An unusually agreeable collection of essays about animal life by scientists and semi-pro naturalists, all brief enough for the dilettante but with sufficient pith for cognoscenti. Corey Ford reviews the findings and incredible hardships of Georg Steller, the pioneer naturalist who sailed to Alaska with Bering in the 18th century; Peter Matthiessen scans the fauna of the Galapagos archipelago; and from Durward L. Allen comes an instructive account of experiments with a moose and wolf community on Michigan's Isle Royale. But this is mainly a group of appreciations of a single species: coyote, wildcat, groundhog, shrew, red squirrel, kangaroo rat, gannet, etc. John Madson pays exuberant tribute to crows while Archie Carr does the honors for snakes of various stripe. It's pleasant to see an excerpt from C. Brooks Worth's delightful book on his love--and nobody else's--mosquitoes; and Edwin Way Teale supplies a homey round-up of window-watched wildlife. The concluding essay contains some wispy-to-heady speculations on immortality, via the wasp, by Loren Eiseley--a nice link to Joseph Wood Krutch's initial piece on myth, misobservation, and ""unnatural history."" Many drawings and photos, including 32 full-page and in color. A gift and nature-shelf staple.