Let me introduce you to my friends,"" says animal trainer and filmmaker Tors--and each chapter brings a rush of experience and animal lore as the roving author takes sightings on cheetahs and leopards across Africa, investigates crocodiles and hippos along the Nile, appears on the ""Tonight"" show wrapped (""like a tree"") in a boa constrictor, and, most famously, trains and films the dolphins that play the role of Flipper. Some of the chapters are a patchwork of anecdotes and factual data, with only occasional stretches of first-hand observation. ""In Cold Sweat,"" however, finds Tots stalked by a lion in the Serengeti--and, for the 22 miles back to base, in eyeball contact with the other animals on whom it preys. His focus throughout is on bridging--or effacing--the gap between animals and people. Sometimes he overstrains (""Just as we have such crazy people as snipers and assassins, so there exist man-eating crocodiles"") and sometimes he goes overboard altogether: only humans ""try to keep everybody alive, even those whose bad seeds may endanger our species."" As for his excursus into ESP, that's best ignored altogether. But Gentle Ben and Clarence the cross-eyed lion put in guest appearances along with their wilder kin, and that will be sufficient attraction for many.