Mia Couto is among the most prominent of contemporary Mozambican writers. Yet he has also enjoyed a career as an environmental biologist and ecologist, having expressed much interest in interrogating the border between what is human and not human through his scientific practice. In this essay I locate the nexus of Couto’s literary and ecological careers in his concern with recovering forms of proximity among humans, environments, and other species. Through an analysis of some of Couto’s recently translated novels, I argue that his work reconceives of the relations between humans and animals through the concept of biosemiotics, an approach attuned to languages conveyed semiotically through embodied and skillful engagement with the larger-than-human world. Couto’s work in turn grounds biosemiotics in segments of African life that find their basis in forms of animism, thus implicating the concept in the postcolonial work of cultural recuperation and decolonization.