4th Grade and Up
Teddy was all set for a campout at his friend Sage’s family ranch—but then Sage gets terrible news: The skull of a rare dinosaur that was being excavated on his property has mysteriously vanished overnight in the middle of a rainstorm, even though it weighed 500 pounds. Not a single footprint has been left behind. Since the dinosaur was top secret, the police don’t believe anyone outside the dig could have stolen it.
A T-rex skull can sell for millions of dollars, and everyone is a suspect—including J.J. McCracken, the owner of FunJungle.
Meanwhile, Teddy’s old foes, the Barksdale twins, have gotten into trouble with an illegally purchased anaconda, and Teddy’s girlfriend Summer wants to find out who’s behind the local trade in black market reptiles. The two cases will drag Teddy into more danger and chaos than ever before, in this mystery that’s stranger than fiction.
You know a story is going to be great when the first sentence in the first chapter is, “All the trouble with the tyrannosaur started the same day Xavier Gonzalez and I helped apprehend the Zebra Spanker.” Now there’s a sentence that grabs your attention.
The thing I like most about the FunJungle series is that not only are they entertaining and full of action-packed scenarios, they also have strong statements towards environmental and animal rights. This book in particular shares information about the illegal exotic animal trade as well as illegal fossil poachers.
Animal trafficking is an enormous problem. By many estimates it is the second biggest criminal enterprise on Earth after the drug trade. Reptiles aren’t the only victims of illegal trafficking but also birds, tropical fish and even primates.
The sad truth is that there really are people stupid enough to illegally buy an anaconda. I don’t understand why anyone would want a nonlethal snake as a pet and I really don’t understand why anyone would want a snake that could easily kill them as a pet. From what I can tell, some people are just too stupid to understand when their life is in danger.
Bottomline, if you’re going to get a pet, any kind of pet, research how big the animal will get and what you’ll need to do to take care of it.
Even though I was more invested in the illegal animal trafficking side of the story, I still enjoyed the dinosaur mystery. I was surprised to learn that no one has ever found a complete skeleton of any dinosaur, but when you think about it, it makes sense that after millions of years for pieces to get lost or destroyed. And dinosaur aren’t exactly easy to find, especially if you don’t know the different between a dinosaur bone and a regular rock.
This weeks’ Weird but True Facts about Snake Venom and Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex
Venom from the Brazilian Pit Viper was used to create a drug to treat high blood pressure.
A paleontologist stranded in a field by a flat tire found the fossil remains of “Sue”, the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever discovered.