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Welcome to my Deadly Top Ten.
A chance to choose the most extreme, mass-attacking, defending,
airborne, and super-sensing animals on the planet!
All deadly in their own world and occasionally deadly to me!
Who do you think will be number one Of the Deadly Top Ten?
In this countdown, I'm looking at the most incredible super senses
in the world of deadly hunters.
Animals with extraordinary hearing, sight, touch, taste
and even predatory senses we can only imagine.
They use these talents to hunt through murky waters,
amongst sand dunes, out in the ocean and even the dead of night.
Look at that!
With super senses like these, nowhere is safe!
Welcome to Deadly Top Ten Super Senses!
Starting us off is a bizarre-looking creature
with a highly specialised snout for unearthing its prey.
It's the giant anteater.
But in order to sniff one out, we'll need some helicopter help.
The anteater is a natural oddity. It has terrible hearing
and is almost blind, but makes up for that
with a phenomenal, super sense of smell,
crucial for finding food in these vast grasslands.
Look at that! OK, we need to fly as slow and low as we can.
The chopper is great for finding our lolloping anteater.
Oh, my goodness!
But to see that nose in action, I'll need to take a closer look.
So we're going in on foot.
And if we approach quietly from downwind,
the anteater won't be able to tell we're here.
(Just come up to here.)
He's feeding, so we can creep up even more
and get to see him snuffling about undisturbed.
(Look how close he is.)
This has got to be one of the most remarkable,
one of the most bizarre creatures in the whole world.
This is absolutely perfect for us
because the wind is coming from him, towards us.
They have a great sense of smell.
He's got his snout right down an ant-hole.
The long, pointed snout locks in on the wafts of scent
coming from ant and termite nests, like an ant-seeking missile.
Looks like he's feeding but he's actually even...
Looks like he's feeding around the branches of the tree.
Just can't believe how close we're getting!
Whilst preoccupied hoovering up ants, he isn't bothered by us,
but once the wind changes
and he catches a whiff of me and the crew, he's off.
Look at that.
He's just stopping to check me out every five metres or so.
Nose in the air, look, there you go, he's got me.
'So smell is the super sense that gets the giant anteater
'the number ten spot.'
But why does it need such a great sense of smell?
Well, take a look at what's on his menu.
These ant-like insects live in hardened termite mounds
as tough as concrete, so the anteater needs to sniff out
the best place to break and enter.
Their noses are 40 times more powerful than ours,
which means they can pinpoint their attack perfectly.
Armed with one of the largest claws of any mammal,
they neatly rip open the mound, and poke in their ridiculously long,
sticky, termite-tasting tongue to lap up a meal.
But within just 30 seconds, the soldier ants are on the attack.
The anteater's tongue darts in and out 150 times a minute,
snacking on several thousand termites.
But when the soldiers start biting, the anteater trundles off
to sniff out another meal.
The giant anteater is a hairy hoover of ants and termites.
It uses its super-sensing nose and sense of smell to target its attack.
At number nine on the list is a bizarre Amazonian specialist -
the pink river dolphin.
It's one I'm very excited to meet.
Ah look at that, look!
I don't believe it! Look, look, look!
Normally you're lucky just to catch a glimpse of these in the wild,
let alone get to go swimming with them!
Look at that!
These dolphins are used to being fed from here,
so come over to investigate.
I think it's probably worth just slipping straight in.
The river water is stained brown by the vegetation
but that doesn't matter, as they don't use their eyesight to hunt.
The water's like sort of warm cola here.
These animals have huge brains.
They're really intelligent.
And if there's a free meal on offer,
why waste time and energy on going out and hunting?
But as soon as I've finished feeding them
they'll be off, catching fish for themselves.
You tell him!
Amazing! He just decided he wanted Rich's boom pole,
the sound man, look at him! He's going for it again!
They're acrobatic, they're brainy, and they're beautiful.
But why are they in my top ten?
Well, their super sense is called echo location, making a sound,
and listening to it bounce back off objects in front of you.
The idea is simple, but these dolphins take it to another level.
They have large, swollen foreheads, called melons,
which send out high-frequency pulses of sound.
The clicks are deflected by objects underwater, like branches or fish,
and back to the dolphin, whose jawbone acts like an antenna,
and builds up a picture of their underwater world.
Using this sense, the river dolphin can pick out objects
as small as a pin, in the murkiest waters.
Their echo location even works at top speed to help them snatch fish!
In at number eight is a pair of light-fingered fishermen
with super-sensing hands.
The raccoon and the yapok, two predators who hunt in the dark,
using their impressive sense of touch.
First up, the raccoon.
An opportunistic masked bandit who'll look anywhere for a meal.
This one's hunting for a shellfish supper in a stream.
As it's dark, his eyesight isn't much use,
and he can't even smell well through the water.
He pads his front paws around over the rocks, feeling for food.
Touch is the raccoon's most powerful sense
and takes up as much brainpower as we use for sight.
Each fingertip is lined with very, very fine hairs,
like miniature whiskers, which feel the contours and outline of shapes.
This way, the raccoon can identify a clam in amongst rocks.
Or work out how to tackle a spiny crayfish
by forming a three-dimensional mental map,
and actually "seeing" with its hands!
Super senses at its fingertips.
So if the raccoon has hairy fingers to rummage around in the shallows,
what sensory trick does the yapok have up its sleeve?
The yapok is a fish hunting opossum
found in the freshwaters pools and streams of the Amazon forest.
It's a real aquatic specialist with dense, waterproof fur,
webbed back feet and a long tail, all perfect for swimming.
But it's the Gollum-like front feet
that are the yapok's super-sensing weapons when it hunts for fish.
It swims with its arms outstretched, with long, furless fingers,
groping for and grasping any fish it finds.
Those fingers are so good, the yapok can shut its eyes when hunting,
and relies purely on its whiskers and weird fingers
to find its way and snatch its supper.
So from our touchy-feely, super-sensing double act,
which one will make it on the list?
The yapok is freakishly brilliant
but the raccoon's sensitive digits work both on land and underwater,
so I think he steals it for me.
We're storming down the top ten list.
So far we've seen a super-sniffing anteater,
a river dolphin using its head to hunt,
and a raccoon with deadly digits.
So who could beat all that to number seven?
It's a unique freak with some equally unusual super senses.
It's the duck-billed platypus -
a surprisingly deadly underwater hunter.
Oh, there he goes!
Right, he's instantly getting busy.
'His webbed feet are paddling like crazy, checking out the tank.'
Ahh! Ha-ha-ha! He's gone right between my legs!
So this is how a platypus hunts in the wild, in freshwater streams.
Just searching around from side to side.
Almost like someone on a beach with a metal detector.
'He's searching for invisible electrical signals from his prey
'when he's hunting underwater.'
This platypus' rubbery bill
is packed with two special kinds of receptors.
It can close its ears, nose and eyes and still hunt under water!
Firstly, the touch receptors help the platypus feel its way around,
whilst the electro-receptors pick up small electric charges
from the muscles of any crustacean prey.
The bill's packed with 100,000 receptors
that scan forwards and down, like a barcode reader,
probing and searching ahead of it.
It's so efficient, a platypus can catch half its body weight a day.
So the beaver-tailed, web-footed, electro-receptive platypus
may be strange, but you can't deny its super senses!
We're "hotting up" now at number six,
as the next animal on the list can detect heat.
It's the blood-sucking vampire bat.
And it uses its super sense to locate a hot dinner.
The crew and I try and get a closer look.
In the darkest corners of the cave, fluttering shapes catch my eye.
Right. Let's see what we can get.
Woah! Look at him whirling around
to try and get his huge canine teeth into my fingers!
OK. So that is the face that all the fuss is about, the vampire bat.
So up above me now is a roost of about 30 or 40 vampire bats
and at night, they'll take wing.
Using that remarkable wing membrane,
and fly out in search of a warm blood meal.
They use these ridiculously sharp teeth at the front of the mouth.
I don't want my finger too close, because I know I'll get bitten.
But they shave away a portion of hair from the animal
that they're going to be feeding on, and then bite a tiny hole
and then lap away at the blood that leaks out,
and their saliva keeps the blood flowing.
It's what's called an anticoagulant.
And they take in about, about a soup spoon of blood
which doesn't sound like very much,
but when you look at the size of this tiny bat,
actually for its body weight, that's an enormous meal.
And like me drinking 70 pints of juice.
But before they can start feeding,
they have to find the best place to take a bite
and that's when their super sense comes in.
They can switch to heat-seeking mode.
Specialised areas on their noses
are sensitive to tiny changes in temperature,
so can pinpoint where blood runs close to the skin.
These bats have found the rump is the best cut,
and swarm around the white-hot areas, waiting to strike.
A surgical nip starts the blood flowing,
and in just 15 minutes, they're full.
And this little piggy doesn't feel a thing.
Which is all pretty gross!
We're half way through my countdown,
and have encountered a nifty nose,
a racoon that sees with its hands,
the bizarre bill of the platypus
and even a heat-seeking vampire bat.
But what other strange super senses do I have in store?
In at number five is a crafty desert specialist
that uses its whole body to track down its prey.
It's the sneaky, stalking sand-swimmer snake!
In desert sands, this hunter's body is perfectly adapted
for swimming through the sand.
Its face is streamlined,
its eyes are scratchproof
and it even has flaps in its nostrils to stop sand getting in!
But how is a hunter supposed to find its prey
if it can't see where it's going when diving in the dunes?
Well, this snake's toughened scales
are each packed with receptors that detect vibrations in the sand.
Yes, this snake can actually see with its skin!
Gliding through the grains of sand,
the snake settles into an ambush position and waits for dusk.
Desert creatures like this scorpion
can't help but disturb the surface as they scamper over the sand.
The snake "feels" these tremors like seismic shockwaves
all over its skin, building up a picture of what's moving overhead.
So it inches closer, pausing to feel for more vibrations,
and closing in on its quarry.
The scorpion has no idea what lies beneath.
Using its super sensing scales,
the snake can tell the faintest movement of its prey.
It finishes the hunt with a venomous bite and crush from its coils.
Its scales are this serpent's secret weapon.
Fighting for the number four slot are two mammals
each with phenomenal hearing, and sets of ears to match!
It's the bat-eared fox versus the long-eared bat
but which one will make it on to the list?
First up is the fox.
Stalking the dry grasslands, it's a highly specialised insect hunter,
kitted out with serious surveillance equipment.
They can use their mammoth ears to listen for insects underground.
Folded forward, furry ears trap and channel the smallest sounds
down to super-sensitive ear drums,
meaning they can pick up the minute rustlings
of prey several centimetres underground.
It's almost as if they have x-ray ears.
They'll snaffle up grubs, bugs and even termites, one by one.
Their super-sensitive ears mean they can listen in to lunch,
and hear the sound of supper.
Hearing insects underground is pretty impressive,
but how about the long-eared bat?
How does its heightened hearing match up? Let's take a look.
Like most nocturnal bats, this one uses sonar to fly around at night.
Its clever echo-location helps it navigate tangled woodland
but that isn't the super sense it uses to hunt.
It's equipped with giant, paper-thin ears
- over a third of its body length -
perfect for hunting its favourite snack - moths.
Some moths can hear the clicks of a bat's sonar
so this long-eared bat can turn its off,
switch to stealth mode, and just listen.
Those enormous ears can pick out the smallest movements of the moth.
Hovering with senses locked on, the ears isolate other noises,
so can pick out the faintest rustle.
And it gets its reward!
So who's the winner the bat-eared fox with long ears,
or the foxy, long-eared bat?
It's a close call, but with the fox able to hear insects
wriggling under the soil,
it just beats the bat and makes it to number 4.
We're getting near to the top of the list now,
and up next at three is a hunter with two super senses.
It's the tarsier
a miniature jumping primate with a real spring in its step.
(Johnny, Johnny where's Johnny?)
(Come in here.)
And it's giving us the bounce-around.
(Oh, there he goes.)
Tarsiers can leap over three metres,
and are totally at home in these forests at night.
They don't half move. Look at that!
They're certainly keeping me and the crew on our toes.
The most remarkable, bizarre, little gremlin I've ever seen.
It's kind of almost like a hodge-podge,
a mix of other nocturnal animals.
Those huge eyes and the swivelling, turning head,
are very much like you'd see in an owl.
The great big, thin, membranous ears and those sharp teeth.
They're more like those you'd see on a bat.
And like bats, these guys love munching insects.
He's spotted it, straight away. Go on.
This is incredible.
He's sprung in.
Look at that, he's just a metre above my head.
Look, he's getting ready to spring.
That was awesome.
And he's going to settle down over there somewhere
and munch his way through that huge cricket.
Tarsiers are the only totally meat-eating primates on Earth.
And they need their super senses
to catch their meal in almost complete darkness.
His ears are just moving in every direction,
just focusing the sound, almost like a satellite dish.
And he's spotted something.
He kind of sees something,
you can see his ear focus on it, then his head goes around.
He sees it with his eyes and then, boing!
Just pounces off and grabs it.
The tarsier's huge eyeballs, each one the size of their brain,
are superb at picking out movement - even in the faintest light.
And their perky ears can move independently, to pick up
the ultrasonic rustlings of moths and crickets in the canopy.
Combined, these two super senses lock on to prey
like a homing device, and then bounce in for the kill.
Spiky teeth finish it off.
So which super sense makes it to number two?
It's a supreme stealth hunter. The Nile crocodile.
This monster killer is kitted out with sharp eyesight
and a well-developed sense of smell.
But the super sense that puts them near the top of my list
is far more subtle.
The edges of their jaws are studded with black dots,
knobbly sensory pits that work as pressure detectors
for picking up movements and vibrations in the water.
Each pit's packed with highly sensitive nerve fibres
that are constantly "feeling" the water, ready to pick up
traces of movement that mean it's time to launch an attack.
These pits work like the eyes and ears of crocs
as they lie in wait at murky watering holes.
Crocodiles are ambush hunters.
Even a monster croc can hide itself in just 30 centimetres of water.
They can stay submerged, for up to three hours, just waiting.
They'll inch into position painfully slowly,
and wait for those pits to tell them
that that the prey are within millimetres of their jaws.
MUSIC - "Phat Planet" by Leftfield
And then, at the right moment, they lunge forward.
Sensory pits allow this huge reptilian hunter
to creep up on its prey to within launching distance
by feeling its way, with its face!
We're nearing number one, so it's time for the super senses countdown.
Not to be sniffed at,
the termite terminating giant anteater is at ten.
Pretty in pink at number nine, it's the echo-locating river dolphin.
Hands-on at number eight, it's our soft pawed racoon.
Crustacean catching seven is the duck-billed platypus.
At number six is the bloodthirsty vampire bat.
Burrowing its way in at five is the sinister sand-swimmer snake.
Sensing vibrations in the floor at four, it's the bat-eared fox.
Bouncing in at three is the boggle-eyed, bug-munching tarsier.
Toothy two is our patient, pit-using predator the Nile crocodile.
The animal with the ultimate super sense
is probably the closest thing in the natural world to an alien -
Their bizarre enhanced eyesight
is what makes these mesmerising molluscs deadly predators.
And as I dive down to meet some, all eyes are on me.
Here in the shallows, the cuttlefish have gathered together to mate.
This genuinely is one of the weirdest creatures in the seas.
There are giant cuttlefish absolutely everywhere.
You can't move without seeing 30 or 40 of them just disappear.
I think actually one's nibbling on my leg!
The giant cuttlefish is like an underwater chameleon.
They can change their colours through camouflage
to completely match their background.
But also they can do it to describe their mood
just like a chameleon can.
This is amazing!
To us, it might seem to be all about looks with the cuttlefish,
but it's not just their displays that make them out of this world.
MUSIC - "Dr Who" by Smerins Anti-Social Club
Their alien eyesight is their incredible,
almost extra-terrestrial weapon for hunting.
Their pupils, shaped like Ws, scan the sea floor for prey
yet surprisingly for such rainbow warriors,
they're completely colour-blind!
But don't be fooled,
their eyes are amongst the most developed in the animal kingdom
and instead of seeing colour, they see polarised light.
Through water, light gets bounced around off different surfaces
like the outline of a fish or crab.
The cuttlefish's strange super-sensing vision means
it can see this scattered light like a black and white image,
making animals that think they're hiding stick out like a sore thumb.
Their eyesight's crucial to helping them copy their surroundings
and put on the most astonishing displays of mimicry.
They're masters of disguise,
literally changing shape and colour to stalk their prey.
This sneaky cuttlefish has puckered up to match itself perfectly
to a piece of seaweed, floating slowly along the ocean floor.
Once within range, this all-seeing alien invades the space further
by launching its sucker-lined tentacles in a deadly strike.
Even an armoured crab is no match
for the all-seeing, spaghetti-armed cuttlefish.
Our outright winner at number one.
So that's it, Deadly Top Ten Super Senses sorted.
Don't forget to join me next time for more Deadly Top Tens.
Who's going to be the next Deadly number one?
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd