The wife of naturalist/animal collector Gerald Durrell reminisces about wild creatures encountered during the couple's trips to South America and Africa from the 1950s on. Mrs. Durrell's approach to individual animals she has known is that of a sentimental nanny; she seems to have not the faintest notion of the biological or environmental underpinnings of animal behavior. Her charges are ""mischievous"" or ""disconsolate""--or in the ease of an owl, capable of a ""withering glance."" Some Patagonian penguins are ""stupid"" for building nests too close together on a remote site away from the sea (and winds); chimps are ""hysterical"" and ""unreliable."" Of course, there are entertaining antics--of Eggbert the clumsy Crested Screamer who tripped over his own feet, or a marmoset that submerged in flower vases. And there are those appealing photos. But this is mainly an unrelieved series of cooing anecdotes.