Documentary. Animatronic spy creatures discover that mischief is rife in nature, but there are still rules that govern the animals' lives.
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The world is full of extraordinary animals.
But how well do we really understand them?
How do they really think and feel?
To find out, a team of spy creatures is going undercover.
They not only look like part of the family,
they behave like them, too.
Armed with the latest camera technology...
..they are going to travel the globe
to understand the true nature of the animals they meet
and reveal how intelligent they really are...
..how badly behaved they can be...
..how important friendship is to them...
..and if it's possible that they can truly love each other.
What they discover will change our perception of animals forever.
Perhaps they're more like us than we ever believed possible.
Animals are the masters of misbehaviour,
but what makes them break the rules?
When it comes to causing mayhem, monkeys are the experts.
In India, a troop of 30 rhesus macaques
have commandeered an old water trough
to use as their personal diving pool.
And the bigger the splash...
..the greater the fun.
Spy baby macaque is perfectly poised
to record just how mischievous they really are.
It seems like pandemonium -
everyone does their own thing in their own particular style.
Even the nervous.
It's all about having fun and soaking as many mates as possible.
Spy macaque attracts suspicion
but manages to escape relatively unscathed.
But, for a real baby, a pool without rules can be frightening.
The mother is wise to be protective,
but perhaps things aren't quite as anarchic as they seem.
Splash a grown-up and you suffer the consequences.
Soak the wrong kid and his angry mother soon puts you in your place.
It looks more serious than it is, but that's the point.
He won't do that again in a hurry.
Despite appearances, macaque society is highly structured.
Everyone knows their place.
A lull in the chaos gives the chance for a swimming lesson...
..an anxious moment for any doting mother.
She hovers over him, giving constant reassurance.
It's just the encouragement he needs as he tries out his first strokes.
He'll need plenty of practice -
experienced macaques can swim half a mile -
but he's off to a good start.
But what about the high dive?
How hard can it be?
Climbing is the easy bit.
Now, the moment of truth.
It looks very different from up here.
Miss the pool and he faces serious injury.
But an impatient queue is forming behind him.
He desperately tries to pick up courage...
..but then the decision's made for him.
Still in one piece, his relieved mother helps him out.
Now he knows that young monkeys don't believe in rules.
And he's not the only one learning the hard way.
In Africa, even the largest and most caring of animals
has a mischievous side.
Spy egret puts his robotic life on the line at every deployment.
Even real egrets must watch their step.
But it's the youngsters who are always pushing the boundaries.
It's a time when they can test their strength
without doing too much damage.
To help with the filming, spy egret has backup.
This is dung cam, a camera based on a pile of elephant poo.
It even smells the part.
It's designed to film on the move.
Its zoom lens can capture the elephants' every move.
That's not all, it can release a team of spy dung balls
to litter the savanna with yet more cameras.
One dung ball is radio-controlled
and can travel without any visible moving parts.
With the action covered from every angle,
it's time to see what this elephant family gets up to.
The babies must learn the rules of behaviour at an early age.
Wrestling older siblings is a favourite pastime.
They learn their own strength and, crucially,
how to play nicely with each other.
It's the older elephants who make sure they don't cross the line.
It takes a few years before they're big enough to do real damage.
But as they get older, they need to be reined in.
Those who overstep the mark soon know it.
The rules are strict for everyone when the family is on the move.
To follow them, spy egret and dung cam join forces.
For their own safety, the babies must stay next to their mothers
in the centre of the herd.
The elephants are heading to the swamp...
..a place to cool off as the day heats up.
But the mud can be treacherous
and babies must only enter with their mums.
But this little one seems to have forgotten the rules.
Chasing egrets is irresistible.
But as the herd enter the swamp, the baby is being left behind.
Realising his predicament, he looks for his mother
and thinks he's found her.
He tags along as the group head into the swamp
but he's following the wrong elephant.
With his mother nowhere to be seen, he's lost in a confusion
of trunks and legs.
The elephants head into the swamp without him.
The baby is now alone and afraid...
..while his herd appear to have forgotten him.
He can smell that his mother is out there...
But entering the swamp alone could be deadly for one so small.
He's really starting to panic now.
His mother is inexperienced.
She's only just realised her mistake.
Both will have learnt from what happened.
He won't misbehave while the family are travelling again...
..and stays extra close as he's taken into the swamp.
He's learnt the hard way why you don't go here on your own.
His older brother heads up the rear.
No-one is letting this mischievous baby out of their sight.
Now, the mud bathing can begin in earnest.
But the cheeky elephants have a message for spy egret.
Learning to behave is even more vital in extreme environments.
In the Canadian Arctic, it is a matter of survival.
Arctic wolf packs live in a society
based on close cooperation and teamwork.
Spy wolf cub is here to record how the cubs
learn their place in the pack.
He's been accepted as part of the family.
They are now confident enough to wander away from the den.
They love to play and are equally matched.
For now, they can safely test each other's strengths and weaknesses.
But their rough and tumble has woken the baby-sitter.
She may have been sleeping on the job,
but she's responsible for the cubs while their mother is away.
She has strict rules and one is - stay close to the den.
It's time they were taught a lesson.
But this wolf cub isn't showing the respect the occasion demands.
He's not supposed to answer back.
She tries to roll him on his back -
this is how wolves show they know their place.
But the message isn't getting through.
If he doesn't learn to submit by rolling over,
he'll never fit in with the pack.
But he's still arguing back.
Now, she really gets tough, pinning him to the ground.
She won't give up until he understands.
He's got the message now.
Learning to submit helps avoid conflict within the pack,
vital for animals that must work together.
Lesson over, they now practise what they learnt on each other.
It seems even spy cub must learn the pack rules...
..but he soon makes a dignified recovery.
The father howls a rallying call.
The call is not to hunt, but to come and play in the cotton grass.
With the rules firmly established, playtime becomes a family affair...
..a chance for the mischievous cubs to let off steam
and learn the value of teamwork and cooperation.
While animals that live together must learn the rules,
for others, it's everyone for themselves.
Frigate birds are the original pirates of the Caribbean.
They make a living on the high seas from skulduggery and thievery.
Fishing boats returning with their catch make easy targets.
Fish cams reveal the details of their criminal activity.
Tropicbirds returning to feed their young carry yet more riches.
A fleet of frigates follow in hot pursuit.
They know she carries a fish hidden in her throat
and it's one they won't let get away.
Their technique is sheer intimidation,
forcing the tropicbird to give up its meal.
To gain a bird's-eye view of their nefarious ways,
spy tropicbird braves the intimidation.
He faces skilled assailants.
Their slender wings and curved tails allow swift manoeuvring.
He allows them to wait until the perfect moment.
Real tropicbirds make more challenging targets.
And when the frigates really put on the pressure,
it's safer to give up without a fight.
Show resistance and you pay the price.
They'll shake the fish right out of you.
There's a lot at stake.
Fish are hard to come by -
give it up and her young might starve.
But these villains even work together,
so taking the path of least resistance is tempting.
They won't give up until they've had their fill.
But these birds aren't here to kill.
So, to succeed, you just have to tough it out.
Her hungry chick drives her on.
She's made it and her chick finally gets a meal.
It's not just tropicbirds that are subjected to bad behaviour
from feathered felons.
In Antarctica, spy penguin is greeting Adelie penguins
as they return from a two-week fishing trip
away from their nest sites.
He receives the same bolshie reception
as the penguins give to each other.
Despite their belligerent nature, they are dedicated parents
and are rushing home to relieve their partners of nesting duties.
The birds breed on a rocky outcrop high above the sea ice.
Another spy penguin is filming
the disorderly behaviour inside the colony.
The Adelies constantly squabble over the stones
they use to build their nests.
Spy Adelie is in the thick of this rabble
as everyone steals from everyone else.
He may be an innocent bystander,
but that doesn't stop him getting picked on.
Although he's designed to get right up again.
In case it all gets too much, he has backup,
the other spy penguin.
This one comes with a pebble cam.
Egg cams are here as well...
But they, too, get the same rough treatment.
Here, weather changes quickly
and it soon dampens the high spirits of the colony.
Now, their only concern is to protect their eggs from the storm,
so everyone hunkers down.
Spy penguin is the only one still on duty,
except for a straggler racing back from his fishing trip.
Stuck on her nest for the last two weeks, his mate is hungry.
But she'll have to stay put until the storm passes.
Meanwhile, he has a plan to impress her...
..use the cover of the storm to steal more stones.
It gets easier as the blizzard gets stronger.
Blinded by the snow storm, they become easy victims of crime.
By the time the storm ends,
they have one of the finest nests in the colony.
The petty pilfering of stones is one thing,
but a much greater crime is about to be committed.
Better weather brings in predators.
These are skuas.
Their speciality is stealing eggs.
Each Adelie has only two eggs
and a year's investment goes into rearing them.
But with skuas on the prowl, one can go in a flash.
But not all eggs are quite what they seem.
Egg cam is about to reveal what it's like to be kidnapped.
Realising it's not the real thing, egg cam is discarded in disgust.
Adelies may be pugnacious and dishonest,
but they are devoted to their young.
Each chick that makes it is a triumph against the real criminals.
The whole process of breeding brings out the best and the worst
in some birds.
The rainforests of eastern Australia are the stage for perhaps
the sneakiest criminals of the lot.
This is the satin bowerbird,
a creature with a bad case of kleptomania.
He is under surveillance from a female spy bowerbird
with a particularly beady eye.
He builds this elaborate cradle, or bower,
to show off his prowess and skills.
It doesn't stop at weaving twigs -
he likes home decor, too.
Blue is his favourite colour.
Bottle tops nicked from a nearby campsite
are his proudest possession.
He has an eye for detail, too,
placing them precisely for maximum visual impact.
Stage set, it's time to begin his performance.
But he soon realises spy bowerbird is immune to his charm.
Perhaps he'll have better luck with a real bowerbird.
She makes all the right moves,
entering the bower to show she's interested.
A ring makes the perfect gift.
How about a bouquet of flowers?
But something is not quite right.
The penny drops -
he's been duped!
This isn't a female at all, it's a young male in disguise
and he's here to steal.
He's part of a gang of juvenile delinquents
roaming the forest, tricking unwary males.
In their hideout, they display their ill-gotten gains.
It takes up to seven years for a male bowerbird to reach maturity.
In the meantime, they practise making a bower
and dancing for each other.
But they can never have too many blue trinkets and bling.
Time to go out stealing again.
And bowers don't come more decadently inviting than this.
But this is no ordinary bower,
it's occupied by a male spy bowerbird and adorned
with an irresistible array of blue treasure and dual cameras,
all perfectly placed to catch the thieves in the act.
Like professionals, they approach with caution.
Once again, they pretend to be courting females.
This time they work together.
One distracts as the other steals the jewels.
Spy bowerbird can only observe as they clean out the bower,
gem by precious gem.
Back home with their stolen goods,
they continue to practise their courtship techniques.
But spy bowerbird isn't off the hook.
The male bowerbird who was their first victim
needs to replenish his bower.
Well, if you can't beat them, you may as well join them.
In Senegal, the art of seduction brings out the worst
in our closest animal relatives.
For young chimps, misbehaving is second nature.
They're cut a lot of slack and generally do exactly what they want.
But as they get older, they start to push their luck
and wind the adults up.
It starts small, but often escalates.
Spy tortoise is just one of the many spy cameras
that have been watching them.
He's been capturing some very unconventional views.
But now he's helping record how the bad behaviour of the youngsters
translates into adulthood.
In chimp society, there are always a few dominant males.
As a young male reaches adulthood,
he becomes a potential challenger for the top spot.
The lead male must keep this cocky upstart in his place.
And the other males are keen to teach him a lesson, too.
He needs to get away or suffer serious injury.
He may not be popular with the bigger guys...
..but among the females, it's a different matter.
It seems many prefer the younger male.
She seems to be giving him the come-on,
but he must be careful he isn't seen.
Fortunately, chimps like their midday nap...
..and the female encourages him to follow her.
It could be his lucky day.
One last check.
Time for a little extra privacy.
Unfortunately, one male has the perfect vantage point.
This is strictly against the rules.
His fun ruined, he leaves in disgrace.
But once he's cooled off, he'll be back.
In the Kalahari Desert in South Africa,
there are dire consequences for those who have illicit affairs.
Meerkats live in large family groups
and there is equality among most of the members.
But with so many meerkats living together,
clear leadership is needed to maintain authority.
This female is in charge.
Often called the queen,
she is the only female to breed in the entire colony.
Spy meerkat is ideally placed to film any rule breakers.
Sentinels watch for danger
so that the rest of the colony can socialise.
Play helps youngsters practise fighting skills
they'll need in the future
and makes sure they're all supportive of the colony.
The queen meerkat asserts her higher position
by hip slamming and chin swiping.
She doesn't want the youngsters to get ideas above their station.
Constant reminders of who's boss help to maintain a stable society.
But sometimes the balance of power is challenged.
A roving male from outside the colony
is on the lookout for a female...
..one that has reached maturity and is up for some excitement.
She sneaks off for an illicit encounter.
Away from the group, she's free to express her desire.
Her flirtations are strictly taboo - only the queen has breeding rights.
But she's been caught in the act.
The queen launches an attack.
The rest of the group show their support.
A female that tries to breed is a threat to the status quo.
Rulebreakers are not to be tolerated.
They must evict her from the colony.
Resistance is pointless.
But, alone, she's in great danger.
And expelled to the edges of the colony, there is no easy way back.
The nearest meerkats are hostile neighbours.
Her indiscretion has put her life at risk.
Off the coast of South Africa,
more adolescents have reached that difficult age.
At two years old, male bottlenose dolphins
leave their mother's pod to form boisterous gangs
looking for excitement.
They like nothing better than surfing.
Spy turtle is here to see what they get up to.
He, in turn, is joined by another spy creature.
This is spy puffer, based on a fish that blows itself into
a defensive puffball.
The spy creatures are here to film these teenage tearaways.
Spy puffer faces a bumpy ride.
Bust-ups are common.
It's easy to get caught in the middle.
The young males are so unruly
the females kicked them out of the family pod.
They even send spy turtle in a spin.
This isn't spy puffer, it's a real pufferfish.
The poor creature gets the same rough treatment.
Perfect for a game of catch.
But the dolphins are dicing with death.
Pufferfish are one of the most poisonous fish in the ocean.
They exude a powerful nerve poison called tetrodotoxin.
It only takes a small amount to kill a human.
Even so, the dolphins often look for pufferfish and love to chew on them.
Taken in small doses,
the secretions seem to have a narcotic effect.
The dolphins are careful not to swallow them.
Instead, they hold them gently in their mouths.
Despite the risks,
passing the puffer has become a popular dolphin pastime.
Luckily, the little fishes usually survive the strange experience.
But dolphins aren't the only creatures
that seem to enjoy natural highs.
In Madagascar, brown and black lemurs have an equally odd weakness
for mind-altering chemicals.
Their favourite poison is found crawling in the forest.
Like pufferfish, millipedes are toxic.
But that doesn't stop the lemurs seeking them out.
The millipedes use dangerous secretions, including cyanide,
as a defence.
But the lemurs still chew on them, albeit extremely cautiously.
The toxins cause the lemurs to salivate.
They then rub both the saliva and the millipede into their fur.
They use it as an insecticide to ward off insects,
such as mosquitoes that carry malaria.
But they are suspiciously enthusiastic
about the whole process.
It seems they don't just work as an insect repellent...
..the chemicals also appear to send them into a trance-like state.
A condition of complete intoxication.
And they can't seem to get enough.
When it's all over, there's no hiding the state they're in.
Time to sleep it off.
Back in the Kalahari Desert and spy meerkat is on the lookout
for the evicted female.
She's still all alone.
Pushed to the edge of her territory,
she's an easy target for the hostile neighbours.
A bolthole offers refuge from the threat.
These meerkats are hoping to steal some territory from her family,
but she won't be able to fight them off by herself.
The unruly mob try to dig their way in.
They work as a team to shift as much sand as possible.
Others leave their scent mark, laying claim to their new territory.
She defends the bolthole with her life.
But the marauding trespassers have been spotted.
The group rally together.
Tails held high, they perform an intimidating war dance.
The rival gang clocks the incoming attack.
It's designed as a show of strength and unity...
..but the mob meets the attack head on.
It's a fight for territory.
But ultimately, the land grab fails.
The female checks for the all clear.
Her family drove the intruders away
but she played her part.
This is her opportunity to show her loyalty and subservience.
She grooms the dominant female.
The eviction was a harsh lesson in how to behave.
Her apparent contrition does the trick -
the queen meerkat accepts her back.
But warfare doesn't just happen between groups -
sometimes the battles begin at the heart of the family.
The male chimpanzee that took his chance with a female
is in a confident mood.
He wants to flex his muscles within the troop.
Spy bushbaby is watching to see what unfolds.
The young male is pumped up and spoiling for a fight.
Standing on two legs makes a more threatening display.
To really act the tough guy, he needs a weapon.
But this theatrical show has gone on long enough.
The big males decide to take him on.
The mothers gather up the youngsters.
It's turning ugly.
One dominant male makes his entrance.
Time to put a stop to this outrageous behaviour.
The two square up.
But no-one does scary like the high-ranking male.
Then he selects his own weapon and the conflict escalates.
He means business -
these stones are thrown with deadly accuracy.
Time to make his escape.
Defeated, the challenger vents his frustration.
From the winner, a final show of his power.
These may be raw emotions, but anger soon gives way to subtler feelings.
A youngster reaches out a hand of friendship.
Placed in the mouth, it's the ultimate show of trust.
An act of faith and reassurance...
..and a gesture the others mirror.
Chimps may be quick to anger, but fun is never far away.
For the little males, mischief is part of their psyche.
It prepares them for family life in a rowdy troop
where rules and consequences control their lives.
For now, they can just enjoy their freedom.
Spy bushbaby has revealed an eye-opening insight
into chimp family politics...
..and survived to spy another day.
Wherever the spy creatures went,
they gave unexpected insights into the intimate lives of animals.
Emotions were explored when langurs grieved over a dropped spy monkey...
..and a chimp adopted an abandoned kitten.
Their extraordinary intelligence was revealed by an orang-utan
who took to DIY...
..and a bird who created a perfect fishing pole.
Friendships were tested by spy cobra,
who captured the solidarity of meerkat society.
Spy croc filmed some tiny birds who formed a bond
with the unlikeliest of neighbours.
Finally, the spy creatures showed how bad behaviour
is as much part of animals' lives as it is of our own.
Maybe what they really revealed is that animals are more like us
than we ever dared to believe.
Next time, we reveal the cutting-edge technology
and extraordinary science behind the series
as it stretches the camera teams to their limits
and tests some spy creatures to destruction.
The Spy Creatures discover that mischief is rife in nature, but perhaps there are still rules that govern animals' lives.
Spy Macaque visits a monkey swimming pool where teenage tearaways attempt the high dive causing chaos for parents teaching babies to swim. Spy Tropicbird reveals how frigate birds ruthlessly steal fish from real tropicbirds. In Australia, a bowerbird decorates his courtship bower with blue treasures, and a smart imposter attempts a daylight robbery on his precious horde. Spy Bowerbird investigates the shenanigans complete with his own nest rigged with irresistible Jewelcams. In Antarctica, Spy Penguin keeps a beady eye on a crafty Adelie penguin as he uses a storm as cover to steal stones from other penguin nests. As the storm clears, skua birds arrive and steal the penguins' eggs, and Eggcam captures the most astonishing aerial view of a penguin colony ever seen.
Among chimpanzees, an illicit affair creates outrage among the dominant males, and a similar misdemeanour in a meerkat colony results in some very rough justice. A spectacular war dance follows as neighbouring meerkat groups battle over territory. A gang of surf-loving dolphins get their teenage kicks from a poisonous but intoxicating pufferfish, and lemurs try out natural highs when they use millipedes as insecticides with some very dreamy side effects. Spy Wolf Cub watches as naughty wolf cubs are taught the hard rules of pack life, and Spy Egret joins forces with a state-of-the-art Dungcam to see how elephants discipline their misbehaving youngsters. In a spectacular finale, an impudent chimpanzee stages a challenge to the troop leader, resulting in a fight with weapons that hints at how human warfare may have begun.