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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My name's Steven Backshall...
..and this is my search for the Deadly 60.
It's not just animals that are deadly to me
but that are deadly in their own world.
My crew and I are travelling the planet
and you're coming with me every step of the way!
This time on Deadly 60, we're in the Philippines.
The Philippines is an archipelago,
that is a nation made up of thousands of islands.
And it's absolute paradise for deadly animals.
The Philippines is located in southeast Asia
in the western Pacific Ocean.
It's got a little bit of everything -
sweaty jungles to paradise coastlands to spangly, clear oceans.
And every one of these habitats has contenders for my lethal list.
First up, the crew and I are heading to one of these idyllic islands.
This place is paradise!
But these clear waters and white sands
hide a prehistoric-looking, cold-blooded ninja.
That animal is a water monitor lizard.
Close relative of the komodo dragon
and one of the largest lizards in the world.
Theses fearsome predators eat anything -
from birds' eggs on the land to fish in the sea.
When it comes to tracking down a meal,
they'll go to extreme lengths,
with the strength and skills to swim, climb and run.
It's always difficult to get close to monitor lizards out in the wild
because they're naturally cautious and frightened of people.
They are, fantastic opportunists and they'll take any chance that comes.
So, some monitors have learnt to live with people
and scavenge off what they leave.
So, just down here is a picnic area
where people leave behind scraps.
I'm hoping there might be some there.
Everyone keep your eyes peeled and give me a shout if you see anything.
Water monitors need to be approached with care
because they are potentially dangerous animals.
This is a water monitor.
And he's very bold indeed.
Nothing is safe from the water monitors on this island.
They are enormous and adults can grow up to three metres.
The weapons monitor lizard possesses are SO vicious!
The tail, which is facing Johnny at the moment,
is one of the first things it uses in defence.
It lashes out with that tail
to drive away anything that could be a potential threat.
As he's moving through the leaves, tongue's lashing out ahead of him.
You see it's a forked tongue, just like a snake's.
And what happens is...
..each side of that tongue
is drawing in scent molecules into his mouth.
And you can tell from which side
has the stronger taste, the stronger smell,
which direction to head towards in search of food.
I'm going to sit very, very still now.
Nose to nose...
..with a living dinosaur.
You can see him lick his lips there.
I hope that's not because he thinks I might be dinner.
This is a bit closer than I would really be comfortable with.
Inside that mouth is one long line of teeth
that are, honestly, razor-sharp.
Backwards-curving and covered with...
He's tasting my face!
He just stuck his tongue in my eye!
OK, this is where I start to get a little bit nervous.
He can move very, very fast.
From there, he could have my arm in his mouth in a second.
Look at him tasting my hand!
As I was saying, the mouth has razor-sharp teeth
which are covered in bacteria.
And those bacteria, once they actually get into a wound,
once he cuts you open, will almost instantly start to become infected.
Any bite from a monitor lizard is very, very serious indeed.
Wow! He is utterly, utterly beautiful.
There's another one!
There's another one coming in from the side over there.
It's almost like I've been transformed back
into The Land That Time Forgot, surrounded by dinosaurs.
'They may look prehistoric,
'but there's nothing outdated about them.
'I want to show you how adaptable they are when it comes to hunting.'
There are monitors absolutely everywhere.
There must be seven or eight of them, all of them good-sized,
within about 10-15m of us, off in these trees.
I'll see if I can show you some of their tricks
using a yummy bit of fish head.
'The first attribute I want to show you is their climbing ability.'
So that's our fish in place.
Let's see if our monitor will follow it up the tree.
Look at that!
They're like an all-terrain vehicle,
just scampering up the tree in search of food.
And he's got it.
He may be a top-notch climber but he lands like a dropped pudding.
Ha! That is awe-inspiring!
There he goes again.
Even at this size,
he has no problem holding his body weight
on a tree using those big, curved talons.
OK, we've shown you them climbing and feeding.
The last thing that I want to try and show you,
this is a real long shot,
is one of these guys actually swimming in the sea.
Let's see if I can draw one down to the beach.
They've got interest.
Yes, I am actually taking a monitor for a walk.
Well, a run, actually.
We're going to the beach!
Unlike most reptiles that can only run in short bursts,
monitors can keep their foot on the gas
and actually run down their prey.
# Most of all
# I like the way you move... #
There he goes.
That is why he's called a water monitor lizard.
Look at that - swimming using that broad tail,
making him move through the water beautifully.
And even underwater, the tongue is still flicking out.
He can still taste even there.
The water monitor - sprinting, swimming, climbing, clambering -
the ultimate predator on the Deadly 60.
Water monitor lizards - deadly!
I'm really excited about our next destination.
We're heading in there.
I have no real idea what live inside that cave
but I'm very excited to find out.
'We're exploring this cave system
'on the mysterious river that runs through it,
'paddling into the gloom.'
This is seriously spooky, heading into the darkness.
From here on in, the river flows into total darkness.
Beyond here has never, ever seen sunlight.
So, in order to see the animals that are living here
we're relying on torchlight.
The animals that survive in caves
are highly adapted to the environment and, as a consequence,
they tend to look very bizarre.
One group of mammals
that may spend much of their lives in caves are bats.
This place is absolutely alive with bats...
..all hanging from the ceiling, usually just by one tiny toe.
But I want to find something even more creepy.
I'm going to try and go ashore and see if I can see anything.
These crickets are the favourite food of some horrible cave hunters.
This cave floor is absolutely alive with tarantulas.
I've never seen so many in my entire life.
It's an arachnophobic's nightmare.
Where's he gone?
He's gone into a little hole.
There he goes, out into the open.
There he is.
Go on, there you go.
Just backing up... Oh! He's just struck the stick.
It means it bit it with its fangs.
And he's just...
Oh! And again!
That was quite an aggressive strike.
If that had been my hand, that would have really hurt.
'Well, that one got away, but...'
It doesn't matter, though, there are loads of them around here.
Oh, dear me!
Eugh! Cor, they're quick.
It might look like I'm being a right jessie,
but it wouldn't be ideal to get bitten right deep here in the cave.
Oh, crikey! Ah!
Just not having any luck today.
There he goes.
More by accident than by design, it has to be said.
This is actually one of the smallest of the tarantulas
that we've seen scurrying around here,
but I couldn't leave without getting a closer look at him.
I mean, I think I must have seen 30 in this one tiny area.
'It's hardly surprising when you see how many crickets are around,
'but what I really want to show you is how they hunt in the dark.'
The legs and the back of the body
are all covered with thousands of fine hairs
and those hairs are really sensitive.
They can pick up everything from chemical scents in the air
to the movement of the air to vibrations along the ground.
They're a great way for this spider to find out what's going on
and also what it needs to hunt.
OK, let me just show you how those hairs work.
Any second now.
Well, it normally works. It's just obviously not working today.
Normally, he'd run off, but I think he likes me.
OK, I wasn't intending him to run down the back of my neck!
But that shows you how the hairs work.
'The tarantula is a superb spider assassin,
'but with so many crickets around, there is a chance
'we might find the ultimate cave predator.'
One of the most specialised cave-hunting creatures
you'll see anywhere in the world is this...
Look at that.
Really creepy looking monsters, aren't they?
One of the most lethal hunters you'll ever see in a cave system.
Look at those front legs swinging around in the air -
just tapping around, sensing its environment,
building up a picture of what's around it.
The whip-spider is also called a tail-less whip scorpion.
It's actually not a spider or a scorpion,
but it's still a member of the arachnid group.
The front legs of the whip-spider are not used for walking,
but are adapted to sensing its surroundings.
These bizarre legs can be three times longer than the other legs.
But the main weapons are those claws
it's got clasped to the front of its head.
They're armed with vicious barbs
and when it gets close to an insect,
those open out, grab a hold of it,
draw it in to its mashing mouth parts it has here at the front.
The whip-spider feeds
by using those trap-like pincers to snare an insect
and munching mouth parts to chew it up into goo.
The whip-spider is one of the most perfectly adapted creatures
you'll ever see for cave environments -
perfectly adapted to life hunting in the dark.
'Whip-spider is on the Deadly 60.'
'No sooner had we paddled out of the cave into open air,
'then the sun set and it was dark again!'
These forests are very exciting for wildlife during the day,
but at night-time, they get even better,
and this time, shortly after dusk,
is almost like rush hour for wildlife.
It's just the time when everything is waking up
and thinking about going out and finding food.
There's one particular deadly animal
that I'm, well, really hoping we'll find.
The animal we're searching for is a pangolin.
Pangolins are found all over Africa and Asia.
This crazy-looking, armoured critter might look small,
but it has unimaginable strength for its size.
Pangolins are ant and termite terminators
and have the ideal tools for devouring them.
Their strength and sharp claws mean they easily rip open termite mounds
and they have a tongue longer than their own body.
One pangolin can eat more than 70 million termites in one year.
OK, so this is a termite mound.
The termites create it using chewed-up mud
and their own saliva and it sets rock hard.
I'm going to have a go at trying to get into this.
This is the kind of thing that the pangolin will break into with ease.
I've got my metal snake hook here. Let's see how I do.
This thing is like an absolute fortress.
I'll be here all night before I get to any termites,
and that is using a metal, human-made snake hook,
but our pangolin scrapes it open in a matter of minutes.
'At night, the pangolins are hunting,
'so this is the best chance we have to see them.'
Normally, wildlife watching at night is about moving carefully, slowly,
but at the moment, we're thundering through the undergrowth,
because the guy in front of me, who's our guide,
has just had a shout from one of his friends
that the exact animal we're looking for is somewhere off
in this undergrowth here.
We're doing our best to try and keep up with it.
Oh, wow! There it is.
This is a pangolin.
It's a very unusual creature indeed.
At the moment, it's gone into its defensive position,
which is designed to protect its soft underbelly,
using these tough scales on the outside.
The thick tail of the pangolin is wrapped right around the head,
which is protected by all of this armour.
The armour also works to protect it from its prey.
It feeds on ants and termites which have vicious bites and stings,
and all of this armour helps protect it from them.
At the moment, obviously he's quite concerned
that we might be a predator about to tuck into him,
so what we need to do is to back off, give him some space,
and give him some time and, hopefully, he'll unfurl
and wander off in search of a meal
and then we'll see why this is such an astounding creature.
So we're just going to sit still here for a while
and just listen, see if we can hear him unfurling.
Sounds like he's getting up.
He's just unfurled
and looks like he's sussing out what's going on around him
before he moves on.
I've got to say that is a seriously crazy-looking creature.
The pangolin's primary sense is their smell.
They can scent ants and termites from hundreds of metres away
and now, I think, he's just sussing out
what's going on with me and the camera crew,
just raising his nose, snuffling the air,
just figuring out what we are.
Just see now him lifting his front leg -
those curved claws are what he'll use
to tear his way into termite mounds and ant hills.
He can dig through ground that is almost as hard as concrete
Ooh, it looks like he's going to climb. He's going up the tree.
Pangolins are fantastic climbers
and it's another way they have of escaping danger
and also of going looking for ants in the treetops.
Look how he clasps the tree with his claws as he climbs!
He shot up there.
Clasp them that tightly,
no predator's going to be able to drag him off.
The pangolin -
the fast-climbing, ant-lapping, excavating, armour-plated machine
has got to go on the Deadly 60.
The Philippines are well known got their tropical mangrove forests
that connect the land to the sea
and are home to a whole host of unusual and colourful animals.
Mangrove trees are unique in that they are the only trees
that can survive in the salty seawater.
They're the perfect cover for more dazzling animals
and I have one in mind, but it'll take some finding.
The mangroves are very much slave to the tides.
When it's high tide and the water's in like now,
the best way of getting around is in a boat.
You don't have to slog through all the mud and can cover more distance.
Let's see what we can find.
'After a full day of scanning the foliage,
'we found our prize.
'My stunning snake is hanging out way up in the branches.
'But how am I going to get it down?
'It's going to take a little nerve to show him to you.'
I'm just going to get up there and see if I can grab it.
The problem is, I just need one more hand.
Come on then, little fella. Oh-h!
Well, that was one of the hardest snake catches I've ever had,
but it was well worth it, cos this is the master of the mangroves -
the mangrove cat snake.
The reason this is called a cat snake is the eyes.
It's a dark eye with a slit-shaped pupil,
very much like a cat's eye.
It is utterly, utterly gorgeous -
I think one of the prettiest snakes on the planet.
Look at those bright, bright lurid colours -
black against bright, bright yellow.
It seems crazy that a snake like this could be camouflaged
in this environment,
but if Johnny gets a shot of these palms here -
as the light comes down through those,
you get black slats of shadow
in-between yellow slats of these, illuminated by the sun,
and actually, this snake blends in beautifully.
You can see, wrapped around my arm there,
and as it was up in the tree, curled around that branch,
that this snake is absolutely brilliant at holding itself
in the trees and the branches and the twigs.
That's where it does its hunting.
They'll feed on small birds and lizards.
All kinds of wonderful creatures are at the mercy
of this awesome little snake.
The venom of the mangrove cat snake isn't particularly strong.
It's not harmful to humans,
but it does work very, very fast on its prey.
The mangrove cat snake is not only pretty much
my favourite snake in the whole world,
but it is also the most colourful killer of the mangroves.
It can climb and it can also swim.
I have to put the mangrove cat snake onto the Deadly 60.
Next time on Deadly 60.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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.