Mr. Sweeney, a British naturalist invited by the Sudan government to study cotton pests, recounts his lively adventures in exotic and often dangerous terrain with high good humor and not a little pith-helmet melodrama. ""I heard a dry scraping sound not far away that must have been caused by some sizeable animal... the grass tops began to sway..."" Then follows a hot chase after a burrowing pangolin (a scaly ant-eater), abandoned when a griffon (of the vulture family) is spotted. Although Mr. Sweeney performed assiduously amongst his insects, his main delight was his zoo which he later presented to the scrubby, dusty township of Kadgli in the Nuba Mountains. The collecting adventures and travels in the region are generally hair-raising: innumerable immersions in mud and scorching sands; unpredictable animal arrivals and departures; uneasy moments with friendly but primitive peoples; unpleasant surprises such as the employment of a convicted murderer and the escape of a boxful of scorpions. (Mr. Sweeney, ever the scientist, encourages one to bite him. It does.) With essential, if not accomplished, photos this is a beguiling naturalist's log for those similarly attuned to African wildlife, large and small.