Steve Backshall challenges a team of artists to create deadly animal art. Jo and Nicola fill the studio with sand to make a sculpture of a snapping turtle.
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I'm Steve Backshall, and this is Deadly Art.
I'm lucky enough to travel the world,
tracking deadly animals.
But in this show, I'm picking 25 of my favourites...
..and challenging my team of deadly artists
to recreate a killer moment.
You'll get to make some art,
and in the final show, my team and I are going to choose which animals
will make it into my Deadly Art Gallery.
This is no ordinary art show, this is Deadly Art!
On today's Deadly Art...
I meet a curious creature who's seriously snappy.
The head snaps out like that.
My team of deadly artists recreate a killer moment..
We need to do something really big.
..and you can make your own Deadly Art at home too.
Here's today's chosen animal.
This ruthless reptile lives underwater.
It's been around for millions of years
-and with a bite that's
he's a true monster of the deep.
Well, the monster in question is...
the alligator snapping turtle.
Yes, I know. It is a bit of a weird name.
The alligator snapping turtle spends its time
sat on the bottom of a swamp, looking a bit like a log.
But the clever thing is,
he gets his lunch to come to him with a cunning con.
On the end of its tongue is a lure that looks a bit like a worm
And makes its prey swim right inside.
It's going to be a challenge to recreate this monster.
Time to meet the artists who are waiting for their mission.
I'm Nicola. I'm an ice sculptress and a power tool queen.
I'm Jo. I like using gloss paint, human hair -
all sorts of different materials but most of all, I like making a mess.
In a moment, you'll join me and the Deadly 60 crew
in the Deep South of the USA on a hunt for alligator snapping turtles.
First, let's take a look at the killer shot
I'd like my artists to recreate.
And their art has to include these three essential elements.
Size. With its spiked shell,
beak-like jaws and thick-scaled tail,
this species is often called the dinosaur of the turtle world.
They can grow up to 113kg.
That's the weight of three 12-year-olds.
The shell. Turtles evolved around 200 million years ago.
Snapping turtles have long ridges along their back,
very similar to those on an alligator.
That's part of the reason they got their name,
along with their amazing snap action.
Prey is enticed in to their mouth, thinking they're getting a meal.
What they get is one of the fiercest bites in the world.
So, Jo and Nicola, get stuck in to your Deadly Art.
That is the weirdest thing I have seen.
But that worm is part of the killer moment,
so we have to get it in.
OK. Look at his head!
It's huge! It's almost out of proportion to his body
It looks prehistoric. It's like a dinosaur.
We need to do something big.
His skin is so rough and rugged looking.
I tell you what's good for that - sand!
We're going to need a lot of it.
Jo and Nicola are using their brute strength.
I think this could get a bit messy.
Right. We've got masses of sand for our turtle.
Let's get compacting.
Snapping turtles love dark, murky, fresh water.
So, we're heading to the Black Bayou Wetlands
in the US southern state of Louisiana.
To help find one, I've enlisted the help of an expert.
This is Mitch.
He's studying the turtles.
The Black Bayou is pretty vast.
And the water is, as you can see, pretty murky.
So our chances of just happening across the animal
we're looking for, are pretty slender.
We put out these hoop net traps...
..and there's fresh fish bait inside.
I'm really hoping...
..that we've caught something special.
We actually have three.
I don't believe it!
Look at the size of the head on that one!
Stick around because I'll get closer
to these turtles in just a moment.
But how are Jo and Nicola getting on in the Deadly Art studio?
Because I want the jaws of the turtle to be wide open
so we can see the insides of his mouth,
it needs to be extremely strong so that it can hold its own weight.
That's why I've got a box, loads of sand, loads of water,
and I'm going to use machinery to compact this sand down,
so it becomes really, really strong.
I'm loving how extreme Deadly Art can be.
Now Jo's going to show you how to do a portrait
of the snapping turtle.
First off, a big square in the middle of my page.
And an oval coming down here...
which will be his leg.
Here we have a rectangle.
And then a triangle down here and a triangle down here.
Now we have to join it up.
So I'm doing quite jaggedy lines...
..because he's got such gnarly skin.
Up here, I'm going to do
these triangular shapes which is just to hint
at where his ridges on his back will be.
Those claws look fierce, Jo!
Now I've got to put in where his mouth's going to be.
I'm going to have a line going right down the centre
of that square that I drew.
And that's going to be the far edge of his mouth.
The alligator snapping turtle has got lots of ridges around his neck
which I'm going to draw in.
OK. I mustn't forget that little wriggly worm inside his mouth.
I'll pop that in now.
The more shading you do, the more intricate the drawing will be.
so, I'm just going to start off around the edges.
OK, I'm going to go into the mouth now.
Really build up those layers
to get that really dark, cavernous jaw.
Don't forget to leave out the worm.
So, now I'm going to go back into it, just with a rubber.
This will really bring it out and highlight certain areas.
It makes a more 3D drawing and makes it much more realistic.
Rubbing along those tough ridges.
My Deadly Doodle alligator snapping turtle.
Nice portrait, Jo!
Now, back to our huge sand sculpture.
There we go.
So, we've got one part for the body and one block for the head.
The sand's compacted, ready for sculpting.
This is my outline for the profile of the turtle.
This mark here is going to be where his mouth is.
As you can see, his jaws are going to be wide open.
That's why I needed a strong block of sand.
OK, so I've made two spikes on the turtle shell.
And the way I've been doing that is by getting this lovely mud...
..making a pancake, slapping it down hard.
And then, putting some dry sand over the top.
Patting it down a bit more.
And we're just layering it up.
That's the biggest mud pie I've ever seen!
I think that's high enough.
OK, we'll leave Jo making a mess and travel back to Louisiana
to get close to our three alligator snapping turtles.
Good job, man. Good job. You got him.
That is a big turtle.
Look at the size of that head!
It's totally out of proportion to the whole of the rest of the body
and most of that is just pure muscle power driving that jaw.
It's almost like a great big curved kitchen knife.
Looking at the shape of the head and the body
it's very irregular.
The colour's quite dark and he blends in really, really well
with all the vegetation at the bottom of the water here.
And then as soon as a fish gets too close, the head snaps
out like that.
The jaws clamp shut incredibly quickly,
and the fish is history.
The snapping turtle's head was huge
and our big sand sculpture looks just as deadly.
I've got the main body of his head already carved in now.
And now I'm working on inside his mouth
and I want this bit to look dramatic
so I'm going to carve underneath
so it really looks like it's got that curly, wiggly shape.
Jo's on to the legs.
So, I've four mounds of sand
and I'm packing these down really, really tightly,
just like with the body.
And then in with the trowel.
I never knew sand sculpting could look so detailed and intricate.
This looks superb!
Nicola's using her muscles again.
Sand sculpting may look hard work,
but if you're at the beach this summer or have a sandpit,
here's how you can make one too.
Over to Nicola.
The compacting process is really important,
just like with our big turtle.
We need to apply loads of pressure.
Just start smacking it down.
And you can start to see the shape of his shell already.
Next, we need those all-important ridges.
And for that I'm going to use some of this sand
and lots of water to make this really gooey, disgusting mud stuff.
Then, taking small amounts at a time,
you can start to pinch on his central ridge.
Now, he has three ridges on his back.
One on the top
and two either side.
Much better than making sand castles!
Now, he also has a lip all the way around.
So, using your hands,
you can pinch a shape
around the entire shell.
Now to add his head.
Take some spare sand and just dump it in a pile in the top.
Add some water.
Now, his head has got a little ridge in it
so I'm just going to create that using my hand.
Take away the excess sand that we don't need...
..until you've got your base shape to work with.
His mouth is just an S-shape.
So, starting at his beak,
just cut a nice, smooth S.
You could use your spade to carve out the detail.
You can start to see his mouth.
I'll do the same on the other side.
Round his head.
I'm just going to cut here for his eyes.
Just grab a small ball...
..and stick it on.
Now for his feet.
So, he's going to have one there, one here.
Give them a sprinkling of water, just to make them easy to use.
There we go.
Now to shape them.
Just mould them in to position.
So, cutting those leg shapes.
For his claws, just score in some toes.
And last, but not least, his tail.
And there you have it -
your deadly snapping alligator turtle.
Looking great, Nicola!
And our huge sand sculpture's complete too.
Well, for the sheer scale of it,
it has prehistoric portions, so I think we've got that one.
Well, that's the dimensions sorted.
I love what you did with the shell.
Those spikes give it that deadly dinosaur feel.
And what do you reckon to his mouth?
Can you see why they call it the alligator snapping turtle?
Oh, yeah. With the fish being lured in by that worm.
That is the killer moment!
So, it's time for the big reveal.
Remember this is the killer moment I challenged my artists to recreate.
So, let's take a look at our finished art.
Look at that!
Amazing! This is truly deadly
and represents all the qualities I asked Nicola and Jo to include.
A sand sculpture may not have been an obvious choice,
but it really works.
The dimensions of this dinosaur-like turtle
The head and the mouth are really prominent
and it's easy to get a sense of the primitive nature of this creature
that's been around for millions of years.
I love the shell.
The Deadly team have really captured my killer moment
even down to its open beak mouth, waiting to snap at any passing fish.
Art definitely doesn't get any deadlier than this.
That's a top deadly rating from me
but will it make it into my Deadly Gallery?
Maybe. See you next time for more Deadly Art.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Inspired by his amazing list of Deadly 60 animals, Steve Backshall challenges a team of artists to create astounding deadly animal art! Jo and Nicola fill the studio with sand to make a massive sculpture of a snapping turtle, and show how to make your own sand sculpture.