Unseen Deadly 60


Unseen

In this special episode, Steve shares stories of the contenders that didn't quite make it onto the Deadly 60 list.


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Transcript


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My name's Steve Backshall!

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And this is my search for the Deadly 60.

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Amazing!

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That'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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'Travelling around the world making Deadly 60,

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'there have been things we've filmed but not had time to show you.'

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This very special edition is about all of those incredible things

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that didn't make it into the original programmes.

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This is Deadly 60 Unseen.

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Our journey begins in southern Africa,

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in the deserts and savannahs of Namibia.

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Namibia is home to a bewildering array of deadly animals,

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armed with tearing teeth, piercing talons...

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..and fiercely toxic venom.

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MUSIC: "I Like The Way You Move" by Bodyrockers

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'In the desert dunes, every living thing has to struggle to get about

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'in the shifting sands - and I'm no exception.

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'We were in search of a tiny terror -

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'the spoor spider.'

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The spoor spider has a truly remarkable hunting method.

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First it makes a web on the ground, then hides underneath it

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like a little sandy blanket, before leaping out and trapping its prey,

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which it cooks alive on the roasting-hot sand.

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'But while filming this minute killer,

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'we found another desert spider we didn't have time to show to you.

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'But here she is in all her glory.'

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On the surface of the sand here, there's lots of little scamper marks

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which have been made by a particularly big spider.

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'So to find her, we trace our steps

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'back to what we hope is the entrance to a hidden lair.'

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Ah, right!

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I think...

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that almost imperceptible circle there

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is the entrance to her trapdoor.

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I'm just going to lift the flap up.

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That there...

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is the silken lid

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of the trapdoor,

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camouflaged in sand.

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And she's down inside there.

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OK.

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'With our mystery spider in the cool of her burrow,

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'I'm going to have to gently shift some sand to get a closer look.'

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There she is! She's beautiful!

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Look at that!

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This is the white lady spider.

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'When handling large spiders, it's always advisable

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'to take great care.'

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OK. Oh, crikey, she's gone up my arm!

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OK.

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There you go.

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So the white lady spider is a trapdoor spider,

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and when insects like dune crickets wander too close,

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it'll flip back the trapdoor lid, spring out,

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grab them, whack them full of venom,

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and drag them back inside the burrow to eat them.

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She is an absolutely menacing predator.

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But not menacing enough to beat the ant-munching spoor spider

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onto the list.

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Spoor spider is on the Deadly 60.

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'Just around the corner, we came across another desert specialist.'

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Oh, beauty!

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'And this one was armoured to the armpits.'

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Ow!

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'The things I do to show you weird and wonderful animals!'

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Ow!

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'No pain, no gain.'

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Oh, well...

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It was worth... Ooh, look at that!

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Did you see that? Squirting fluid from back here.

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That's its first method of defence,

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and that would taste absolutely foul.

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If it got into the eyes of something,

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it would do them no good whatsoever.

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This fiercely impressive insect is an armoured ground cricket -

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possibly the most obvious name you'll ever hear.

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It's a cricket, it lives on the ground,

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and it's armoured.

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That carapace there, that's sticking into my fingers,

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is rock-hard, and it needs to be really,

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because an animal like this,

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that really is just a great big lump of protein,

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is very valuable food for all sorts of predators around here.

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Pretty ugly, isn't it?

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Ugly but awesome.

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Our next unseen animal is the African hunting dog.

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They're desperately rare, and we searched for them for days

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without so much as a sign.

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We've covered an enormous area,

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and no sign whatsoever of the dogs.

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I'm starting to get a little bit disheartened, really.

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This is so typical! The last time I came out to Africa

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specifically to film wild dogs, I spent a week searching

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and never saw a sign.

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And here's a pack of them just sat at the side of the road!

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Kind of mangy looking, but very, very efficient predators

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who run their prey down using endurance

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and just a tenacity and a desire never to give up.

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African wild dogs hunt in cooperative packs,

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chasing down antelope and even larger prey.

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The wild dog combines tactics, endurance and lightning reactions

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to be a successful predator, and certainly deserved its place

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on the Deadly 60.

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'We had some superb daytime animal encounters in Namibia,

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'but night-time brings out a whole host of new animals -

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'so many, in fact, that only now do we have a chance

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'to show them to you.'

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Good Lord!

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I tell you what - I've seen some millipedes in my time.

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I've even kept a fair few as pets.

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But that...

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is about as big as I've ever seen.

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He's a monster! I've seen snakes smaller than that.

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Millipedes are pretty harmless.

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They mostly feed on rotting leaf litter

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and bits of fruit and stuff.

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But they do have certain means of taking care of themselves.

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First of all they've got this hard exoskeleton,

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which functions like armour, and there's also tiny little pores

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running down close to the legs, and they can secrete a nasty chemical

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which is kind of like cyanide. It'll stain your fingers bright purple.

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It's like a great big wriggling armoured tank!

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'Well, the millipede was a pretty cool critter.

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'But there's one creepy-crawly

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'that my crew and I have a knack of finding -

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'scorpions.

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'This one, though, is rather special.'

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This is what night-time out in the desert is all about.

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Rich, our sound man,

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was just sat round by the fire

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when this rather lovely little lady just crawled out

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from under his leg.

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I say "little".

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Actually she's huge.

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This is a pregnant female...

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..and she's massively swollen

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with all the tiny scorpions inside her.

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Scorpions are wonderful, wonderful mothers.

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After they give birth, all the minute little babies

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scamper up onto their mother's back, and she'll carry them around

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keeping them safe until their first moult -

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that is, the first time they shed their skin and start growing.

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She's fabulous,

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and actually far more in danger from one of us stepping on her

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than we are from her.

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'This scorpion's sting is almost harmless,

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'but that doesn't stop Rich the sound man,

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'like so many other people, being scared stiff.

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'So now seemed the perfect opportunity

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'for Rich to overcome those fears.'

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Want to try?

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Oh, this is a big step!

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How do you feel about scorpions, Rich?

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Oops!

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RICH GASPS IN FRIGHT

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STEVE LAUGHS

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'OK, so he's still a bit twitchy, but let's just hope

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'that's gone some way to easing Rich's fears.'

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Whilst in Africa, we were lucky enough to encounter

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some fearsome animals...

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LION GROWLS

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..predators of the seas,

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trees,

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and the sky.

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We're sharing the air with Rod the black eagle!

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How good is that?

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'2,000 miles north of Namibia lies Uganda,

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'where we met some of our closest cousins.

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'That was a territorial male gorilla letting me know who was boss.

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'Don't worry - this is normal behaviour and no-one was hurt.

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'We were also surrounded by chimpanzees,

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'bombarding us with fruit and descending down from the trees

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'all around us.'

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-CHIMPANZEES SHRIEK

-Here he comes!

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But with all that action, what we didn't have time to show you

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is another one of our relatives - a real cheeky monkey,

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the vervet.

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Master climbers and jumpers, they're true survivors.

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They're much more common than chimps or gorillas,

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even turning up in city parks.

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'But they just don't seem to understand me.'

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Monkeys come in all shapes and sizes,

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but I guess if you were going to have one run-of-the-mill,

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bog-standard monkey, it'd be this one, the vervet monkey.

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They're sort of average sized.

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You find them just about everywhere in Africa.

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-RUSTLING

-They'll eat almost anything.

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I mean, they really are the monkey for all seasons.

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Here in this park, they seem to be hanging from almost every tree,

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making good use of the fact that there are lots of people around,

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and lots of people means lots of food.

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'Although I was surrounded by vervets,

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'there was one that was truly remarkable.'

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She's got no feet!

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I don't believe it!

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I do not believe it.

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Well, if that isn't testament to how incredible monkeys are...

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I've never seen anything like that before.

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That mother had lost both her feet, and is getting around

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by walking in a handstand with her baby clasped to her underside!

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-Any of you ever seen anything like that before?

-No way!

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-There she goes. Look!

-Amazing.

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What amazing creatures!

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'It just goes to show how tough animals really can be,

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'able to survive against all the odds.'

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The next stop on our Unseen special

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is the Philippines in Southeast Asia,

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to find another primate - the tarsier.

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Humans are also primates, so related to the tarsier.

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'If only we could leap after our lunch like the tarsier can!'

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Yes!

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Oh!

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'While searching the muddy mangrove forests of the Philippines,

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'we came across another predator of Southeast Asia -

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'the stork-billed kingfisher.'

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Like most kingfishers, the stork-bill waits on a perch

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and then plunges into the water like a guided missile...

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..grabbing the fish, then taking it back to the perch

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to knock it out before gulping it down in one.

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We cooked up a Deadly 60 experiment

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to show you how the fast, streamlined kingfisher

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is a master fisherman, and much better at catching fish than I am.

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OK, so this is our Deadly 60 experiment.

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This is going to play the part of our fish.

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I've got a bit of an advantage because it won't be swimming.

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OK - now all I have to do is hit it in a kingfisher style.

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Well, that was kind of close!

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Take two!

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Yeah - it's not going very well, is it?

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-Nowhere near!

-HE LAUGHS

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'Right. Third time lucky...'

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Or not.

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I cannot believe how hard that is!

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Outmanoeuvred and outgunned by a bird!

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Typical. I think we have our winner.

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Our aim was to see the kingfisher hunting,

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but we waited for hours and it never happened.

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Until we do, the kingfisher is unfinished business.

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-HE SINGS DRAMATIC FANFARE

-Da-da-DAH!

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The Philippines is undersea heaven,

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and to see the creatures that call the sea their home,

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you need to go diving. Whilst tracking this thresher shark,

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we had an unexpected encounter with a devil ray

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which nearly knocked over Simon, our cameraman,

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before demonstrating his incredible turn of speed.

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'Now to show you some of the unseen underwater beasties

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'we found while diving at night.'

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How about that?

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That's one of the most impressive hermit crabs I've ever seen!

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He's absolutely massive!

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Talk about carrying your house around with you wherever you go!

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And at the moment, like most crabs,

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he's probably looking for a meal of decaying meat

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or any dead fish that's lying on the bottom.

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And he looks absolutely crazy, scuttling along like this!

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I'll tell you what -

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with those claws, he could probably take off one of my fingers,

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so I'm not going to get too close.

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What a weird-looking crab!

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'If you thought the creatures round here

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'couldn't get any stranger looking, you'd be wrong.'

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Oh, wow!

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That is without doubt the weirdest crab I've seen in my life!

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Look at that! That is just bizarre.

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There's two of them, look - sat right next to each other.

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It just looks like a running Cornish pasty!

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Weird!

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'This bizarre-looking creature is in fact called a shamefaced crab.

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'Great name!

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'This wasn't the only night-time marine encounter we had

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'on Deadly 60.'

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Travelling from the Philippines across the Pacific Ocean to Baja,

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I got very close - perhaps too close for comfort -

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with a giant Humboldt squid.

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Oh, crikey! It's got a hold of my hand!

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It's actually... Argh!

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Oh, dear me! This is - Agh!

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The strength of the beak! It has actually bitten me

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right through the chainmail suit!

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'That was a lucky escape. I could easily have lost a finger

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'to that vicious beak.'

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I don't think anyone's going to doubt

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that the Humboldt squid has got to go on the Deadly 60!

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Back on dry land, the camp we were staying in

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was crawling with critters. I couldn't even take a wash

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without falling over something deadly!

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Just taking a bath, and already got our first snake.

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The place was so jam-packed with wildlife,

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we weren't able to show you all the incredible animals we encountered -

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until now.

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This is a velvet ant.

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They may look cuddly,

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but they've got a sting that could make a grown man cry.

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-Not me, though, obviously.

-CREWMEMBERS LAUGH

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'We were so spoilt for deadly animals in Baja!

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'As well as the giant squid, we saw three different species

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'of rattlesnakes, and a tarantula hawk moth.'

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Look at the size of these jaws here!

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'That's why the next animal I want to show you

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'was only a runner-up for the Deadly 60 list.'

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Oh, there it is.

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Whoa!

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Oh, that is a proper centipede!

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-Look at that!

-Be very careful, Steve.

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Yeah, yeah. I am doing.

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You can see how much wildlife is living

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around the ranch where we're staying.

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And quite a lot of it is stuff that could do us harm.

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We certainly have to be very careful wandering around here at night.

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This...is a scolopendra centipede.

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And, um, at this size,

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it wouldn't just be eating other invertebrates,

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but even small mammals like shrews and mice.

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And I'm not putting it in my hand,

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because these have an absolutely ferocious bite.

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Very, very venomous.

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Incredibly painful.

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Isn't that great? Off he goes!

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Ooh!

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HE CHUCKLES NERVOUSLY

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May seem like I'm being a bit of a wimp here,

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but you really don't want to get bitten by one of these.

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They're mean-looking creatures, aren't they?

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There.

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Really exciting to see...

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quite what we're sharing our home with.

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Some seriously deadly critters!

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'A centipede that can eat mice is definitely a formidable predator.

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'But they get to be at least double the size of this one.

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'If I find one of those true monsters,

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'it'll definitely go on the list.'

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Further down Central America, in the rainforests of Costa Rica

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and Panama, we were on the trail of the elusive jaguar,

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South America's biggest cat.

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'And after getting half-strangled by a huge boa constrictor,

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'we found some other awesome deadly animals...

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'..the eyelash pit viper...

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'..the poison-dart frog,

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'the gigantic American crocodile...

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'..and the blood-sucking vampire bat.

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'No-one can doubt the vampire bat deserved its place on the Deadly 60,

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'but what we didn't show you was another bat species we found,

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'and this one feeds on something very different.'

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All this thrashing in the water around me

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is caused by tiny little fish like sardines.

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They're being hunted from below by crocodiles, bigger fish,

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even small sharks - but they're also being hunted from above.

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That animal is a fishing bat.

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This is one of the only places in the world you find them,

0:22:160:22:19

and they actually swoop down low across the surface of the water

0:22:190:22:22

and snatch fish from the surface,

0:22:220:22:26

which is pretty incredible for a bat.

0:22:260:22:28

Oh, that's great! One coming in from your right.

0:22:280:22:33

'The fishing bat uses echolocation to detect the ripples

0:22:340:22:38

'made by fish just below the surface of the water.

0:22:380:22:41

'They're equipped with feet like grappling hooks,

0:22:410:22:45

'tipped with curved claws - perfect for grabbing a meal on the wing.

0:22:450:22:49

'The fishing bat is an incredible hunter,

0:22:530:22:55

'but there was only room on our list for one bat in Central America.'

0:22:550:22:59

-BAT SQUEAKS

-Vampire bats...

0:22:590:23:02

They're worth a place on the Deadly 60.

0:23:020:23:04

'There's just too much to choose from

0:23:050:23:08

'in these packed forest wonderlands.

0:23:080:23:11

'Unlike our bats, our next unseen animal isn't very deadly,

0:23:120:23:17

'but it is a monster in its own right,

0:23:170:23:19

'so I just have to show it to you.'

0:23:190:23:21

This...is absolutely extraordinary.

0:23:230:23:27

This is certainly a land of giants.

0:23:270:23:29

That is the biggest earthworm I've ever seen.

0:23:290:23:34

I know it looks like a snake,

0:23:340:23:36

but this is actually pretty much the same in body plan

0:23:360:23:40

as the earthworms in your back garden -

0:23:400:23:42

just an awful lot bigger.

0:23:420:23:44

And although it's kind of slimy on top,

0:23:440:23:47

the most amazing thing about it is that it's very coarse-feeling

0:23:470:23:51

on the underneath, and you can feel that in between all these segments

0:23:510:23:55

are very, very fine bristles and hairs

0:23:550:23:59

that it used to drag itself through the mud.

0:23:590:24:02

Earthworms are just amazing

0:24:020:24:05

at turning all of this mulch that we see around us now

0:24:050:24:08

into a kind of compost, and this is a very, very good reason

0:24:080:24:13

why there's so much life round here.

0:24:130:24:15

'Just before we put him back on the floor, Nick, our sound man

0:24:180:24:21

'had a top tip he wanted to share with us.'

0:24:210:24:24

It's quite difficult to tell which end's the head

0:24:240:24:27

-and which end's the tail.

-I know how to tell easily, man.

0:24:270:24:31

-How do you do that?

-Just tickle it and see which end smiles.

0:24:310:24:34

THEY LAUGH

0:24:350:24:37

'Yeah. Don't give up the day job, Nick.

0:24:390:24:41

'This forest floor is thick with wildlife.

0:24:440:24:47

'Whilst trekking through the jungle, we found a strange trail

0:24:470:24:50

'and decided to follow it to see where it led.'

0:24:500:24:53

It looks as if someone's come through here with a vacuum cleaner,

0:24:550:24:59

cleaning up all the leaves off the forest floor.

0:24:590:25:02

But actually this is an insect motorway.

0:25:020:25:05

It's been created by leafcutter ants.

0:25:050:25:08

They've actually cleared it away to make it easier

0:25:080:25:10

for the workers to move up and down carrying bits of leaf.

0:25:100:25:13

It's not very active at the moment because of the rains last night,

0:25:130:25:17

but just here, this is the nest.

0:25:170:25:20

Under here there are millions of leafcutter ants.

0:25:200:25:23

But there's something very interesting here.

0:25:230:25:26

There is one particular kind of leafcutter ant

0:25:260:25:31

whose only job is to protect this nest.

0:25:310:25:34

They look very different from all the other ants,

0:25:340:25:37

and with a little bit...

0:25:370:25:39

..of agitation,

0:25:410:25:43

we should get to see some.

0:25:430:25:46

There they go.

0:25:470:25:50

So, almost instantly,

0:25:550:25:57

out comes a huge soldier.

0:25:570:26:00

They've got enormous heads, massive jaws,

0:26:000:26:04

and their sole reason for being is to protect all their mates

0:26:040:26:08

inside the colony.

0:26:080:26:10

The local people have known about the strength of these soldier ants

0:26:110:26:15

for many years, and they even use them as a kind of natural surgery.

0:26:150:26:19

Let's say I've got a big cut on my arm here.

0:26:190:26:22

They'll take the ant, with its jaws wide open like that,

0:26:220:26:25

and... Ow!

0:26:250:26:28

The jaws clench together, holding the cut closed.

0:26:290:26:34

It's so strong... that it works easily as well

0:26:340:26:38

as a modern, sewn-up stitch.

0:26:380:26:41

-HE LAUGHS

-And actually it really hurts,

0:26:410:26:44

considering it's just a little ant.

0:26:440:26:47

That's amazing.

0:26:470:26:48

Local people would actually rip the body off the ant,

0:26:480:26:52

just leaving the head there, so it keeps the wound closed.

0:26:520:26:55

I don't want to kill the ant, so I'm just going to... Ow!

0:26:550:26:59

Look at that!

0:26:590:27:01

Hold him there for a close.

0:27:010:27:04

-What do you mean, "Hold him there for a close"?

-Take it like a man.

0:27:040:27:08

That really hurts!

0:27:080:27:11

Ow!

0:27:110:27:12

Ow!

0:27:120:27:14

HE MOANS

0:27:140:27:16

Oh!

0:27:180:27:19

'These ants are small but mighty, with a vicious bite.

0:27:190:27:23

'The crew and I certainly didn't want to hang round for too long.'

0:27:230:27:27

Look! It made me bleed!

0:27:270:27:30

'That's all we have time for on this Unseen special.

0:27:320:27:36

'Join me next time for more deadly encounters.'

0:27:360:27:39

Crikey!

0:27:400:27:41

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:27:450:27:49

E-mail [email protected]

0:27:490:27:53

.

0:27:530:27:53

In this special episode, Steve shares stories of the contenders that didn't quite make it onto the Deadly 60 list. He travels across the world discovering animals with deadly stings, crushing jaws and razor sharp claws.


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