Naomi Wilkinson shares the unseen nightmares from the filming of series three, including the biggest big cat in Finland and the spooky jungles of Borneo at night.
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Welcome to my Nightmares Of Nature.
I'm Naomi Wilkinson.
And I'm coming face to face with the nightmares of the animal world.
The ones that make your spine tingle...
..your heart beat faster...
..and your blood run cold.
Are they truly terrifying?
Or is there a twist in the tale?
Come with me as I shine a light on wildlife's deepest, darkest secrets.
And see if you can guess which will be my Worst Nightmare.
This series, I've traversed the globe,
seeking out the biggest, ugliest,
creepiest and those hidden horrors on my quest
to find nature's very worst nightmares.
But some of the nasties me and my crew have met,
we just haven't had time to show you.
So, I give you
Naomi's Nightmares Of Nature: The Bonus Bits.
'We'll venture to a not-so-serene temple in Thailand...'
'..search the dark, creepy rainforests of Borneo
'for a nocturnal nasty...'
Look, creeping through the branches!
'..and track down an eight-legged legend
'in the baking deserts of Mexico.'
Those are massive fangs!
But my unseen adventures start in the freezing snows of Finland.
I've come to Ranua Wildlife Park to meet Miia.
Hiya, I'm Naomi.
'She's taking me to meet Finland's biggest big cat, the lynx.
'But first impressions can be deceptive...'
What a gorgeous creature, just looks like a big pussycat
you want to cuddle and stroke.
What could be nightmarish about that?
'But Miia tells me that behind this giant pussycat exterior,
'there lurks a fearsome feline
'with a very unique way of catching its prey.'
If I was to see a wild lynx hunting,
how would it go about it in these sort of conditions?
They would run and then they would do
a few giant leaps towards the prey.
So, quite springy, those legs are very powerful.
Yes, especially the hind legs.
This powerful pounce enables the lynx
to take down prey four times their own size.
They'll eat wild pigs, rabbits and even young reindeer.
'But the lynx's lethal leap means you don't have to live
'on the ground to make it onto their menu.'
So, does that mean she eats things like birds?
Yeah, actually, that's one of the important foods for the lynxes.
She can catch them in the air?
Yeah, if there's a good opportunity she will jump up...
-And snatch them out of the sky?
-Yeah, quite fast.
'Plucking birds out of the sky - now, this I have to see.
'But at the ripe old age of 18,
'Bella is a bit too old for the high jump.
'However, just next door, there's a leaping legend
'capable of astonishing aerial acrobatics.'
In this enclosure we have Betina, who's Bella's daughter,
she's a lot younger and she's in her prime, so hopefully she's going to
show us the lynx's leaping prowess, using this.
Going to put a little bit of bait on the end
and do a spot of cat fishing!
'Cameras rigged, and Betina looks raring to go!'
We're lowering the bait.
She's got her beady eye on it!
Come on, let's see the spring in those legs.
Wow, what a jump!
She did a real squat down, coiled spring and then...kapow!
She must have hit that at about three metres.
'That's the equivalent of me jumping as high as a house!'
She nearly pulled me in with it!
That was amazing - two front paws just...
That was nuts, how high she jumped.
'But can she go higher?'
This is going to be worth a leap.
This is all part of the enrichment programme for the lynx here.
It replicates the methods they'd have to use in the wild
to catch their food, so it's good for her.
Yes, yes, yes!
She caught it with her paw - she can reach it there.
That's amazing, go on!
Nearly, nearly, nearly.
Wow, did you see that?
What an impressive jump, and from a standing start.
I would not want to be on the menu
of a hungry, wild lynx. No, thank you!
There's nowhere to hide, and that is why the lynx's
nightmare credentials could see it leap into the lead.
If there's one place that really puts the fear into me,
They're full of biting bugs and all sorts of scary beasts.
And I found the tropical rainforests of Borneo were no exception.
A haven for all things nightmarish.
That is so impressive.
I've never seen anything like it!
Huh, it just popped it open - pop!
'But if there's one thing more terrifying than daytime jungle,
'it's the jungle at night,
'and that's when my next nightmare creature starts to stir.'
Oh, yes - love coming out in the jungle at night.
Not creepy at all(!)
'Luckily, I've got a guide in the darkness.
'This is Kirsty...
'..a primate researcher at the Danau Girang Field Centre.'
So, do you often go out at night in the forest?
Yeah, pretty much, that's what I do here.
You see loads of animals, a lot more at night than you do in the day.
OK, so, what animal is it that we're going to see?
We're going to go and see a slow loris.
A slow loris, hmm!
'Well, that sounds OK.
'If it's slow, we can run away,
'and "loris" sounds kind of cute!
'Maybe this night-time jungle thing isn't so bad.
'On our hunt for this mystery mammal, we've got technology on our side.
'The slow loris we are after has been fitted with a radio collar,
'so, with help of Kirsty's colleague, Roxy, we hope to track it down.'
Hi, Roxy. Have you found it?
It's up there.
Right, I can't see anything.
I don't really know what I'm looking for. What sort of size is it?
So, if you keep your light up...
Oh, there, there, there.
Look, there, creeping through the branches!
Slow lorises are distant cousins of monkeys,
and closely related to lemurs.
They're nocturnal, hence those enormous, doe-y eyes.
Their hands are designed for grasping,
ideal for moving around their treetop home.
Oh, and of course, covered in snugly fur - lovely!
Now, that looks super cute.
What could possibly be a nightmare about that?
See, these are actually the only venomous primates in the world.
Their bites are really toxic.
They can actually, like, rot flesh.
Humans have actually died from the bite of the slow loris
and we've actually witnessed this slow loris in a fight with
-another one, and the other one's head was ripped to pieces.
'Oh! So, more highly toxic and head-ripping than cute.'
So, they've got a gland on their elbows that secretes a fluid
and they mix this fluid with their saliva
and that gives them a venomous bite.
-So they'll bite into the other animal.
That's a wolf in sheep's clothing, then, isn't it?
'One theory is that the slow lorises take the toxins from the poisonous
'insects they eat and then condense them down to make their own venom.
'But why does this not-so-sweet little primate need venom?'
There's a few reasons that scientists think why.
One is for predator defence,
because nothing's going to go near it when it's so venomous,
and another reason is that it's an insecticide,
so, slow lorises hardly have any leeches or mites on them.
Not having the problems we're having tonight,
with all these bugs everywhere!
If they've got babies, the mothers will cover the babies in the venom
and then they can go off and leave them, and they'll just be fine.
So if anything did come along and bite them, they'd just spit them out.
'So, highly venomous, but at least they're slow -
'I could still run away if worst came to worst.'
They're not slow at all! It was named completely wrong.
Oh. Why did it get that name, then, do you think?
When it's scared, they freeze,
so that's their way of, like... And they'll hide their face.
Think they'll be more hidden if they don't move at all?
Well, it turns out you can't judge a book by its cover.
At first glance, you just want to give that gorgeous little
fluff ball a cuddle, but actually, in reality, the loris is a
toxic-tongued terror and could easily run away, and not that slowly,
I might add, with the Worst Nightmare gold medal.
On my journey around the world,
I took a road trip along the glorious UK coast
to search for our very own home-grown horrors.
Oh, my goodness!
They're not scared of us, are they?
Ninja limpet - who would have thought it?
But there is one particularly slimy UK beast that you haven't seen yet.
'Warning - if you are of a nervous disposition,
'you probably shouldn't watch this.
'I'm on the hunt for lugworm...
'..a beach burrower that lives all around our shores
'and has some very nasty toilet habits.
'For this search, I've enlisted help from local fisherman Neil...'
'..who comes to dig up worms for bait,
'and he gives me the lowdown on what we're looking for.'
That's lugworm there.
-So you found all of these just this morning?
Urgh, look at them all, writhing around in there!
How many are there of these things?
-Oh, millions, I'd say.
'In fact, there can be up to 100 lugworm
'in one square metre of beach!'
So, that's what makes all these squiggles you see in the sand?
Yeah, the casts.
'Lugworm live beneath the surface.
'They suck up great mouth-loads of sand, filtering out anything
'they can eat, and squirt the unwanted bits out of their bottoms.'
So, essentially, that's really lugworm poo?
'Even so, I can't resist finding out
'if they feel as disgusting as they look!'
-Oh, no, that doesn't feel too bad.
-Quite slimy, bit cold.
Oh, what's this yellow goo coming out of it?
What, is this its wee, or...?
-I should think so, yeah.
'So, pooing on the beach and weeing on my hand -
'not much to like about the lugworm so far.'
Stop giggling, stop laughing!
It's just done a wee on my hand.
Urgh, look at its weird face!
That is the strangest mouth I've ever seen.
Urgh, it's creeping me out! Really, really gross. What is it doing?
It's kissing you, Nomes.
Is it giving me a kiss? Doesn't make it feel any better.
Urgh! Sorry if you are currently eating your breakfast.
That is going to totally put you off.
'But despite their appearance,
'lugworm actually do an essential job around our coast.
'By eating all the dead material
'that would otherwise smell and spread disease,
'they ensure that Britain's beaches are some of the best in the world.
'So, instead of focusing on that face
'that, really, only a mother could love...'
Urgh, it's creeping me out! Really, really gross.
'..or the fact their toilet habits leave a lot to be desired...'
It's just done a wee on my hand.
'..maybe we should be thanking the slippery lugworm
'for the clean-up job they do.
'So, for that reason, I'm going to say
'that lugworm is NOT going to be my Worst Nightmare.'
The biggest fish on the planet -
the whale shark was just one of the spine-tingling encounters
I had in the Wild West of Mexico,
where I found shootin', tootin' nightmares
popping up all over the place.
They'll make another bird puke up the fish and then eat it mid-air?
'But my bonus beastie of the Baja Desert is a creature
'straight out of a horror movie.'
We've featured a lot of spiders on Nightmares Of Nature,
some big, some small, some venomous, some harmless, some ugly, some...
Others not quite so ugly.
So, you might think we've pretty much covered our eight-legged friends.
But there is one spider we haven't met yet,
and it's probably the most famous spider of all.
When it comes to nightmare animals, the tarantula is a real superstar.
It's featured as a terrifying threat in countless films and books,
where that ominous, arachnid outline
has turned it into the ultimate creepy-crawly.
But is this menacing reputation really deserved?
This desert is the perfect place to go on a tarantula hunt, because
there are literally thousands and thousands of them living here.
Sadly for us, though, we've run out of time, haven't we?
-Aww, that's a shame.
-No, no, we're OK for time.
Tarantulas are the biggest spiders on the planet.
They ambush their prey and dispatch them with a single bite!
Being largely nocturnal, they spend most of the day
hidden in a burrow, making them quite hard to find.
So, I've enlisted the help of local wildlife expert Victor
and translator Scott.
Come over and see this, Steve.
Victor's found a spider's web under a rock.
Do you think there's a tarantula under the rock now?
-It's possible, si.
So, might the tarantula come to investigate what's happening now?
HE SPEAKS SPANISH
So, we might see a tarantula in a minute.
HE SPEAKS SPANISH
It'll come out and look for food, right!
'But... Oh, what a shame, looks like nobody's home.'
HE SPEAKS SPANISH
We're going to look elsewhere.
-And hope for luck.
We'll hope for luck, or not!
'Never has anyone tried harder NOT to find a tarantula.'
Look at me, searching enthusiastically(!)
'And looks like my luck has held. Yes!
'Oh, no - there's something more powerful than luck
'and that's a spider that Victor found earlier.
'Hurrah, so I am going to get to meet one after all! Yay(!)'
Really? Won't it hurt me?
So, it's got little hooks on the end
and that helps it grip and climb up things.
HE SPEAKS SPANISH
-That is to trap the prey.
Aah! Oh, I think we're going to see its fangs now.
Does this hurt it?
-HE SPEAKS SPANISH
-Just the same as opening his mouth.
Oh, right, like opening your mouth, easy!
-But those are massive fangs!
'These hollow, hinged fangs deliver a fatal, venomous bite
'into the tarantula's victim.'
And that kind of turns its prey into sort of soup
and it can slurp it all up like a straw?
What sort of animal would the tarantula be hunting?
HE SPEAKS SPANISH
-They can eat insects, small lizards and even mice.
Are they dangerous to humans?
HE SPEAKS SPANISH
-You can have it if you want also.
Just to prove to you that they're not dangerous to us.
I'm not that keen on spiders, but if you say so.
HE SPEAKS SPANISH
OK, come on.
It's so light, isn't it?
What would happen if it bit me?
HE SPEAKS SPANISH
-So, it would just be a little bit painful. OK.
Has anyone ever died from a tarantula bite?
-In all of Mexico there is not any species of tarantula
that is dangerous to humans.
-So, really not dangerous.
Look at me - holding a big old hairy spider, and I'm all right.
This is progress. You can overcome your fears. I'm living proof.
Look, I'm OK!
'I feel like I'm starting to see another side of
'this supposedly fearsome beast.'
I actually don't mind this at all.
My feeling towards spiders have changed massively.
But they do look pretty creepy.
You can see why people are afraid of them.
-They're pretty big spiders, aren't they?
'It seems that the terrible tarantula is not so terrifying after all.'
Far from being the vicious villains they're made out to be,
this big, dare I say it, beautiful spider is actually quite mellow
and really not any danger to us humans at all.
Mind you, if I was an insect or a lizard, I wouldn't fancy
being on the pointy end of those enormous, big fangs, so perhaps
the tarantula is still in with a chance of being my Worst Nightmare.
'My next stop is Thailand, a country packed with
'nightmares on a truly impressive scale.'
You are incredible!
Argh! If only I had wrists like gibbons'.
This snake is enormous.
'After all that nightmare hunting, I think it's time to find
'somewhere calm, tranquil, peaceful.
'A place to relax.
'And what better place than a Buddhist temple?'
Buddhism is the central religion of Thailand,
and its followers regularly practise the ancient art
of meditation. It's a fantastic way to relax,
to be at one with the world, find your inner peace,
eradicating all those nightmares.
EVEN LOUDER SCREECHING
'But my peaceful moment is short-lived,
'interrupted, as so often happens to me, by the stuff of nightmares.
'Aargh! Blood-sucking vampires!'
All that noise is coming from these trees over here.
They've been taken over by an enormous colony of giant bats.
Look at them all!
These are Lyle's fruit bats, one of largest bats in the world.
From tip to tip, they can stretch almost a metre.
'Bats the world over put the fear into so many people,
'and when they're this gigantic, they certainly look pretty scary.
'But is this huge and slightly creepy-looking bat
'really the stuff of nightmares?'
In truth, these are not blood-sucking vampires.
They do have another name -
they're also called fruit bats, they're vegetarians.
They dine on fruit and flowers, not flesh.
'That said, they are still very, very noisy!'
All the noise is just them competing for space.
There's a bit of a premium on every little branch here.
They're all fighting over it.
They're everywhere - from the lowest branch right to
the top of the tree is absolutely covered.
It's like a spooky Christmas tree, covered in bat baubles.
'But the plus side of living in someone else's armpit is that
'any predator coming to look for a meal is going to face
'a confusing mass of beating wings.
'Picking out one bat in this chaos is far from easy.'
Even if you don't find them frightening,
there is one aspect of this mass of bats that is a nightmare.
It's been a lovely day and yet it's been raining bat poo!
Mmm! I really do not approve of their toilet habits.
Don't poo - you, straight above me!
'But even their nightmarish toilet habits
'have a very important role to play.
'Having feasted on fruit, every fruit bat poo is full of seeds
'and packaged up with a pile of fertiliser to help them grow.
'Fruit bats can fly up to 60km in a single night,
'planting trees as they go.'
It's getting late.
The sun is just dipping over the horizon
and the bats are starting to get a little bit restless.
Something big is about to happen.
'As dusk approaches, these bats prepare
'to head off in search of food.'
It's fantastic - against this beautiful, reddish-pink sunset,
you've got bat silhouettes everywhere.
The sun is almost down, more and more are taking to the skies.
'We've had a report that they're flying out over the river.'
Come, Steve. Come, Rich.
'And this could give us a chance
'to get a really good look at those enormous wings.'
It started out just one or two of them
and now there is more and more coming out over the river.
Oh, my goodness, they're everywhere!
Feels so exciting to be right in the middle of all the action.
It's the perfect bat silhouette against the sky.
'All over the tropics, fruit bats leave their day roosts
'in their thousands to look for food.
'Their large, hairless wings would dry out in the tropical sun,
'and so flying at night is their best option.'
Part of me is in awe of this spectacle, the other half
can't help but be a little spooked.
It's like a scene from Dracula's castle.
They may be harmless veggies, but they are enormous,
they're noisy and their toilet habits are revolting.
This batty bonanza could well flap its way to become my Worst Nightmare.
'So, that rounds up my global travels.
'All that remains is for me to decide which new nasty will top my list.
'Could it be the leaping lynx with its flying feline predation method?'
What an impressive jump!
'Or the terrifying tarantula with its rascally reputation?'
They do look creepy, you can see why people are afraid of them.
'This time, the creature that tops my bonus list of
'nightmare encounters is...
'that wolf in sheep's clothing,
'the vicious, venomous and not-so-cuddly slow loris.'
Humans have actually died from the bite of the slow loris.
Ohh! Stew, the producer
has just had something bite his bottom.
It was a mammoth or a giant tiger or something.
It's probably an ant.
Stew, if you see loads of ants on the floor, don't stand in them!
Prepare yourself for a whirlwind global adventure with Naomi Wilkinson as she shares the unseen nightmares from the filming of series three. She goes 'cat fishing' to show the lethal leap of the biggest big cat in Finland, searches the spooky jungles of Borneo at night for a toxic teddy, and visits a temple in Thailand, where her relaxation is rudely interrupted by a colony of giant bats.