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In nature, living long enough to breed is a monumental struggle. Many animals and plants go to extremes to give themselves a chance. Uniquely, three brother cheetahs band together to bring down a huge ostrich. Aerial photography reveals how bottle-nosed dolphins trap fish in a ring of mud, and time-lapse cameras show how the Venus flytrap ensnares insect victims. The strawberry frog carries a tadpole high into a tree and drops it in a water-filled bromeliad. The frog must climb back from the ground every day to feed it. Fledgling chinstrap penguins undertake a heroic and tragic journey through the broken ice to get out to sea. Many can barely swim and the formidable leopard seal lies in wait.
David Attenborough takes a breathtaking journey through the vast and diverse continent of Africa as it has never been seen before. (Part 3: Congo) The very heart of Africa is covered in dense tropical rainforest. The animals that live here find the most ingenious ways to carve out their space in a claustrophobic landscape. Danger lurks in every shadow, but some animals thrive here, from honey-stealing chimps to birds with a lineage as old as the dinosaurs, thundering elephants and kick-boxing frogs. Here in the Congo, no matter how tough the competition, you must stand up and fight for yourself and your patch.
From a primate that's no bigger than a mouse, to a chameleon that can fit on your fingertip, the natural world is full of fantastically small animals. Biologist Patrick Aryee explores the fascinating secrets behind these miniature marvels and shows that they're not the underdogs you might think they are. Super Small Animals follows him as he meets the leading experts on these pint sized superstars, and finds out what makes them some of the most successful on the planet. First up, he reveals the huge benefits that being small can bring. There's the little lemur whose diminutive frame helps it to exploit a unique gap in the eco-system, the tiny hummingbird that uses its size to out-manoeuvre the competition, and the world's smallest seahorse that never has to leave home. He also explores why small animals are proportionally the strongest in the world, and introduces a peanut-sized beetle that can pull over a thousand times its own weight. Next he explores the challenges that animals face when they shrink in size, and the ingenious ways they overcome them. We find out how the smallest armadillo in the world manages to control its temperature in the searing desert sun, and the how the world's smallest fish can survive in nothing more than a puddle, because it never really grows up. Patrick meets a secretive hippo that lives in the dense jungle, and looks like it's been shrunk in the wash, and some of the world's smallest snakes that give birth to enormous babies. He also meets a scientist that studies how really tiny spiders have a surprising trick that enables them to travel an incredible 40 miles per day, using almost no energy. Then there are the animals that refuse to be pigeon holed as small, and manage to punch way above their weight. He puts some astonishing invertebrates to the test, to see how they work together to become much bigger than the sum of their parts and meets a pint-sized predator that takes on some of the largest and most dangerous creatures on the planet, getting hands on to discover how its build helps it to be brave. Finally he uncovers the incredible lengths that deep sea anglerfish go to in order to be big and small at the same time, and has an endearing encounter with a tiny carnivore that manages to be small in just one direction. Whether their size helps them to hunt, hide or survive, all these remarkable animals prove that good things really do come in small packages.
2017 • Nature
With the help of some surprising creatures from around the world, this series sets out to discover how animals take to the air, defying the force all airborne animals must conquer, gravity. Part 2: Masters of the Sky This episode looks at powered flight, revealing why peregrine falcons can top 200 miles an hour, how a hummingbird is a slave to its own rather manic lifestyle and that the albatross's secret to flying for free is its nose. Heavyweight beetles break the rules to find love, a devious sparrow-hawk uses agility to execute a lightning-fast raid on his prey and half a million mother bats dominate the sky above, and below, the ground with a dazzling display of aerial prowess.