Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Item qualifies for FREE shipping and Prime! This item is used.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the World's Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 1, 2006

48 customer reviews

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
Hardcover, Bargain Price, June 1, 2006
$7.44 $1.41

This is a bargain book and quantities are limited. Bargain books are new but could include a small mark from the publisher and an price sticker identifying them as such. Details

Amazon School Supplies

Special Offers and Product Promotions

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Graduates of the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program at California's Moorpark College land jobs in prestigious zoos, animal sanctuaries and research facilities, and they can be found in high-profile positions in Hollywood studios, the U.S. Navy and the organization Guide Dogs for the Blind. Sutherland (Cookoff: Recipe Fever in America) chronicles the intriguing year she spent with students at this "Harvard for exotic animal trainers," accompanying the "first years" as they interact with the exotic and not-so-exotic animals in the teaching zoo—including baboons, cougars, servals, wolves, tortoises, snakes and rats. She attends classes in the rigorous academic program, goes to training sessions where the students learn to communicate with, rather than dominate, the animals, and discovers that the school is no place for anyone who thinks animals are cute: students may be attacked by emus, kicked by mule deer or backed into corners by camels. There is, however, much friction among the students, especially with the "second years." Sutherland observes that people who relate well to animals don't always relate well to other people, and this theme makes the book a fascinating study in human as well as animal behavior. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

It is a rare pleasure to see behind the scenes of EATM, the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program of Moorpark College, California, a world nothing like the Disney version of human-animal interaction. Here the students discover that anything with a mouth can bite and that excrement does not smell like daisies. The school veterinarian lectures on pus, death, and infected scrotums. While handling the animals, students "could be chomped, mauled, or even killed by an animal. Even the smallest nick could produce a surly infection." Animals are respected for what they are, and their behavior is shaped by operant conditioning. The graduates of this unique program find work in Hollywood, zoos, and the military. Sutherland does not gloss over past mistakes as she explains in detail the demanding EATM course work and charts the program's evolution into an outstanding source for top exotic animal trainers. Readers will acquire new and enhanced respect for a little-studied profession. Pamela Crossland
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

"The Water is Wide"
Browse more New York Times bestsellers in Biographies & Memoirs.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (June 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670037680
  • ASIN: B000NNX1XC
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,237,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I left my career as a newspaper features writer behind in 2001 to write the first of my three books, "Cookoff: Recipe Fever in America". For a year I crisscrossed the country interviewing chili heads, cowboys, state fair cooking champs, and a few cheats. Next I headed to Moorpark Community College in southern California, where the top school for exotic animal trainers can be found, for "Kicked Bitten and Scratched".

My book chronicles the year I shadowed students through this improbable, magical, grueling program. I met my first binturong. I went on walks with the baboons, the cougars and the wolf. All of this understandably went to my head, which became apparent for all when I wrote a column for the New York Times on how I improved my marriage by using animal training techniques I had learned at the school. That insane outburst earned me a movie deal (Lionsgate-Summit) and the contract for my third book, "What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love and Marriage".

Along the way, I've written for magazines and newspapers as well as taught journalism at Boston University. Currently I write the Bibliophiles column for the Boston Globe's Sunday Books section and am at work on another book project. This one will be about shelter dogs, two of which, Penny Jane and Walter Joe, share my home office in Boston. If you don't find me at my desk it's probably because my two assistants below, Walter Joe and Penny Jane have convinced me it's time for a walk.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Hibben Clark on June 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I've often puzzled over those prodigy animals who pirouette on cue, or leap out of the water with a human on their nose. How'd they learn that?

This book was a guided tour through the fascinating world of animal training, at the school you attend if you want to train animals to perform in movies, at Sea World, and so on. The school has a "staff" of exotic creatures who do their best to keep the students on their toes. The risk of learning the hard way -- by tooth and claw -- is real and severe. But as the school year progresses, the students gain mastery of a reward-based method that's as applicable to the family dog as it is to the school's resident baboon, cougar, and camel.

The training approach might be summed up by the phrase, "Put that on a cue." When an animal naturally performs a motion -- especially if that motion is part of a larger trick you want to teach -- you reward that motion and give it a command name. So when my dog looks up, I could give him a cue -- "up" -- and a reward; before long, when I say "up," he'll point his nose skyward. Step by step, trainers build complex behaviors, like dolphins leaping in synchrony or a sea lion holding her mouth open for a dental exam.

It's harder than it sounds. The author reports that a number of students can't stomach the rigors of early rising for poop-scooping, book-learning, and pigeon-killing (to feed the carnivores), and wash out of the program. Others lack the patience necessary to teach a rat to perform in the mandatory rat-tricks class. But some human prodigies do rise to the occasion, and absorb the subtle language of wild animals. These are the lucky souls who will spend their lives in that privileged realm that separates most of us from the wild creatures we love.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Daryl L. Hosler II on July 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thouroughly enjoyed reading this book. As a 1997 graduate of the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program the book brought back a lot of memories both good and bad. The author did a very good job at impartially portraying daily life at the school and the types of people that attend the program.

The daily grind of waking up early to clean the zoo, long days of very challenging course work and dealing with your 2nd years lording it over you while having to endure all the of the petty squables in your own class. She also did a good job at showing how the school affects all aspects of your life, in essence you have to give yourself over completely for 2 years and everything else (family, spouses, income,...etc) are all subordinate to EATM.
But on the other hand she captured the wonder and joy of working with the animals and being able to have close personal contact with them. Being able to walk Rosie the baboon or sitting next to her cage and grooming with her made all the other cares and worries go away.
If you are thinking about going into the animal field or just interested in it I highly recommend this book. If you are thinking about applying to EATM then this book is a must read, nothing else will allow you to make an informed decision about attending the program like this book.
Overall for me this book brought back the roller coster of emotions that I felt while attending EATM and a lot of good memories, thanks for the book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Patrick E. Clarke on July 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have been an animal lover since I was a child, and have read numerous books about animals. I can say with certainty that this is one of the best books I've ever read, even when the animals reported on were human beings. Amy Sutherland is a gifted observer and an entertaining writer. She wisely stays focused on life (and death) at the school rather than going off on tangents with additional information about the many animals she writes about. She captured the intensity, dedication and courage needed to complete this remarkable school. And the book has some very interesting surprises, such as the animal who proved to be the most dangerous one.

It was just fascinating to read about how certain animal behaviors in films and on TV that we may take for granted require countless hours of patient positive reinforcement training.

I also admired how the author freely described the fear she experienced in the few animal interactions she was privileged to take part in.

I just regret that Sutherland didn't include an index. She wrote about such a wide variety of animals and people it was sometimes hard to keep track.

Some photos would also have been helpful. But using Google was an easy enough solution for that.

Overall, this book was a joy to read!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Douglas B. Moran on November 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is not the book I expected, nor was it a book that I found interesting. Notice that I came to this book with expectations and interests very different than those of the previous reviewers, thereby accounting for the difference in our ratings.

From the title's "Life and Lessons", I expected it to be in the genre of describing a "technology" (animal training) and its practitioners (in this case students) and the interaction of the two. However, this book is in the form of a chronology - the author followed a group of students through their first year. First, their activities are predominantly scut work (see other reviews). Involvement in training comes in the second year, so what is presented are their aspirations and positioning for assignments to particular species. Second, the book is a series of incidents involving the students and/or staff with the animals not involved or peripheral to the story. I found this most unsatisfying: The description of the students were brief, typically serving to do little more than provide a physical description and a scant background of how they came to the school. There is little attempt to weave these incidents together.

There is too much that is specific to this particular school (such as how to minimize the number of demerits for being late) or this type of school (politicking by students to be assigned "desirable" animals the next year).

The author mentions that critical aspects of training animals are knowing their capabilities and proclivities, and being able to "read" them (eg, to spot impending trouble). I expected a fair amount of this, and especially compare-and-contrast different species or even individuals within a species.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews