Predators are creatures that catch and kill other animals for food. All sorts of techniques are employed by different animals to maximise their chance of catching prey, and to balance the energy expended in catching prey with the energy gained in eating it. Some execute long chases, outrunning their prey, others ambush or hunt in groups. Some construct elaborate traps and many have mechanisms for stunning or poisoning their victims.
The prey of the narrow-nosed planigale is often larger than it is.
The narrow-nosed planigale is one of Australia's smallest marsupials, and one of the toughest. Most of its meals are larger than it is, and will include scorpions and huge moths. In the underground cracks in which it shelters, it is almost 15 degrees cooler than out in the sun of the desert, but snakes are a constant threat. The inland taipan, for instance, is the world's deadliest snake and often slithers through the crevices in search of a meal.
A pistol shrimp uses its claw to deal out a deadly blow from a distance.
The pistol shrimp can snap its claws to communicate, but they can be used as a sonic weapon to prey on smaller shrimps. First the claw is cocked like a pistol and then fired. The effect is literally stunning. As the claw snaps shuts it fires a blast of bubbles. As the bubbles collapse they momentarily reach the temperature of the sun. This implosion, causes a shockwave that stuns the smaller shrimp and allows the pistol shrimp to collect its dinner.
In the desert, running on two legs gives a collared lizard the advantage.
Like a miniature tyrannosaur, the collared lizard hunts on two legs. It runs at an angle with its front legs lifted off the ground. But this lizard is more agile than any dinosaur and, size for size, it's much faster. Being smaller it gains in both speed and manoeuvrability. Most bipedal lizards live in deserts as this kind of running needs space. When hunting other lizards, two legs give it the edge.
A juvenile puma hones his hunting skills at night by "playing".
A juvenile puma hones his hunting skills at night by "playing", much like domestic cats do. Camerawoman Justine Evans reveals the puma's behaviour at night by using specialist night-time camera equipment.
The archer fish allows for gravity and refraction to squirt its prey into the water.
The archer fish catch prey with a water pistol technique. It makes the equivalent of a gun barrel by pressing its tongue against a groove in its mouth, closing its gills to force out the water in a jet. It is accurate up to two metres. This expert in ballistics even allows for the curving of the jet of water through gravity. It also adjusts for the way light bends between the boundary between water and air, which appears to shift the position of the target. By some amazing computation it changes its firing angle to compensate for this optical illusion.
Take a trip through the natural world with our themed collections of video clips from the natural history archive.
Some of the most memorable sequences in natural history result from timelapse photography, an astonishing filming technique that opens our eyes to a whole new world.
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Animal kingdom record breakers - how fast can a cheetah run, how heavy is an elephant and what's bigger than a dinosaur? Watch amazing video clips from the BBC archive and uncover the fascinating facts about our smallest primate, the longest stick insect and the most venomous snake.
Jonathan Scott's unique style brings an emotional warmth and depth to the portrayal of African wildlife that has created some of TV's best-loved animal characters.
In autumn 2009, a major new series brought us life as we've never seen it before.
Slow motion filming techniques transform amazing wildlife moments into full scale events, and simple action into incredibly detailed video sequences.
A video collection featuring bugs and insects in amazing close up selected by insect expert and TV presenter George McGavin, with Goliath spiders, killer centipedes, ants and moths.
Autumn - a time of great change, of breathtaking migrations, of high drama.
Watch the most memorable moments from an incredible career watching wildlife, chosen by Sir David from the BBC archive.