s hard to be an ornithologist and walk through a wood when all around
you the world is shouting: ‘‘Bugger off, this is my bush! Aargh, the nest thief !
Have sex with me, I can make my chest big and red!’’
—Terry Pratchett, Monstrous Regiment (2003)