Among wildlife conservationist Hope Ryden's observations of what she considers "maligned" and endangered animals:

Coyotes: Evidence of an "extended family." "Uncle and aunt" coyotes, for example, will babysit a den of pups. Noted while observing the eating habits of coyotes in the National Elk Refuge, Wyoming. Contrary to the idea that coyotes prey on helpless sheep and cattle, their diet, she says, consists mainly of rodents and carrion.

Bobcats: Acute hearing sense. After Ryden left a road-killed rabbit along a path in California, a bobcat appeared and started feeding, only to stop suddenly in alarm and dash away. Ryden saw and heard nothing. Ten minutes later, a hiker passed through.

Wild mustangs: The descendants of the mounts of the conquistadors often have, like Arabians, one less vertebra than other horses. Ryden speculates that mustangs' long and full tails, which at times brush the ground, are evolution's camouflage for a short back.

Beavers: When ice begins to form, they may break it up from underneath by bumping it with their noses. Ryden says they also break it off with their hands and even stand on top and jump on it to keep a channel open as long as possible.