Beasts in My Belfry

Born in India, Gerald Durrell returned to England when he was three, and five years later, the entire entourage, lead by his intrepid, imperturbable mother, went abroad again, eventually settling in Corfu. From the age of two, he was fascinated by zoology, over the years assembling a large, and not altogether savory, collection of pets, strays, and specimens. As his unofficial zoo grew, so did his family’s discomfort. The solution was to find another, more permanent outlet for his passion. So in 1945 he joined Whipsnadea new concept in open-range animal exhibitsas a student keeper, with Albert the lion, Babs the polar bear, and a baby Père David’s deer among his first charges. In this entertaining history, he recaptures all the passion that permeated those early years, while conveying his insight into and affection for both four- and two-footed creatures. The book is full of larger-than-life animal characters: the bear who sang operatic arias with one paw clasped to his breast, his bosom friend Billy the goat, playful zebras, and a host of equally endearing and memorable critters. This is Durrell at his zoophilic best.

A loving chronicle of jitter-bugging gnus, singing duets with a bear, stealing eggs to feed the Arctic foxes, practicing tiger sniffs . . . Highly entertaining and informative.
The Times

A hilarious record that no Durrell fan will want to miss.
Sunday Telegraph

Durrell manages to convey not only that he loves animals, but that he enjoys life too – and wants you to enjoy it with him.
Daily Mirror

Gerald Durrell founded the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Durrell Wildlife Park on the isle of Jersey in 1959. He is perhaps best remembered for the books based on his life as an animal collector and enthusiast and his immortal My Family and Other Animals trilogy, which has now been adapted into a Masterpiece Theater Series titles, The Durrells in Corfu.