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This is Deadly 360.
The show that pits three of the world's
deadliest predators against their prey,
examining their hunting strategies
and their escape tactics from every angle.
By delving beneath the fur and feathers,
we find out why a hunt succeeds
and why they sometimes fail.
One thing's certain - prey animals are anything but sitting ducks.
heir defensive strategies keep them alive...
..and push predators to the limits.
Prepare for Deadly 360.
This is Deadly 360 mission control, where all of today's action
and analysis takes place.
From here, we have access to some of the most enthralling hunts
that have ever been caught on camera.
I've recreated three of the most exciting and analysed them
from a variety of angles and perspectives in 360-degree style.
The predators we're looking at have to find
and catch food or they just won't make it.
In the wild world, simply managing to survive
is the greatest challenge of all.
I present to you the Arboreal Hunters.
Arboreal means living in the treetops.
It's a dangerous place where animals risk life
and death every time they want a meal.
Up here, one miscalculated leap could be fatal.
And in today's deadly line-up we meet three predators who take
great risks to survive in this environment.
We'll witness the hunting skills of a perfectly tuned
killing machine, the leopard.
And meet the fossa, a mysterious animal from Madagascar.
'And in the forests of Africa,
we'll follow the chimpanzees who use team work to hunt their prey.
Three predators, three different hunting strategies, all deadly.
They look invincible, but there's a continual arms race going on
in nature which ensures that prey animals are always evolving
spectacular ways of taking care of themselves.
Today's defenders are also tree top specialists.
They include the baboon,
an agile tree-dweller with an incredible turn of speed.
And the colobus monkey,
a true master of the tree tops with lightning reactions.
And we investigate the sifaka's aeronautical tactics
that have to be seen to be believed.
Three evaders with three very different escape strategies.
So, I've introduced you to all of our contenders,
now it's time to meet our first deadly duo going head to head.
We start with the fossa, a confident and cunning killer.
And up against it is this.
The sifaka, a graceful lemur with remarkable leaping abilities.
But which animal has the edge in the race for life?
It's time to go Deadly 360.
We join the action just seconds before the final strike.
This is the sifaka in full flight,
taking giant leaps through the canopy.
And hot on its heels is the fossa.
Well, if we freeze the action at this critical moment,
who do the odds favour? The predator or the prey?
Well, as ever, we need to examine this hunt in forensic detail,
and to do that, we have to take it back to the start.
First off, where did this hunt take place?
Well, what you're about to see
happened on the island of Madagascar,
in the forests of the southwest.
This island has many diverse habitats,
from tropical rainforests to strange, spiny trees.
So its inhabitants have to be tough and resourceful to survive here.
And one of these animals is the sifaka.
A member of the lemur family, it uses the forests like a playground.
And the sifaka is the favourite prey of the fossa.
Both of these unusual animals are unique to Madagascar.
The fossa is a tenacious predator,
at home on the ground and in the trees.
So that's the arena for our gladiatorial contest.
What weapons and defences do the two animals doing battle have?
First up, the fossa's claws, perfect tools for climbing trees.
Secondly, agility, constantly changing direction
and springing effortlessly from trees to ground.
And teeth, 32 of them, designed for inflicting serious damage.
All of that makes our predator a pretty scary prospect.
What does our prey have to counter?
Sifaka may look comical leaping on the ground
but when they're in the trees, they're extremely skilful.
With springy hind legs they can jump up to 10 metres in one leap!
And they have tough paws
capable of dealing with some very prickly situations.
So our predator's going to find it pretty difficult
to get anywhere near this prey. Let's see what happens.
It's late afternoon in the forest
and the fossa is on the move in search of dinner.
And it's not the only one who has an appetite.
10 metres up is the sifaka, also getting stuck into dinner.
Trying to get food from these ludicrously prickly plants
is all but impossible.
But the sifaka manage it by having large feet
with broad, flat, tough pads at the end and surprisingly delicate claws.
Even so, you can see how carefully they have to move.
And just metres below, the hungry fossa has spotted the sifaka.
Fossas can move from the ground to the trees with real ease
and now it's spotted a potential meal, it wastes no time
and rockets up the tree with incredible pace.
Just look at that!
It's climbing that vertical tree trunk with no difficulty at all.
The sifaka's long sinuous limbs are perfect for swinging
and leaping through the tree tops.
But the fossa is a completely different shape.
Those short, stocky legs are great for running along the length
of branches more like a squirrel.
And when it needs to descend from the trees tops,
it sprints down headfirst with no fear!
It does this by having manoeuvrable ankles which can turn almost
completely around, and sharp, curved claws
that work like grappling hooks, giving it sensational grip.
Zoologists are a little perplexed about what to do with the fossa.
I mean, I have to say, if I didn't know this was a fossa skull,
I'd think it was that of a medium size cat, like an ocelot, perhaps.
And certainly the arrangement of the teeth is almost identical -
it has those long sharp canines at the front, these carnassials
or cheek teeth which are perfect for grinding through flesh and for bone.
And it also has the ability to kill in the same way
as some of the cats do.
Now, its prey, the lemurs, have much lighter, less bony skulls
than the fossa does and, grim as it sounds,
this animal has the ability to bite through those skulls into the brain.
Let's see if the fossa can put those teeth into action.
Right, back to the hunt, and the fossa is in hot pursuit
and seems to be gaining ground on the sifaka with every bound.
Those leaps are quite incredible -
these animals are 10 metres off the ground,
and at this height, the risks are huge.
That certainly doesn't worry the sifaka though,
because it's an absolute master of moving through the trees.
But let's have a closer look at how it does it.
Normally, lemurs that are superbly adapted to springing,
leaping and swinging up in the tree tops are quite loathe
to come down to the ground because they feel very exposed to predators.
But sifakas have a remarkable method of locomotion
they can use on the ground.
Now, I know it looks quite comical, but it actually
gives us a really good chance to get a closer look at how the sifaka
makes those enormous springs.
As it's leaping, you can get a good look
at those enormous thigh muscles.
I mean, it looks like he's got the muscles of an Olympic athlete.
He's springing along using enormous amounts of explosive
muscular force, but also storing up elastic energy in his tendons.
And when he's leaping in the tree trunks,
he's using the same muscles and tendons to glorious effect.
Let's see if they're enough to keep him away from the fossa.
Right, we're in the last stages of the hunt now,
and the fossa is just metres from the sifaka.
One wrong jump or slip by either of them, and it's the end of the line.
The sifaka has to pull something out of the bag.
But it looks like there's nowhere left to run,
and the fossa is right behind it.
Oh, now that's what I call a leap of faith.
Let's see it in slow motion.
You can see that as the sifaka jumps, it orientates itself towards
the cactus and then uses those long, slender toes
to exploit gaps in between the spines.
The fossa, with its cat-like paws would almost certainly
puncture its digits, crippling itself.
And a lame hunter is as good as dead.
The fossa decides to make a very wise retreat.
The various species of lemur have many different ways of evading
an attack by a fossa -
so much so, in fact, that only one in five hunts result in success.
But the fossa is a tenacious, determined hunter
and he's going to keep on trying until he eventually gets his meal.
But today the fossa's sharp claws, teeth and climbing abilities
were no match against the sifaka's own climbing skills,
tough paws and endless bounce.
Now, onto our next pair of hunters locked in a battle for survival.
This is the leopard, an expert night hunter and tree climber.
Up against it is this - the yellow baboon,
a primate that has some pretty impressive weapons to defend itself.
But which has the edge in the race for life?
It's time to go Deadly 360!
We join the action at a crucial moment.
In the darkness, the baboon is blindly leaping from tree to tree
and right behind him is the leopard.
It looks like the prey is in serious trouble,
but how did it get there and is there any chance it might survive?
To answer these questions we have to wind back to the start of the hunt,
break down all of the action
and find out what's happening that leads up to this strike.
First, let's take a look at where this hunt takes place.
We're travelling to southern Africa
and the landlocked country of Zambia.
This habitat is made up of open woodlands, scrubland and savannah.
There's plenty of food on offer for a troop of yellow baboons.
But where you find baboons, you also find leopard...
..predators who've developed the ability to hunt in the trees
and at night - so not great news for the baboons.
So that's our location,
but what sort of attributes do our predator and prey have
that will give them an advantage in this kind of environment?
Leopards are incredibly agile, making easy work of climbing.
And they have incredible eyesight -
spotting prey at up to 500 metres, no animal is safe.
And, lastly, they have 32 teeth
that can finish off prey that's ten times bigger than them.
I think it's clear we're dealing with another well-equipped predator,
but how is our prey going to try and neutralise the threat?
Well, baboons also have tremendous strength and agility,
making them hard to catch.
And a baboon can produce a bark of ninety decibels, sounding the alarm.
And lastly their teamwork - this tight-knit bunch stick together
to defend themselves against attackers.
We have two very different animals,
but which one's going to come out on top in this hunt?
Let's find out.
It's dusk in the Zambian grasslands
and the baboons have been foraging all day.
When it's light, they are able to see any predators,
but it's getting dark, and the baboons' poor night vision
makes them vulnerable to attacks on the ground,
so they move to the safety of the trees.
This increases their chances of survival against most big cats,
but the leopard is a cunning killer
that's fully adapted to catching its meals up high.
Just a few hundred metres away, a hungry leopard is on the prowl.
Now is the perfect time for this cat to hunt,
because of its night vision.
Like most nocturnal animals, cats have a special layer
at the back of the eye called the tapetum.
This functions almost like a mirror,
reflecting light back through the retina,
giving it another chance to sense it,
which intensifies their night vision.
This is why, when you shine a torch into the eyes of a nocturnal animal,
you get that incredible glowing eye shine.
OK, the leopard has spotted the troop of baboons in the treetops,
but if it wants to get close to them it needs to rely on the moon.
Unlike the leopard, baboons have poor night vision,
so complete darkness will favour the predator.
And at just the right time, a cloud covers the moon
and the leopard makes its move.
The baboons have heard it and call out to each other to warn the group.
Unable to see, their best defence is to stick together
and make as much noise as possible to intimidate the leopard.
Calling on its own, though,
isn't going to deter a predator as powerful as a leopard.
Luckily, though, each individual baboon has its own set of weapons.
Let's get a closer look at those.
Let's get a look at a baboon beneath the flesh and the fur.
First of all, the teeth. They have the same amount as we do
and they're in the same arrangement as well, but the teeth themselves
couldn't be more different, particularly these canine teeth.
Look at those. In an adult male baboon,
those can be as long as the canine teeth of a lion.
And one more thing which is even more clever -
if I just open the jaw, you can see this tooth here -
it's a premolar - has a very special shape to it.
It has actually got hardened enamel on the top and is very flat,
and every time this canine tooth closes over the top of it,
it gets sharpened.
That tooth functions like a grindstone.
This animal effectively has four self-sharpening carving knives
inside its mouth.
I don't know about you, but I'd be scared stiff
if I came face-to-face with one of these.
Let's see how our leopard deals with it.
Right, back to the hunt.
The baboons still can't see their attacker, but can hear him below.
At this point, one wrong move in the treetops and they'd be history.
OK, let's just pause the action at this crucial moment.
There's no doubt that the leopard has the edge
in terms of its nocturnal vision.
But what about hunting in the tree tops?
Surely the baboons are on top there.
Well, the leopard has these things on its side.
First of all, it has retractable claws which give it fantastic grip.
Secondly, its powerful musculature and limbs
allow it to grasp onto the tree and also to make big springing leaps.
Thirdly, one of the most powerful sets of jaws
found in the whole animal kingdom.
Let's find out how it puts these attributes into effect.
OK, this is a leopard skull,
and you can really see how it manages to administer
that unbelievably powerful bite.
This strap of bone that runs across here is the zygomatic arch.
That's where the muscles insert that drive this mandible, or lower jaw.
It has an incredible bite force and it needs it,
because the way it kills its prey is by clenching around
the windpipe here and suffocating them, or clean through the vertebrae
at the back of the neck and breaking the spinal cord.
So our baboons are being tracked by a truly formidable animal.
The hunt has reached a critical point.
Time is running out for the leopard
and its success is still resting on the moon.
But it looks like its chance of a meal is increasing -
the clouds come to the leopard's rescue at just the right moment.
Now it can make its final move.
But in all this commotion, will it catch anything?
One of the baboons got separated from the troop
and the leopard took its opportunity - a lethal pounce.
Despite all of the leopard's astounding abilities,
actually it came down to something as simple as darkness
for him to overcome his prey.
Perhaps during the daytime, the result would have been different.
The baboon's agility, noisy bark, and canine teeth
weren't enough to save it against the leopard's night vision,
crafty claws and powerful jaws.
This is our last deadly duo, locked in a battle for life or death.
This is the chimpanzee, an intelligent pack hunter.
And up against it is this - the colobus monkey.
They're seven times lighter than the chimps,
but not to be underestimated.
But which animal has the edge in the race for survival?
It's time to go 360.
The chimpanzees are on the chase.
The monkeys look like they've got nowhere to go
and will need to use all their agility and speed to get away.
By now you know there's a lot more to a hunt
than just the final strike.
What are the hidden factors that will influence what happens
in the next few seconds?
To find out, we have to wind back to the start and dissect the action.
OK, so where is this all happening?
We're back in Africa, but this time we're in the west,
in the thick tropical rainforests of the Congo.
It's hot and humid, and surviving in these forests is hard work.
So the chimpanzee has had to learn to use tools
and techniques to find food.
They are not vegetarians - chimps have a taste for meat.
They need this protein in their diets in order to fuel
their fast lifestyles in the trees.
And these forests are also home
to the elegant and springy colobus monkey.
Although well adapted to life in the trees,
they'll need to be very nimble to outmanoeuvre the chimps.
So that's the scene set,
let's have a look at some of our predator's attributes.
Well, chimps might have a cute and cuddly image
but they're also extremely intelligent.
Their teamwork allows them to co-ordinate complex hunting parties
in order to catch their prey.
And they have incredibly strong muscles -
essential for climbing in the forest.
This is one deadly primate.
So, those are the weapons our predator will unleash on its target.
But what about the animal in the firing line,
what's it got to protect itself?
Firstly, colobus monkeys have acute hearing -
they're capable of picking up a chimp's movement
30 metres below them. Next, their speed and agility -
the colobus's light frame allows them to hurtle through the trees
and leap up to seven metres,
the length of a double-decker bus!
OK, now we have all the background, let's get the hunt underway.
We drop in on the action following a group of five chimpanzees
as they're out on the move.
The chimps are out foraging,
moving silently along the forest floor in tight formation.
If we look at this from above you can see the group
coming in there from the right.
What are they searching for?
A bit further on in the forest - 30 metres up in the canopy -
are a group of red colobus monkeys.
This is exactly the sort of thing that our chimps are looking to hunt.
But these colobus monkeys are tricky prey to creep up on
because of their sensitive hearing.
They can pick up a greater range of sounds than the chimps,
which may give them the opportunity to flee.
So, the only way the chimps can catch them is by working as a team.
In fact, each chimp takes a specific role in the hunt.
This is the driver - its job is to start the chase.
Then there's the blockers - their job is to stop the monkeys escaping.
And then, most importantly, there's the ambusher -
its job is to catch the prey.
They've spotted the monkeys and the plan goes into action.
Let's go back to our aerial view.
You can see now that the chimps are in a horseshoe formation,
but one is making a direct line at speed straight into the middle
of the colobus monkeys, and this is going to cause instant panic.
With the monkeys scattering, the blockers immediately run ahead
and climb up trees either side to cut off all escape routes.
The next to set off is the ambusher - it runs further ahead.
This is the most experienced chimp.
It's worked out where the colobus will go and lies in wait.
With the trap set, the driver makes its move.
Being the lightest and most agile,
it gets closest to the monkeys to flush them out.
Chimpanzees move through the tree tops
with extraordinary agility for an animal of such muscularity.
How do they manage it? Let's pause it there
and take a closer look.
Chimpanzees are our closest living relatives
and their body shape is startlingly similar to our own,
but with a few important differences that reflect their lifestyle.
So, I weigh about 90 kilograms -
an adult male chimpanzee could be half that.
But, pound for pound, he'd be twice as strong.
And an enormous amount of that strength
is going to be in those arms.
So the arms are proportionally longer than our own.
They're also twice the weight.
He can use this to swing through the trees and also to grip very well and
tear apart potential prey, potential prey like the colobus monkey.
So let's see how this tree-top battle of the primates continues.
Here is the aerial view again.
So you can see to either side
we have the blockers lying in wait,
and at the end is the ambusher.
Now the driver is actually bringing those colobus monkeys
right into the middle of this deadly ambush.
The driver moves in but, as it does,
the monkeys scatter in different directions to cause confusion.
Some of them manage to slip through a gap in the canopy
using their superior speed and agility.
The remaining monkeys now just have one other defence tactic.
They exploit the chimp's only weakness, their greater size.
For a chimp, negotiating the thin branches is risky -
one wrong leap and they risk a fatal fall.
The colobus monkeys, being much lighter, can get right out
to the thinnest branches and up into the very top of the canopy
where the chimps simply cannot follow.
They also have plenty of other escape strategies
and they're all based around the monkey's body shape.
Let's have a closer look. Whilst, with their bulky muscular bodies,
chimpanzees are equally at home on the ground as up in the trees,
The colobus monkey is a true canopy specialist.
Those long, slender limbs with lightweight bones
mean that they can exploit every single area of the tree,
right out to the most slender branches.
They have forward-facing eyes,
which gives them superior binocular vision.
This is great for depth perception,
which is absolutely essential if you're hurtling at great speeds
towards a branch that you absolutely have to catch.
Those long, thin fingers are great for grasping onto tree branches,
and there's no thumb to get in the way.
So, is this wonderfully adapted animal going to stand any chance
against its relative, the chimpanzee?
Time is running out for the chimps.
They've used a lot of energy chasing these monkeys
and they now need to make a kill in order to feed the group.
Now three of the colobus have escaped, they now have to act fast.
The chimps are too heavy to swing from tree to tree,
so they have to come down to the ground and climb back into position.
Back on target, and with just one monkey left,
they funnel it towards the ambusher.
If we pause it there, you can see
it looks like the colobus has used its superior agility
and speed to move away from the chimpanzee at the last moment.
It looks like it's going to escape. But, if we play on,
you can see, actually, by turning back on itself,
it's run straight into a trap.
All of the other chimpanzees are waiting.
And with animals with such superior size, strength and power,
it simply doesn't stand a chance.
The time and energy invested in this hunt has paid off,
and each chimp will benefit from the kill.
The popular image of a chimpanzee munching a banana
couldn't be further from the truth.
Actually, most hunts are opportunistic,
but, even so, they employ a whole range of strategies to succeed.
And though this time round only one colobus monkey was killed,
they can take as many as seven in one hunt.
The colobus monkey's honed hearing, speed and agility
gave the chimps the run-around.
But it was ultimately the chimp's intelligent hunting tactics,
strength and precision moves that got the job done.
There can be few more challenging places to make a living
than up in the tree tops.
After all, this is an environment where any wrong step,
any misjudged leap, could mean death.
Any animal that can hunt up in the tree tops has to be a champion.
That's all we've got time for.
Join us next time, as three more pairs of animals go head-to-head
and we analyse the action Deadly 360 style.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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