The wildlife of Life

In autumn 2009, a major new series brought us life as we've never seen it before. Filmed in HD, the series illustrated the extraordinary lengths to which animals and plants go in order to survive. Watch the highlights and find out more about the wildlife and their survival strategies.

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61 video clips in this collection

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View all 61 video clips

Animals in this collection

  • Head of a African bush elephant African bush elephant

    African bush elephants are the largest living land mammals and the second tallest after...

  • A pair of amegilla bees cling to a twig, asleep Amegilla bees

    Amegillas form a genus of large bees that has around 250 species.

  • Portrait of a black bear Black bear

    Black bears are found only in North America...

  • Two ants head to head on a tree trunk Ants

    An estimated 20,000 species of ants exist in the world.

  • Atlantic sailfish at sea Atlantic sailfish

    Atlantic sailfish are found in tropical and temperate parts of the Atlantic Ocean,...

  • A giant cuttlefish breeding male on seabed Giant cuttlefish

    The Australian giant cuttlefish is the largest of the world’s hundred or so species of...

  • An aye-aye holding on to a tree Aye-aye

    Aye-ayes are the largest nocturnal primate in the world.

  • Bearded vulture standing on a rock Lammergeier

    Lammergeiers are long-winged vultures known for their unusual habit of dropping bones on...

  • Male wildebeest male resting in the grass Blue wildebeest

    Blue wildebeest form part of the largest remaining aggregation of large land mammals.

  • A juvenile brown basilisk Brown basilisk

    Brown basilisks are one of the lizards nicknamed the 'Jesus lizard' for their ability to...

  • Grizzly bear standing in river looking for fish Brown bear

    Brown bears are some of the largest carnivores on Earth.

  • A group of hot vent crabs Hot vent crabs

    Hot vent crabs are only found around hydrothermal vents, hydrothermal seeps and...

  • Close-up profile of cape gannet's head Cape gannet

    Cape gannets breed on islands off the coast of Nambia and South Africa.

  • Silhouette of a white-faced capuchin monkey Capuchin monkeys

    Capuchin monkeys are tree-dwelling New World monkeys that live in central and southern...

  • Silhouette of an Oustalet's chameleon Chameleons

    Chameleons are famed for their ability to change colour, though not all species can.

  • A sitting female cheetah looking alert Cheetah

    Cheetahs are found in sub-Saharan Africa and Northern Iran.

  • Portrait of a chinstrap penguin Chinstrap penguin

    Chinstrap penguins are well adapted for the extreme cold of the Antarctic waters.

  • Profile of Clark's grebe Clark's grebe

    Clark's grebes were once thought to a lighter coloured variation or morph of the western...

  • Two bottlenose dolphins breaching (c) Alister Kemp Common bottlenose dolphin

    Common bottlenose dolphins are widespread, except in polar waters.

  • Male chimpanzee looking forwards Chimpanzee

    Common chimpanzees travel around the forests and savannas of central Africa on all...

  • A crabeater seal lying on ice Crabeater seal

    Crabeater seals gather around the coast and pack ice of Antarctica.

  • Profile of a sitting simien jackal Ethiopian wolf

    Ethiopian wolves number fewer than 500 in the wild, and have the unfortunate title of...

  • Close up of a honeybee European honey bee

    European honey bees have been introduced to nearly all parts of the world by humans, but...

  • A swarm of non-biting midge flies Flies

    Flies, also known as true flies to distinguish them from creatures such as caddisflies...

  • A flying fish leaping out of the sea Flying fish

    Flying fish actually glide rather than truly fly.

  • A gecko on a leaf Geckos

    Geckos are small lizards famous for their ability to walk up walls and other sheer...

  • Giant tube worms Giant tube worm

    Giant tube worms grow to over 2 metres long and inhabit the hot waters around...

  • A profile of a giraffe Giraffe

    Giraffes are the world's tallest animal.

  • Profile of two gobies Gobies

    Gobies are the largest family of marine fish, containing 1,875 species of fish.

  • A greater bulldog bat skims the water's surface as it hunts Greater bulldog bat

    Greater bulldog bats are one of only a handfull of bat species that primarily eat fish...

  • A ground beetle Ground beetles

    Ground beetles (carabids) are a large and successful family of beetles, with over 40,000...

  • Hamadryas baboon portrait Hamadryas baboon

    Hamadryas baboons roam the semi-deserts of northeast Africa and the Arabian peninsula,...

  • Hippopotamus standing with a calf next to water Hippopotamus

    Hippopotamuses are found in Africa where they require habitats with water deep enough to...

  • Humboldt squid at night Humboldt squid

    Humboldt squid are found in the warm waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean, and cover a...

  • Negro ant tending aphids Insects

    The insects are one of the most successful types of living organism, with roughly half...

  • Female Japanese macaques sit in a hot spring to keep warm Japanese macaque

    Japanese macaques are the most northerly-living non-human

  • Killer whale breaching Killer whale

    Killer whales are actually the largest species of

  • A Komodo dragon walking on a beach Komodo dragon

    The name and appearance of the Komodo dragon is straight out of legend.

  • White-handed gibbon portrait Lar gibbon

    Lar gibbons can be found in forests across China and southeast Asia.

  • A banded sea krait swimming over a coral reef Sea kraits

    Sea kraits are a genus of sea snakes which contains eight species.

  • A six-wired bird of paradise showing feathers Six-wired bird of paradise

    Six-wired birds of paradise live in the forests of Papua New Guinea.

  • Leopard seal swimming near an iceberg Leopard seal

    Leopard seals are named after their spotty coats and for being fearsome hunters.

  • A lesser flamingo preens its feathers with its large hooked beak Lesser flamingo

    Lesser flamingos are the smallest and most common of the flamingos.

  • Portrait of a male lion sitting in the grass Lion

    Lions are the only truly social cats,...

  • A magnificent frigatebird in flight Magnificent frigatebird

    Magnificent frigatebirds are almost silent seabirds found off the American and tropical...

  • Spider crab Spider crabs

    Spider crabs are a family of long, skinny-legged crabs containing over 700 species.

  • Marvellous Spatuletail perched on a branch Marvellous spatuletail

    Marvellous spatuletails are hummingbirds found only in the forest edges of a remote...

  • Curious meerkat looking towards camera Meerkat

    Meerkats are comical, social mongooses widely distributed throughout southern Africa;...

  • A monarch butterfly sucking at a fruit Monarch butterfly

    Monarch butterflies perform one of the world's most spectacular, annual, long-distance...

  • Mosquito on a blade of grass Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes are a family of insects encompassing over 3,500 recognised species.

  • North Pacific giant octopus swimming North Pacific giant octopus

    The North Pacific giant octopus is the largest octopus species in the world, with a 10m...

  • A Nubian ibex in the Judian Desert, Israel Nubian ibex

    Nubian ibex are extremely well-adapted to the steep, rocky and mountainous regions that...

  • A dragonfly and a damselfly resting on reed stems Damselflies and dragonflies

    Damselflies and dragonflies are among the most beautiful and spectacular

  • Venezuela pebble toad climbing over a rock Venezuela pebble toad

    Venezuela pebble toads have a very unusual defence mechanism, shared with only a few...

  • Meadow grasshopper on a twig (c) Derek Budd Grasshoppers and crickets

    Grasshoppers and crickets are part of an insect order called the Orthoptera, which also...

  • Profile shot of an ostrich Ostrich

    Ostriches don't need to drink - they can make their own water internally and top up with...

  • Silhouette of an Australian pelican Pelicans

    Pelicans are well known for the large throat pouch they have attached to their lower...

  • Giant stick insects perched on grass Stick insects

    Stick insects use camouflage and mimicry to great effect.

  • Phayre's leaf monkey portrait Phayre's leaf monkey

    Phayre's leaf monkeys, or langurs, are old world monkeys that inhabit south east Asian...

  • A weedy sea dragon Weedy sea dragon

    Weedy seadragons are found among coral reefs, seagrass beds and seaweeds off the south...

  • Polar bear walking through wind-blown snow at sunset Polar bear

    Remarkable adaptations allow polar bears to live in the frozen

  • Close up of pompeii worms Pompeii worm

    Pompeii worms live in the hot water around hydrothermal vents in the Pacific Ocean and...

  • Red billed tropicbird flying over the sea Red-billed tropicbird

    Red-billed tropicbirds are the largest of the the three tropicbird species, and are...

  • Red fox checking for danger (c) Richard McManus Red fox

    Red foxes have overtaken grey wolves as the most...

  • Knots feeding at low tide Knot

    Knots, known as red knots in America as a result of their lovely red summer plumage, are...

  • A couple of reindeer in the snow Reindeer

    Reindeer, or caribou, can outperform all other land animals in their energy efficiency -...

  • A ring-tailed lemur Ring-tailed lemur

    Ring-tailed lemurs are the most easily recognisable of all the lemur species, they're...

  • A rufous elephant shrew in Kenya Rufous elephant shrew

    Rufous elephant shrews are small mouse-like animals found on the plains, savannas and...

  • A southern elephant seal makes a threat display Southern Elephant Seal

    Southern elephant seal males weigh 8 to 10 times more than females, which is the biggest...

  • South American coati at the base of a tree South American coati

    South American coatis are omnivorous members of the raccoon family and have long mobile...

  • South American sea lion with young Southern sea lion

    The full mane of a male southern sea lion gives rise to their lion-like appearance, and...

  • Star-nosed mole crawling through the leaf litter Star-nosed mole

    Star-nosed moles are distinctive mammals with a bizarre set of tentacles surrounding the...

  • Two southern stingrays swim over the sea bed Stingrays

    Stingrays are a family of cartilaginous fish containing nine genera and about 70...

  • Alert stoat on woodland floor (c) Judi Mahon Stoat

    Stoats are completely white in winter, except for the black tips of their tails.

  • Straw-coloured fruit bat in flight Straw-coloured fruit bat

    Straw-coloured fruit bats are the most widely distributed of the African fruit bats and...

  • A female orangutan Sumatran orangutan

    Sumatran orangutans are even more endangered than their Bornean counterparts, with...

  • A sunflower starfish Sunflower star

    Sunflower stars have more arms than other starfish, sometimes having as many as twenty...

  • A Siberian tiger amongst green foliage Tiger

    The magnificent tiger, largest of the big cats, is a heavily muscled, powerful predator...

  • Tisza mayfly on a leafy branch Tisza mayfly

    The giant or Tisza mayfly is Europe's largest species of mayfly.

  • A male Vogelkop gardener bowerbird tending his bower to attract a mate Vogelkop bowerbird

    Vogelkop bowerbirds are found in New Guinea and are named after the beautiful shelters...

  • Weddell seal lying on the ice Weddell seal

    Weddell seals were named after a British sea commander in the 1800s, Sir James Weddell...

  • Male gorilla sitting amongst Congo sedge nutgrass Western gorilla

    Western gorillas are easily distinguishable from their

  • A whale shark Whale shark

    Whale sharks are the largest fish in the world, with the longest ever recorded at over...

  • A white-tailed eagle over water (c) Kevin Robson White-tailed sea eagle

    White-tailed sea eagles are found near large bodies of water and coastlines across...

  • A Yacare caiman's head above water Yacare caiman

    Yacare caiman are also known as the piranha caiman, owing to its habit of eating...

Plants in this collection

  • Desert rose on top of a cliff Desert rose

    Desert roses are colourful flowering plants native to the dry climates of sub-Saharan...

  • A group of dragon's blood trees Dragon's blood tree

    Dragon's blood trees are a distinctive and slow-growing species of dragon tree native to...

  • Common sundew with its sticky tentacles extended Sundews

    Sundews are a genus of carnivorous plants which usually live in wet habitats where the...

  • Red mangrove tree at low tide Mangroves

    True mangrove trees grow in tropical, inter-tidal areas and have the unique ability to...

  • Saguaro cactus in Arizona Saguaros

    Saguaros are the giant, classicly shaped cacti that characterise the deserts of Arizona...

  • Close-up of a venus flytrap Venus flytrap

    Venus flytraps are carnivorous plants native to a small region of wetlands in the...

Habitats in this collection

  • Coral reefs off of Fiji Reefs

    Reefs have existed since at least the Cambrian, although the familiar coral-dominated,...

Adaptations in this collection

  • The strawberry poison arrow frog showing red colour Warning colours

    Warning colours (aposematism) describes colouration and other markings that send a...

  • Spotted hyena tearing at an impala carcass Carnivorous

    Carnivores are animals whose main method of getting food is to kill and eat other...

  • Sloth hanging from a tree branch Adapted to climbing

    Scansorial describes animals that spend much of their life climbing such as squirrels,...

  • Female dung beetle rolling a buffalo dung ball Dung eater

    Dung eaters feed on waste, either of other species or their own.

  • Arctic tern in flight Adapted to flying

    Flying, in its true sense, is the ability to move through the air under your own power...

  • A hibernating dormouse curled up asleep in its nest next to hazelnuts Hibernation

    Hibernation is an extended period of deep sleep, or torpor, that allows animals to...

  • Eyespots of the silkmoth caterpillar facing camera Mimicry

    Mimicry is when an animal or plant resembles another creature or inanimate object,...

  • Red-eared turtle hatching out of its egg Egg layer

    Oviparous animals lay eggs, inside which the young then develop before hatching occurs.

  • A male South American sealion with three females looking upwards Polygynous

    Polygynous sexual behaviour is the system in which a single male mates with multiple...

  • Long-beaked common dolphins circling a sardine baitball Predator

    Predators are creatures that catch and kill other animals for food.

  • A pride of lions resting in the shade Social

    Social animals like hanging out with members of their own species.

  • Black-backed jackal tearing at a carcass Scavenger

    Scavengers are those carnivorous animals that eat carrion (already dead animals) rather...

  • Common zebra showing the Flehmen response to scent Chemical communication

    Chemical communication is all about taste and smell.

  • Venom dripping out of a prairie rattlesnake Venomous

    Venomous organisms inflict poisonous wounds by actively biting, stinging or scratching...

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