Philippines Part One Deadly 60


Philippines Part One

Wildlife series. Steve goes nose-to-nose with a living dinosaur and meets an arachnid with legs four times longer than its body in the Philippines.


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Transcript


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My name's Steven Backshall...

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..and this is my search for the Deadly 60.

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Amazing!

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It's not just animals that are deadly to me

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but that are deadly in their own world.

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My crew and I are travelling the planet

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and you're coming with me every step of the way!

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Argh!

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This time on Deadly 60, we're in the Philippines.

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The Philippines is an archipelago,

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that is a nation made up of thousands of islands.

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And it's absolute paradise for deadly animals.

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The Philippines is located in southeast Asia

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in the western Pacific Ocean.

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It's got a little bit of everything -

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sweaty jungles to paradise coastlands to spangly, clear oceans.

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And every one of these habitats has contenders for my lethal list.

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First up, the crew and I are heading to one of these idyllic islands.

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This place is paradise!

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But these clear waters and white sands

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hide a prehistoric-looking, cold-blooded ninja.

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That animal is a water monitor lizard.

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Close relative of the komodo dragon

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and one of the largest lizards in the world.

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Theses fearsome predators eat anything -

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from birds' eggs on the land to fish in the sea.

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When it comes to tracking down a meal,

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they'll go to extreme lengths,

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with the strength and skills to swim, climb and run.

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It's always difficult to get close to monitor lizards out in the wild

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because they're naturally cautious and frightened of people.

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They are, fantastic opportunists and they'll take any chance that comes.

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So, some monitors have learnt to live with people

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and scavenge off what they leave.

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So, just down here is a picnic area

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where people leave behind scraps.

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I'm hoping there might be some there.

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Everyone keep your eyes peeled and give me a shout if you see anything.

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Water monitors need to be approached with care

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because they are potentially dangerous animals.

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Just there!

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This is a water monitor.

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And he's very bold indeed.

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Nothing is safe from the water monitors on this island.

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They are enormous and adults can grow up to three metres.

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The weapons monitor lizard possesses are SO vicious!

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The tail, which is facing Johnny at the moment,

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is one of the first things it uses in defence.

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It lashes out with that tail

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to drive away anything that could be a potential threat.

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As he's moving through the leaves, tongue's lashing out ahead of him.

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You see it's a forked tongue, just like a snake's.

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And what happens is...

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..each side of that tongue

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is drawing in scent molecules into his mouth.

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And you can tell from which side

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has the stronger taste, the stronger smell,

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which direction to head towards in search of food.

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I'm going to sit very, very still now.

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Nose to nose...

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..with a living dinosaur.

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You can see him lick his lips there.

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I hope that's not because he thinks I might be dinner.

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This is a bit closer than I would really be comfortable with.

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Inside that mouth is one long line of teeth

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that are, honestly, razor-sharp.

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Backwards-curving and covered with...

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He's tasting my face!

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He just stuck his tongue in my eye!

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OK, this is where I start to get a little bit nervous.

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He can move very, very fast.

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From there, he could have my arm in his mouth in a second.

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Look at him tasting my hand!

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As I was saying, the mouth has razor-sharp teeth

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which are covered in bacteria.

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And those bacteria, once they actually get into a wound,

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once he cuts you open, will almost instantly start to become infected.

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Any bite from a monitor lizard is very, very serious indeed.

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Wow! He is utterly, utterly beautiful.

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There's another one!

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There's another one coming in from the side over there.

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It's almost like I've been transformed back

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into The Land That Time Forgot, surrounded by dinosaurs.

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'They may look prehistoric,

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'but there's nothing outdated about them.

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'I want to show you how adaptable they are when it comes to hunting.'

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There are monitors absolutely everywhere.

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There must be seven or eight of them, all of them good-sized,

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within about 10-15m of us, off in these trees.

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I'll see if I can show you some of their tricks

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using a yummy bit of fish head.

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'The first attribute I want to show you is their climbing ability.'

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OK.

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So that's our fish in place.

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Let's see if our monitor will follow it up the tree.

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OK.

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Look at that!

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They're like an all-terrain vehicle,

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just scampering up the tree in search of food.

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Yes!

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And he's got it.

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He may be a top-notch climber but he lands like a dropped pudding.

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Ha! That is awe-inspiring!

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There he goes again.

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Even at this size,

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he has no problem holding his body weight

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on a tree using those big, curved talons.

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Wow!

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OK, we've shown you them climbing and feeding.

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The last thing that I want to try and show you,

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this is a real long shot,

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is one of these guys actually swimming in the sea.

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Let's see if I can draw one down to the beach.

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They've got interest.

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Yes, I am actually taking a monitor for a walk.

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Well, a run, actually.

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We're going to the beach!

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Unlike most reptiles that can only run in short bursts,

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monitors can keep their foot on the gas

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and actually run down their prey.

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# Most of all

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# I like the way you move... #

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There he goes.

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That is why he's called a water monitor lizard.

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Look at that - swimming using that broad tail,

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making him move through the water beautifully.

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And even underwater, the tongue is still flicking out.

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He can still taste even there.

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The water monitor - sprinting, swimming, climbing, clambering -

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the ultimate predator on the Deadly 60.

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Water monitor lizards - deadly!

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I'm really excited about our next destination.

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We're heading in there.

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I have no real idea what live inside that cave

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but I'm very excited to find out.

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'We're exploring this cave system

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'on the mysterious river that runs through it,

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'paddling into the gloom.'

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This is seriously spooky, heading into the darkness.

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From here on in, the river flows into total darkness.

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Beyond here has never, ever seen sunlight.

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So, in order to see the animals that are living here

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we're relying on torchlight.

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The animals that survive in caves

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are highly adapted to the environment and, as a consequence,

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they tend to look very bizarre.

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One group of mammals

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that may spend much of their lives in caves are bats.

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This place is absolutely alive with bats...

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..all hanging from the ceiling, usually just by one tiny toe.

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But I want to find something even more creepy.

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I'm going to try and go ashore and see if I can see anything.

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OK.

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Cave crickets...

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..everywhere.

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These crickets are the favourite food of some horrible cave hunters.

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This cave floor is absolutely alive with tarantulas.

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I've never seen so many in my entire life.

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It's an arachnophobic's nightmare.

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Where's he gone?

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Oh, no!

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He's gone into a little hole.

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There he goes, out into the open.

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There he is.

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Go on, there you go.

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Just backing up... Oh! He's just struck the stick.

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It means it bit it with its fangs.

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And he's just...

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Oh! And again!

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That was quite an aggressive strike.

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If that had been my hand, that would have really hurt.

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Cor!

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'Well, that one got away, but...'

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It doesn't matter, though, there are loads of them around here.

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Oh, dear me!

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Eugh! Cor, they're quick.

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HE CHUCKLES

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It might look like I'm being a right jessie,

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but it wouldn't be ideal to get bitten right deep here in the cave.

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Oh, crikey! Ah!

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Just not having any luck today.

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There he goes.

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Got him.

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More by accident than by design, it has to be said.

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This is actually one of the smallest of the tarantulas

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that we've seen scurrying around here,

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but I couldn't leave without getting a closer look at him.

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I mean, I think I must have seen 30 in this one tiny area.

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'It's hardly surprising when you see how many crickets are around,

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'but what I really want to show you is how they hunt in the dark.'

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The legs and the back of the body

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are all covered with thousands of fine hairs

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and those hairs are really sensitive.

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They can pick up everything from chemical scents in the air

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to the movement of the air to vibrations along the ground.

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They're a great way for this spider to find out what's going on

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and also what it needs to hunt.

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OK, let me just show you how those hairs work.

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Any second now.

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Well, it normally works. It's just obviously not working today.

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Normally, he'd run off, but I think he likes me.

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Oooh! Ha-ha!

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OK, I wasn't intending him to run down the back of my neck!

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But that shows you how the hairs work.

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'The tarantula is a superb spider assassin,

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'but with so many crickets around, there is a chance

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'we might find the ultimate cave predator.'

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One of the most specialised cave-hunting creatures

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you'll see anywhere in the world is this...

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..the whip-spider.

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Look at that.

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Really creepy looking monsters, aren't they?

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One of the most lethal hunters you'll ever see in a cave system.

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Look at those front legs swinging around in the air -

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just tapping around, sensing its environment,

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building up a picture of what's around it.

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The whip-spider is also called a tail-less whip scorpion.

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It's actually not a spider or a scorpion,

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but it's still a member of the arachnid group.

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The front legs of the whip-spider are not used for walking,

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but are adapted to sensing its surroundings.

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These bizarre legs can be three times longer than the other legs.

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But the main weapons are those claws

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it's got clasped to the front of its head.

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They're armed with vicious barbs

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and when it gets close to an insect,

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those open out, grab a hold of it,

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draw it in to its mashing mouth parts it has here at the front.

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The whip-spider feeds

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by using those trap-like pincers to snare an insect

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and munching mouth parts to chew it up into goo.

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Eugh!

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The whip-spider is one of the most perfectly adapted creatures

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you'll ever see for cave environments -

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perfectly adapted to life hunting in the dark.

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'Whip-spider is on the Deadly 60.'

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'No sooner had we paddled out of the cave into open air,

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'then the sun set and it was dark again!'

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These forests are very exciting for wildlife during the day,

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but at night-time, they get even better,

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and this time, shortly after dusk,

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is almost like rush hour for wildlife.

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It's just the time when everything is waking up

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and thinking about going out and finding food.

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There's one particular deadly animal

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that I'm, well, really hoping we'll find.

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The animal we're searching for is a pangolin.

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Pangolins are found all over Africa and Asia.

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This crazy-looking, armoured critter might look small,

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but it has unimaginable strength for its size.

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Pangolins are ant and termite terminators

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and have the ideal tools for devouring them.

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Their strength and sharp claws mean they easily rip open termite mounds

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and they have a tongue longer than their own body.

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One pangolin can eat more than 70 million termites in one year.

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OK, so this is a termite mound.

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The termites create it using chewed-up mud

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and their own saliva and it sets rock hard.

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I'm going to have a go at trying to get into this.

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This is the kind of thing that the pangolin will break into with ease.

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I've got my metal snake hook here. Let's see how I do.

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This thing is like an absolute fortress.

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I'll be here all night before I get to any termites,

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and that is using a metal, human-made snake hook,

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but our pangolin scrapes it open in a matter of minutes.

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That's awesome!

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'At night, the pangolins are hunting,

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'so this is the best chance we have to see them.'

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Normally, wildlife watching at night is about moving carefully, slowly,

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but at the moment, we're thundering through the undergrowth,

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because the guy in front of me, who's our guide,

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has just had a shout from one of his friends

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that the exact animal we're looking for is somewhere off

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in this undergrowth here.

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We're doing our best to try and keep up with it.

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Oh, wow! There it is.

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Wow!

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This is a pangolin.

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It's a very unusual creature indeed.

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At the moment, it's gone into its defensive position,

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which is designed to protect its soft underbelly,

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using these tough scales on the outside.

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The thick tail of the pangolin is wrapped right around the head,

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which is protected by all of this armour.

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The armour also works to protect it from its prey.

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It feeds on ants and termites which have vicious bites and stings,

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and all of this armour helps protect it from them.

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At the moment, obviously he's quite concerned

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that we might be a predator about to tuck into him,

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so what we need to do is to back off, give him some space,

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and give him some time and, hopefully, he'll unfurl

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and wander off in search of a meal

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and then we'll see why this is such an astounding creature.

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So we're just going to sit still here for a while

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and just listen, see if we can hear him unfurling.

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RUSTLING

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Sounds like he's getting up.

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He's just unfurled

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and looks like he's sussing out what's going on around him

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before he moves on.

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I've got to say that is a seriously crazy-looking creature.

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The pangolin's primary sense is their smell.

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They can scent ants and termites from hundreds of metres away

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and now, I think, he's just sussing out

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what's going on with me and the camera crew,

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just raising his nose, snuffling the air,

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just figuring out what we are.

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Just see now him lifting his front leg -

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those curved claws are what he'll use

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to tear his way into termite mounds and ant hills.

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He can dig through ground that is almost as hard as concrete

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using those.

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Ooh, it looks like he's going to climb. He's going up the tree.

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Pangolins are fantastic climbers

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and it's another way they have of escaping danger

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and also of going looking for ants in the treetops.

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Look how he clasps the tree with his claws as he climbs!

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He shot up there.

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Clasp them that tightly,

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no predator's going to be able to drag him off.

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The pangolin -

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the fast-climbing, ant-lapping, excavating, armour-plated machine

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has got to go on the Deadly 60.

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The Philippines are well known got their tropical mangrove forests

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that connect the land to the sea

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and are home to a whole host of unusual and colourful animals.

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Mangrove trees are unique in that they are the only trees

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that can survive in the salty seawater.

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They're the perfect cover for more dazzling animals

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and I have one in mind, but it'll take some finding.

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The mangroves are very much slave to the tides.

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When it's high tide and the water's in like now,

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the best way of getting around is in a boat.

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You don't have to slog through all the mud and can cover more distance.

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Let's see what we can find.

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'After a full day of scanning the foliage,

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'we found our prize.

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'My stunning snake is hanging out way up in the branches.

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'But how am I going to get it down?

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'It's going to take a little nerve to show him to you.'

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I'm just going to get up there and see if I can grab it.

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The problem is, I just need one more hand.

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Come on then, little fella. Oh-h!

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OK.

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Well, that was one of the hardest snake catches I've ever had,

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but it was well worth it, cos this is the master of the mangroves -

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the mangrove cat snake.

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The reason this is called a cat snake is the eyes.

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It's a dark eye with a slit-shaped pupil,

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very much like a cat's eye.

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It is utterly, utterly gorgeous -

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I think one of the prettiest snakes on the planet.

0:25:380:25:41

Look at those bright, bright lurid colours -

0:25:410:25:43

black against bright, bright yellow.

0:25:430:25:45

It seems crazy that a snake like this could be camouflaged

0:25:450:25:48

in this environment,

0:25:480:25:51

but if Johnny gets a shot of these palms here -

0:25:510:25:53

as the light comes down through those,

0:25:530:25:56

you get black slats of shadow

0:25:560:25:59

in-between yellow slats of these, illuminated by the sun,

0:25:590:26:03

and actually, this snake blends in beautifully.

0:26:030:26:07

You can see, wrapped around my arm there,

0:26:070:26:10

and as it was up in the tree, curled around that branch,

0:26:100:26:13

that this snake is absolutely brilliant at holding itself

0:26:130:26:17

in the trees and the branches and the twigs.

0:26:170:26:19

That's where it does its hunting.

0:26:190:26:21

They'll feed on small birds and lizards.

0:26:210:26:24

All kinds of wonderful creatures are at the mercy

0:26:240:26:28

of this awesome little snake.

0:26:280:26:29

The venom of the mangrove cat snake isn't particularly strong.

0:26:290:26:33

It's not harmful to humans,

0:26:330:26:35

but it does work very, very fast on its prey.

0:26:350:26:38

The mangrove cat snake is not only pretty much

0:26:380:26:41

my favourite snake in the whole world,

0:26:410:26:44

but it is also the most colourful killer of the mangroves.

0:26:440:26:48

It can climb and it can also swim.

0:26:480:26:50

I have to put the mangrove cat snake onto the Deadly 60.

0:26:500:26:53

Next time on Deadly 60.

0:27:160:27:19

They rock.

0:27:250:27:27

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:27:430:27:46

Steve is in the Philippines for more deadly encounters. He goes nose-to-nose with a living dinosaur, meets an arachnid with legs four times longer than its body and has a night-time jungle encounter with a predator who has more armour than Iron Man.


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