Wildlife series. Steve and the crew are thrown deep in the steamy rainforests of Costa Rica. They are on a mission to find the largest cat in South America, the jaguar.
Browse content similar to Costa Rica. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
My name's Steve Backshall. Wow!
And this is my mission to find the Deadly 60.
It's not just animals deadly to me,
but animals that are deadly in their own world.
My crew and I are exploring the planet.
And you're coming with me every step of the way.
This time on Deadly 60, we're in Costa Rica in Central America.
This is known as one of the most biodiverse places on the planet,
so there's more species of plants and animals here than anywhere else.
We'll be on the Pacific coast.
It's so remote, there's no roads and I think it will get a bit bumpy.
Yeah, I wasn't wrong about the boat ride!
Sandwiched between North and South America,
Costa Rica is a tropical paradise.
Hopefully, we're just about to put ashore
without grounding the boats,
sinking or getting smashed on the waves.
Hey, hey! Very good!
Hi. Steve. 'We'll be working with a team of local scientists.
'But first things first, let's get our gear ashore.'
-Nothing expensive in this one, is there, Nick?
-No, that's fine.
'The rainforest here is dripping with wildlife.
'And there's no time to waste. Let the deadly search commence!
'First up, a snake we've seen on Deadly 60 before, the fer-de-lance.'
Just down in front of me is one of the most feared animals
found in the Americas.
It's only very diddy, this one.
'Though this is just a baby, it needs as much care as an adult.'
Amazing camouflage! This keeps disappearing into the leaf litter.
-It's this side.
-It's looking straight at you.
-Don't put your hands in.
Even at this size, the venom has exactly the same potency
as it would in an adult snake.
'Sometimes writhing, wriggling baby snakes are harder to handle
'than the grown-ups.'
There we have it.
I know it's only small,
but there's a very good reason for this being such a feared snake.
Despite what everyone thinks, all snakes are not alike.
They have very different ways of hunting.
Some actively go out looking to hunt down their prey and chase after it,
and others will wait for food to come to them.
That's what the fer-de-lance does alongside trails like this one,
just waiting for its prey to come to it.
If a person steps too close, they'll strike very, very fast
and the venom is really fierce.
Even if it doesn't kill you,
it could well do you damage that will last for a very long time,
which is why people in these parts really don't like these snakes.
Truly small, but deadly.
'So that's a stark reminder to the crew
'to watch where you're walking.
'The leaf litter hides killers big and small.'
This is truly what you call a croc-infested river.
Look at that!
'This is an American crocodile, over three metres long,
'and an animal I'd love to put on the Deadly 60,
'but to do that, I'll need to see some action
'and during the daytime, that's highly unlikely.'
Often crocs can be attracted to the sounds of an animal in distress,
so I'm trying to mimic that with my snake stick
and see if I get any interest from him.
'No. American crocs do most of their hunting when it gets dark,
'so it looks like me and the crew will have to pull an all-nighter.
'American crocodiles are found all along the coastlines
'and up rivers in Central America.
'A big male could be as long as a minibus
'and weigh as much as a small car.
'Though their main food is fish, they'll feed on anything
'from insects to large mammals and occasionally people.
'These crocs hunt in freshwater and in the sea.
'They have special glands in their mouths
'to remove sea salt from their systems.
'Sweet water or salty, nowhere is safe.
'As the light fades, our prehistoric predators kick into action.
'I'm starting my search down on the beach,
'a spooky place to be when you know croc eyes are watching you.'
Wow! Look at that!
Wow! What a magnificent creature!
Right down at the surf.
This is an American crocodile. Isn't it wonderful?
It's still comparatively young.
It's probably only two years old,
but still you can see the power
that makes this such a formidable predator.
Look at those teeth!
They actually overlap the jaw,
so it can't completely shut its mouth and hide its teeth.
They're bristling from the mouth.
Those are used like a trap for catching fish.
When it gets bigger, they'll also catch large mammals,
even things as big as deer.
And every once in a while, big American crocs have taken people,
but at this size...
well, I don't think he's any danger to me,
but absolutely glorious.
I would love to put American crocodiles on to the Deadly 60,
but to do that, I think I'll have to find something a bit bigger.
Come on, fella.
They can certainly motor!
Great stuff. Not a bad catch.
'It's a start, but I'll never grab our big croc this way.
'It's going to take patience and a little Backshall cunning.'
CRACK OF THUNDER
Oh, see that lightning!
'Crocs have well-developed senses of hearing and smell
'and can pick up vibrations of prey in the water.
'Let's see if they'll sense my fish bait.'
This is absolutely extraordinary.
There's a massive American crocodile...
just zeroing in on my bait.
It's just the creepiest thing
with thunder and lightning going off in the distance
and just seeing this dark, hulking, prehistoric form...
..just closing in on our fish.
You wouldn't want to fall into the water now.
Oh, see that lightning!
I should explain that there's no hook on this line.
It's just a piece of fish tied on to a rope,
so there's no way that it can hurt the croc if it decides to go for it.
In actual fact, all he's going to get is a free meal
and it might get him to come closer for us.
Come on, old boy. Pop up and let us see you!
'It seems we've been staring into the darkness all night
'and still no sign of our giant croc.
'Where is he?'
Look at that, Johnny. He's right by us. He's huge!
That is incredible. That must be...three metres?
'Now that is a big croc!'
He's turned towards us. He's just there.
Got it, he's got the fish. He's got the fish.
Come on then, big fella. Come on.
Let's get a look at you.
Whoa, that's some strength!
Look at that!
'Slipping around in the riverside mud,
'you can see why crocs are so deadly.
'Even when I'm out of the water on the river bank,
'he still has the upper hand.'
Just when I think my job can't get any weirder,
I end up fishing for crocs in an electrical storm. Madness!
He is the master of these murky waters.
If you fell in there...
you wouldn't last five minutes.
Though the American crocodile is primarily a fish feeder,
a big croc like this could easily take decent-sized mammal prey.
Or chuck back a huge fish in one gulp.
Effortless. Just effortless.
That's not just one of the most deadly predators in Costa Rica.
That's one of the most deadly predators in the world.
Our last fish. Our last chance for an encounter
with this magnificent living dinosaur.
I just hope he doesn't take it straight away.
-There he is.
Oh, that's strong!
Because the tail is paddle-shaped,
it gives them great power through the water when they need it...
..which isn't often
because most of the time is spent almost motionless.
Effortless. Just effortless.
And there he is, heading off with his dinner.
CRACK OF THUNDER
And what a finale!
Lightning strike, crocodile...
American crocs are going on the Deadly 60.
-HE LAUGHS LOUDLY
-What an experience!
They've been around on the planet since before the dinosaurs.
American crocodiles are deadly!
'My next target animal is probably the toughest I've taken on yet.
'The biggest cat in the Americas is the jaguar,
'the undisputed king of these forests.
'However, part of their talent is not being seen.
'To find one in just a few days is a serious challenge.
'In fact, I'm going to need to use some rather unusual tactics
'to give me even half a chance of finding one.
MIMICS JAGUAR CALLS
'A jaguar expert who can talk to the animals.'
Eduardo's been doing this for many years
and tells me that a good way to try and attract a jaguar
is to try and imitate a jaguar's call
which sometimes will get them to call back.
I've not tried this before. This could be a bit embarrassing.
I couldn't resist.
MIMICS GROWLING SOUNDS
'Not surprisingly, not a whisker.
'Jaguar are armed with finely tuned sensors.
'They're not fussy eaters and will hunt anything from fish to monkeys.
'With excellent night vision and a keen sense of smell,
'they are unstoppable hunters.
'Finding jaguar is a near impossible task.
'But these jungles are alive with fascinating creatures.'
Got a white-faced capuchin monkey.
They're very intelligent and brainy monkeys, white-faced capuchins.
They're almost always on the move and chattering to each other,
making calls, keeping in contact as they go along.
Despite being one of the smallest monkeys round here,
they'll quite happily bully and boss much larger species
like the howler monkeys.
They even chase off cats like jaguars by throwing things at them.
'Monkeys use the trees and branches
'to move effortlessly through the forest.
'But sadly, it isn't that easy for the crew and I.'
This is a really exciting place to go tracking for animals
because riverside mud like this really holds prints perfectly well.
These are pig prints.
That big size ten there belongs to my cameraman Johnny.
These are much more exciting,
our first sign that there are big cats around here.
Look at that.
Now, from the size of it, from how wide it is,
that doesn't look like a jaguar track.
It's more like a puma track, also known as mountain lions or cougars.
They're a good deal smaller,
but it would still be a great prize for us if we were to find one.
'One of our challenges in finding a jaguar
'is that one animal can range over an area the size of a small country.
'Sometimes it seems the forest is trying to make it hard for you
'and our jaguar is beginning to seem like a spotted ghost.'
Despite me and my crew doing everything we can
to move quietly and carefully,
you can probably hear we sound like a herd of stampeding elephants.
It really is quite something that a predator like a jaguar
can stalk through here absolutely silently.
It's all down to the soft pads on the underside of its feet
and the care and precision with the way they move.
Not like me and my crew.
'But then suddenly, we're surrounded by swaying tails.
'Something is searching for a meal around us.'
Just come down here a little bit.
OK, the first thing you're going to see
is going to be tails held way up in the air like this.
Come with me, Johnny.
Wow, it's a big group!
'These snuffling shapes are coatis.
'They're like a marching, munching platoon of furry foot soldiers.'
They're generally quite bold, confident animals,
so I think if we move with them, just kind of carefully,
hopefully, we shouldn't spook them too much.
'Coatis are resourceful creatures and they'll stuff their faces
'with anything edible from bugs to birds' eggs
'and they snuffle out their dinner using that crazy nose.'
This big group is probably about 30 animals.
It'll all be made up of females and young males.
Once the males get mature, they head out on their own.
They can be dangerous. They'll kill the youngsters
and make a nuisance of themselves.
I just love the way that they're always on the move.
They're always out searching for something new to eat,
testing things out to see if they're good to eat.
They've settled in a group all around this tree in front of me.
There must be fruit that's fallen from the tree above us
and they're all feeding on it now.
All of them have their noses buried down the leaf litter.
Look at this one here. Look at the length of his nose!
As they're moving around,
they've all got their tails held stiffly up in the air.
It's a good way for them to keep an eye out
on where the rest of their fellows are.
They're on the move again.
Heading this way.
One of my noisy camera crew just trod on a twig
and they all scarpered.
'Watching each other's backs as they feed
'and keeping in constant contact with each other,
'coatis are experts at evading jaguar attacks.'
Well, being as we haven't actually come across a jaguar...yet,
I have a few things to show you why they have to be on the Deadly 60.
This is a jaguar skull.
This is a jaw that has the most powerful bite of any big cat
and it has that because of the way it kills its prey.
Those canine teeth are driven right through the back of the skull
and into the brain of its prey.
That sounds pretty incredible.
It will get even more incredible
when you look at what its prey looks like.
This is the skull of a peccary. It's a wild pig that lives around here.
That is where its brain is.
Can you imagine the force that has to be generated
to drive those teeth through that skull?
It's an incredibly raw deal for the jaguar's prey animals -
trying to avoid a cat that can creep to within metres
before you'd know they were there,
then bam - one lightning leap and it's all over!
They're camouflaged, stealthy and totally lethal.
Even more frightening, imagine how much less force it would need
to bite through into a human skull!
It's quite scary when you think about it like that.
'Our search continues into night - feeding time for the jaguar.
I've always felt really comfortable
wandering through the forest at night.
But here, you never know what's going to be round the next corner.
Knowing there are jaguar living in these forests
does give everything a little extra edge.
Us humans have comparatively such terrible sense of smell and vision
that really, they're pretty much invisible to us here.
It's a bit spooky knowing that out there in the shadows,
a jaguar could be watching us now.
'One advantage we do have
'is our torchlights pick up the eyeshine from nocturnal creatures
'and the glint of some beady eyes in the undergrowth
'has just grabbed my attention.'
This is the biggest true frog found in Costa Rica.
They're called smoky jungle frogs.
They've got a great singing voice as you can probably hear!
But that big mouth will take in some incredible prey.
They'll quite happily eat other frogs of a good size
this noisy frog could quite easily eat a snake as long as my arm.
Wow, you're a noisy one, aren't you?
I'm going to let you go in just a second.
Isn't he fantastic?
OK, he's obviously none too pleased,
so I think I'll let him go off and start hunting.
You're all right. Look, there you go.
That's some serious gas.
I've never seen a frog go so fast.
'So, back to my Deadly 60 mission to find a jaguar.
'I feel like we're being watched.
'There are eyes everywhere.'
This is one of the prettiest frogs in the world.
It's a red-eyed tree frog.
Absolutely gorgeous. Oh, just jumped straight on to the cameraman!
They have a habit of doing this.
At night-time like now, they're coming down...
-You might need to clean the lens a bit, Steve.
-Sorry about that.
At this time of night, they're coming down
from the tree tops to try and find a female. This is a male here.
Look at the beautiful colours running down the length of its body,
those blue and yellow bars and the bright, burning red eyes.
Right, come on, fella.
Oh, how about that?
You can see how well he sticks to the leaf.
Quickly, quickly, behind us.
What is it?
This is just remarkable.
Come with me.
I have never been this close to a tapir before
and it's just right in front of us.
He doesn't seem too fussed by us at all.
Look at that! Just wandering away...
It's easily the largest wild animal found round here -
the Baird's tapir.
Very curious creatures.
It has a prehensile snout for plucking fruit.
He's just looking at us now. Amazing eyeshine coming back off him.
No more than a stone's throw away from us.
The only times I've ever seen these animals before,
they've just been plunging through the undergrowth,
running away as quickly as possible,
but this one doesn't seem at all fussed. Look at that!
Tapirs are just about the favourite food
of the largest of the big cats found round here - the jaguar.
All the years I've spent travelling through tropical forests
that have tapirs,
I've never got even remotely close to one before.
And he's just not fussed at all.
Tapir have been known
to charge when they feel threatened and to bite,
but he's not giving us any aggressive signs.
Well, they're harmless fruit eaters
and there's no way I can put tapir on the Deadly 60,
but as far as wildlife experiences in this part of the world go,
it doesn't get any better than this.
'My crew and I were so desperate to find a jaguar,
'but we're going to have to admit defeat
'and the tapir goes some way to making up for my failure.
'They eluded me using the same silent cunning
'they use whilst hunting.
'With the most powerful bite of all cats,
'the jaguar is a sleek, camouflaged ambush predator,
'hunting with silent stealth, then a lightning pounce.
'The jaguar has booked a place on the Deadly 60.'
'Join me next time as I continue my search for the Deadly 60.'
Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd 2010
Email [email protected]
Steve and the crew are thrown deep in the steamy rainforests of Costa Rica. They are on a mission to find the largest cat in South America - the awesome jaguar. But the jungle is teeming with wildlife - from venomous snakes to squealing frogs - so there is plenty to see along the way.
Even after dark the forest is alive with deadly creatures, and down by the river Steve has a battle with a giant, reptilian predator.