Brazil Deadly 60


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Transcript


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My name's Steve Backshall.

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People call me Steve.

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I'm on a mission to find the Deadly 60.

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That's 60 deadly creatures from around the world.

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And you're coming with me every step of the way.

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Ow!

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Whoa!

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We're in one of my favourite countries in the world, Brazil.

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It's about here.

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This is the Amazon rainforest.

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It's by far the biggest jungle in the world,

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and I think the most spectacular.

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Twice the size of Europe

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and home to more species of animal than anywhere else on the planet,

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the Amazon is wildlife central.

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I'm going to be exploring it with my trusty team -

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director James,

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cameraman Mark,

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on sound, Rich,

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researcher Charlie,

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and Dudu, our expert guide.

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The biggest rainforest on the planet,

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this is home to some living giants.

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Huge snakes,

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enormous butterflies,

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even giant otters as long as I am tall.

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Spiders are the world's finest insect killers,

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but there are giant spiders here that can eat much larger animals.

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They're mostly nocturnal, which means they're active at night,

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so get your scaredy-cushions ready for a night-time adventure

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through the biggest jungle on earth.

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And as the sun sets, Dudu finds our first giant creepy-crawly.

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Ooh, well spotted, Dudu.

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If you were going to try and design a creature

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that was really terrifying-looking and perfect for hunting at night,

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you'd probably come up with one of these.

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This is a whip spider.

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The front legs are super, super long.

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They become like antennae,

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tapping around in front of the whip spider,

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feeling his way and also feeling out for prey.

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See if I can get it onto my hand.

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See, they're very canny.

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Look at that! Those front legs just tapping around all over the place.

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-HE CHUCKLES

-Not havin' any of it!

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-Uh!

-Got him?

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There he is. Uh!

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Wahey!

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Look at that.

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Claws spread out, just waiting to give something a nasty pinch.

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Are you sure he's harmless?

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They're not venomous.

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That's not the same thing.

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Well, I would imagine that those barbed claws

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could give you a nasty pinch.

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Well, that's all right, then.

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But if you were a cricket or another insect

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that was unlucky enough to be wandering around out here,

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then you would be mincemeat.

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These things are phenomenal predators.

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Ooh!

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OK. Let's send him back.

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There are very few creatures on our list

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that look as scary as the whip spider.

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But what I'm holding out for is the largest tree spider on earth.

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It's the creature of many people's nightmares.

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After searching for many hours, our patience is rewarded.

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Steve!

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Wow! Oh my goodness!

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Great spot, Dudu!

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That's the proper tarantula.

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It's a good size, actually.

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You're more like it.

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-It's flicking hairs at you, Steve.

-Yeah, I know, I saw.

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'I just want to gently guide her down the tree towards us.'

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Whoa! Right, OK.

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I don't know if you could see that from there,

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but that back leg going frantic, rubbing against his abdomen,

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is kicking off very, very fine hairs

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which are designed to get into the mouth and the nose

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and the eyes and irritate anything which is trying to attack him.

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It's a very, very effective deterrent for big spiders like this

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and they actually use it more than they use their bite.

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It's still there. Hasn't gone anywhere.

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Come on, fella.

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Look at that. Can you see that?

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'Ideally, I'd like to get it in the hand,

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'but it's essential that we read the spider's body language.'

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-Go steady, Steve.

-Yeah.

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Almost. Almost.

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Ooh. He just struck at my snake stick.

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That's not a good sign.

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There's several things that you need to read

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when you're trying to handle a wild tarantula,

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as to whether you're going to get bitten or not

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and he's giving me every single one of those bad signs.

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He's flicking hairs, striking at the stick, lifting his front legs up.

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If I try and get this spider into my hand,

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I'm probably going to get bitten.

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BUT spiders around here all have different personalities

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and I'm guessing that we'll find one

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that's much more accommodating than this lassie.

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So we need a spider with a calmer temperament that's even bigger.

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And round here, they get MUCH bigger.

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There are amazing animals everywhere here,

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from baby caimans to glorious butterflies.

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Now, THAT is a big bush cricket.

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The antennae go on forever!

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Look at them, just tapping away on my hand.

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Feeling me as he's wandering around.

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Look at those. That is crazy.

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'This really is a forest packed with monsters.'

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But after all that searching, we still didn't find our spider,

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so we're going to have another look in the morning.

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For now, it's back to our hammocks

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and dreams of spiders.

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First light and an early start to our mission.

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I'm already up, raring to go,

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but the crew are going to need a little bit more encouragement.

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Come on, you lot, we've got a monster spider to find!

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Tarantulas do most of their hunting in the security

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of specially dug burrows.

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The bigger the entrance, the bigger the spider.

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I've never seen a burrow this big before.

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HE GASPS

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Oh, my life!

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It's something really big.

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Here it comes.

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Absolutely dripping sweat here.

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Look at the size of those fangs!

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I've never seen anything this big before

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and I've been catching tarantulas for well over a decade.

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This is the largest tarantula in the world -

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the Goliath bird-eating spider.

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They're remarkably canny and cautious.

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Getting her our into the open takes infinite patience and care.

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Every member of the crew holds their breath.

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Once she's out,

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the machete provides a safe block

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to keep her from disappearing into her burrow.

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Well done, mate.

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The burrow can be many metres deep.

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If she ran now, we'd have to wait hours for another chance.

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I'm going to be very gentle with her,

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because this is a very old and very special spider.

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This is definitely a female

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and the females of this particular spider

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can get to be 25, even 30 years old.

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So she's ancient.

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Come on, old girl. There you are.

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Now we can get a sense of the size of you.

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This spider's venom wouldn't kill me,

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but you really don't want to get bitten by those gigantic fangs.

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She does, however, have another form of defence

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that I've got to be really careful of.

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That kicking her leg against her abdomen,

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sending hairs up into the air...

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..if those get into your eyes or nose, the back of your throat,

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it can be very irritating and itchy

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and it's actually the spider's primary method

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of getting rid of an attacker,

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despite the fact that it has gigantic fangs.

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She's got fangs that are about as long as a cheetah's claws

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and a good deal sharper.

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She could give me a really, really nasty bite,

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so I just want to be ever so careful.

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This is the Goliath bird-eating spider.

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Goliath was a giant in the Bible

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and this is a giant among spiders.

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Now, although they certainly are capable of it,

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birds don't actually form a large part of their diet.

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Most of what they'll eat

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are rats and mice,

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lizards and crickets, invertebrates.

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But really they will take almost anything

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that's unlucky enough to wander past their burrow.

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Look at the size of her!

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And I can feel those hairs that she kicked up into the air

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in the back of my throat and I want to cough,

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but it's not really a good time to cough

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with THAT on your hands.

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As she relaxes, she decides to go for a wander,

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and though it's still a little nervy,

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I think I've earned this spider's trust.

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They really are very, very impressive.

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Look at that, as she comes over the top of my finger.

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It's something that never ceases to amaze me.

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This is an invertebrate - this animal doesn't have a backbone.

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It's brain is absolutely tiny,

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but every single one of these spiders has their own personality.

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Some of them are incredibly easy to handle.

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Others will bite almost instantly.

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Some of them will wander over your hand quite happily.

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Others of them, you really think that, you know, it's quite edgy,

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and any second, they could sink their fangs into you.

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This one here

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is kind of in the middle.

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She's been kicking hairs quite frantically

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and I don't know...

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I think I'm probably quite close to getting a bite,

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which is why I'm sweating so much.

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The Goliath bird-eating spider, one of the true giants of the Amazon

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and an absolute cert for the Deadly 60.

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The biggest spider in the world.

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A monster that doesn't only eat

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crickets and cockroaches

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but mice, frogs, lizards,

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and, yes, even birds.

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The Goliath bird-eating spider.

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This is a particularly spectacular piece of forest

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with loads of cliff faces, waterfalls...

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and caves. And the caves are the whole reason that we've come here.

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We're heading into these deep, dark caves

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because we're hoping to find a creature whose very name

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is enough to send a shiver down your spine.

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The vampire bat.

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During the day, these true vampires hide from the light

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in dark places like this, huddled together,

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waiting for the night, when they're unleashed to hunt.

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Caves like this one are full of harmful airborne diseases,

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which explains why we're wearing these masks.

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There's an awful lot of life in here.

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Whip spider here.

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Our first bat hangs alone on the cave wall.

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This is a long-nosed bat.

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Caves like this are a perfect place

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for bats to spend the day.

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The temperature in here is completely constant,

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they're quite safe from predators,

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but this one is just a bit cute.

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Not a vampire.

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But where there's one bat, there's sure to be many more.

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Our next animal encounter is one you might not expect in a cave.

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Oh! Crab.

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Look at that.

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Ah! Come back.

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Really trying to get a piece of me.

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This is just a freshwater crab

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that's been swept or moved into the cave.

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It's not actually a specialist cave crab.

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He'd give me quite a nasty pinch, actually.

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I don't want to seem a complete wuss,

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but quite possibly draw blood

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and the animal we're looking for in here does more than enough of that.

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This is undoubtedly the most famous bat in the world.

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This is the only one that will actually suck the blood of mammals.

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However, how it does it is so grotesque that I can understand

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all the amazing vampire myths.

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This creature, at night time, will fly out, through the forests

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and try and find a warm-blooded animal that's sleeping.

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Vampire bats are found through much of Latin America

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and are universally feared and hated

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and this unfortunate seal is about to find out why.

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It'll land nearby, crawl over on its elbows,

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which in itself is one of the most macabre things you've ever seen,

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and then actually shave away a patch of fur or hair

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of the animal it's going to feed on.

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It then uses those incredible long teeth,

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which are absolutely, disproportionately huge.

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It then takes a bite...

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SEAL SQUEALS

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..and starts to lap up the blood from their host animal.

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'As we continue deeper into the cave on our vampire search,

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'it's worth noting that Rich, our sound man,

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-'is scared of the dark...'

-I don't want to go up there.

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'..hates small spaces and, like so many people, is terrified of bats.

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'This place is his living nightmare.'

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-Is there enough room for all of us up there?

-No.

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Watch out, Rich!

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Whoa! Woo-hoo!

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It's happened to you again, mate.

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They know you're scared of them, that's why.

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They can smell your fear.

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'So while Rich shakes in terror,

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'we might have accidentally found our first vampire bat.

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'And a few hundred metres down the cave,

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'we find signs that they're here in huge numbers.'

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Look at this.

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Can you see loads of hopping, jumping insects?

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That's because all this brown ground is droppings

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from the bats, which are living up there.

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'But are they the infamous vampire bat

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'that we've come here to look for?'

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Going to see if I can get one down and get you a closer look at one.

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Got that net for me, Dudu?

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On the wing, they're impossible to tell apart.

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I need to catch one.

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Well, he's spooky, but he's not our vampire.

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This is actually a leaf-nosed bat. Just check out those teeth!

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You wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of a bite

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from one of these bad boys.

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We keep on looking, but have no luck.

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So it's unfinished business as far as the vampire bat is concerned.

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Feels nice to be outside after that horror.

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We're coming to the end of our time in the Amazon rainforest.

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Give me a hand to get up, please.

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And so far, we've found 59 of our 60 animals.

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I'm leaving the last spot on the list open to chance.

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As dusk falls, we hear quacking tree frogs calling.

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There's one quacking right in here.

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One other group of Amazonian frog could easily make our list.

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They have the world's strongest natural poisons.

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These beautiful, jewelled frogs

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secrete the toxins on their skins to protect themselves.

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As you get close, they stop singing.

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The poison dart frogs never made an appearance.

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The Deadly 60 luck, though, is not done yet.

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Oh, my goodness! That's amazing!

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We so nearly walked straight past, but a closer look revealed

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one of the world's most feared, most famous, most notorious insects.

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Army ants.

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Look at that.

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Oh, my goodness! And they're carrying their larvae, look!

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-Army ants.

-You got to get out of there. They will eat you alive.

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Legend has it that army ants can strip a human to the bone

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in less than an hour.

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This busy trail in front of me

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is one of the genuine wonders of the rainforest.

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These are army ants, and absolutely nothing gets in their way.

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At the moment, it looks like every single one of them

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is carrying a little grain of rice,

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but the extraordinary, mind-blowing thing about this is that, actually,

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what they're carrying are basically their babies.

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Every single one of those little white lumps is an ant larva.

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That is just remarkable.

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Army ants are always on the move.

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They actually construct bivouacs

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made of their own bodies, clinging together using their legs.

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When they transport themselves, they need to transport their young too,

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and that's what's going on in front of me on now.

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I just love the way that everyone here has a job.

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You have this continuously running river of workers

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and then standing there, like doormen outside a nightclub,

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you've got the huge, great, big, burly soldiers

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just standing there with their jaws agape,

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just waiting for someone to cause trouble.

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These are one of the deadliest animals in these forests.

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They will take anything they can overpower, absolutely anything,

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from the smallest insect up to lizards, small mammals, even birds.

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And they can just wipe an area of forest clean,

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so they have to continually keep on the move

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to find a part of forest that has anything to feed them.

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And, in fact, if a column of army ants goes into a village round here,

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the villagers just leave.

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They leave for a couple of days, let the ants go through

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the walls, the roofs, the ceilings,

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taking out all of the scorpions, the centipedes, the snakes

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and eating them and leaving their village clean.

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THESE guys are absolute machines.

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This place, all the ants have been walking up to here

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in a file no more than three of four ants wide

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and they're starting to cluster together

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and they're actually starting to build their bivouac in front of me.

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This is one of the spectacles of the natural world.

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The bivouac is made entirely of ants.

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Millions of legs with special hooks link together

0:24:250:24:27

to make paths, bridges and even the lifts within the nest.

0:24:270:24:31

The bivouac functions like one enormous, living city

0:24:340:24:38

with one common goal -

0:24:380:24:40

providing shelter for hundreds of thousands of little ant cocoons.

0:24:400:24:44

Their future.

0:24:440:24:45

The last time I tried to film army ants,

0:24:510:24:54

I was sat about a metre away from the colony and I was eaten alive.

0:24:540:24:58

The fact that none of us have been bitten now...

0:24:580:25:01

I've just got bitten!

0:25:010:25:03

You couldn't make it up.

0:25:080:25:09

And cue biting ant.

0:25:130:25:15

Now, what I was going to say is that

0:25:170:25:20

the ants haven't bitten me this time because they're busy moving house.

0:25:200:25:25

If they were feeding, I wouldn't be able to get anywhere near them.

0:25:260:25:30

In terms of being able to take on prey

0:25:320:25:34

that's many, many times their own size

0:25:340:25:37

and being able to eat just about anything, there's probably nothing

0:25:370:25:41

on our list that compares to the army ant.

0:25:410:25:44

They're absolutely unstoppable,

0:25:440:25:46

and I think they're a fitting end to the Deadly 60.

0:25:460:25:48

Alone, an ant has super strength, a painful bite and a venomous sting.

0:25:520:25:57

But an army of them,

0:25:570:25:59

a column of soldiers that can really clean up,

0:25:590:26:02

army ants are unstoppable

0:26:020:26:05

and undoubtedly on the Deadly 60.

0:26:050:26:08

That's it, we've done it.

0:26:090:26:12

60 deadly animals from six continents.

0:26:120:26:15

The adventure of a lifetime

0:26:150:26:18

and some of the most extraordinary creatures in the world.

0:26:180:26:21

Magnificent.

0:26:210:26:23

From tiny ticks to huge hippos,

0:26:230:26:28

from turbo-charged critters to lethal beauties.

0:26:280:26:31

Every one of these animals...

0:26:340:26:36

..deserves its place on my Deadly 60 list.

0:26:380:26:41

Ah!

0:26:440:26:45

Shark! Great white shark!

0:26:450:26:47

But that doesn't mean there aren't more animals out there left to find.

0:26:480:26:52

Aarrr!

0:26:580:26:59

Oh, my life! I don't believe it!

0:27:030:27:07

The redback spider. The alligator snapping turtle.

0:27:170:27:20

The reticulated python.

0:27:200:27:21

Definitely going on my Deadly 60.

0:27:210:27:26

But do you know what?

0:27:260:27:27

We've not even scratched the surface.

0:27:270:27:29

There are so many more wild wonders left to find.

0:27:290:27:32

Join me next time for more deadly animal encounters.

0:27:370:27:41

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:27:490:27:52

E-mail [email protected]

0:27:520:27:55

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