Insect Hunters

Image for Insect HuntersNot currently available on BBC iPlayer

Episode 2 of 10

Duration: 59 minutes

David Attenborough looks at the mammals that hunt insects. These creatures shared the planet with the dinosaurs, but when the giant reptiles disappeared they seized their chance to conquer new territory. David meets moles that swim through sand, a shrew that hunts underwater, and another that sprints down polished running-tracks so fast that most predators can't catch it.

Some ancient insect hunters are surprisingly familiar: join David in his garden in London, as he watches the seemingly painful act of hedgehog courtship.

Giant anteaters and pangolins are less familiar, and perhaps the most bizarre-looking mammals on the planet. David meets a giant anteater first-hand: it may be dim-witted, but it also has the longest claws of any mammal - and the longest tongue too. Just the job for a diet made up exclusively of ants and termites.

Many insects can fly and are out of reach for ground dwelling mammals, but early in the mammals' history, probably when the dinosaurs still roamed, the insect hunters took to the air. Spectacular aerial photography at night shows how these bats catch their prey, including one British bat - the natterer - that catches spiders from their webs without getting tangled in the silk.

David takes his story full circle when he meets the world's strangest bat in New Zealand. When darkness falls, the bat drops to the ground, folds up its wings, and hunts insects like a shrew.

Credits

Presenter
David Attenborough
Writer
David Attenborough
Producer
Mike Salisbury
Producer
Mark Linfield

Broadcasts

Buy online

Available on: DVD

From suppliers: Amazon, BBC Shop

Where to buy

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.