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17 September 2014
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David Attenborough with a morpho butterfly © BBC/Mark Carwardine
Life in Cold Blood

David Attenborough tells the epic story of the cold-blooded amphibians and reptiles, the most successful creatures ever to walk on land.

Watch the latest Life in Cold Blood on iPlayer.

1. The Cold-Blooded Truth
Frog Giant crocodiles courting, tortoises jousting with 'lances' and bright red sumo-wrestling frogs... David reveals the surprising truth about the cold-blooded lives of reptiles and amphibians, as dramatic, as colourful, as tender as any other animal. What's been the secret to their sucess for the last 300 million years?
Wildfacts: Leatherback
Age of the dinosaurs
h2g2: Were dinosaurs endotherms or ectotherms?
2. Land Invaders – Amphibians
Toad The extraordinary and intimate lives of the soft-skinned amphibians. Marsupial frogs where the father carries his young in pouches, giant metre-long salamanders staging wrestling matches and newts that display just like birds of paradise. From steamy jungles to dry deserts, David looks at the bizarre life histories that enabled the amphibians to break their ties with water and invade the earth.
h2g2: Common frogs in the UK
h2g2: How to tell frogs from toads
Froglife (external)
3. Dragons of the Dry – Lizards
Chameleon David comes face to face with a monitor lizard that stands on tiptoe, is flashed at by anole lizards and uses a rod and line to tempt a timid skink out of its burrow. Other scaly stars include jacky lizards that wave, wrestling beaded lizards and the largest chameleons in the world jousting in the trees. He also encounters the world's smallest chameleon, no bigger than his thumbnail, and the biggest lizard in Australia.
h2g2: The common lizard (UK)
4. Sophisticated Serpents – Snakes
Snake How have this most misunderstood group of reptiles used the most simple but elegant body plan to succeed on land, sea and even in the air? A CCTV stakeout of rattlesnakes hunting shows, for the first time, what clever predators they are.

David is himself on the receiving end of a spitting cobra's chemical weapons. But snakes aren't all about violence. Their tender side is displayed in the sinuous courtship of kingsnakes and the water birth of 15 beautiful yellow anacondas.
Amazing animals: anaconda
5. Armoured Giants
Crocodile David meets the reptile heavyweights to show what it's like to live within a suit of armour. He reveals a dynamic, warm and caring side to ancient giants.

Mating giant tortoises fit together like spoons. Green turtles show true passion mating in tropical seas. A mother spectacled caiman rescues a huge crèche of babies. And saltwater crocodiles ambush fish just like bears catching salmon.
h2g2: The story of crocodiles
Animals on the edge: Sea turtles

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 Also in Life in Cold Blood


Top ten clips

Filming techniques


 TV programmes – - BBC Four

The Cold-Blooded Truth
Wednesday 20 August 8pm.

Land Invaders – Amphibians
Wednesday 27 August 8pm.

Dragons of the Dry – Lizards
Wednesday 3 September 8pm.

Sophisticated Serpents – Snakes
Wednesday 10 September 8pm.

Armoured Giants
Wednesday 17 September 8pm.

 Elsewhere on

Wildfacts: reptiles
Factfiles on everything from adders to tuataras.

Wildfacts: amphibians
Discover more about some of the amphibian stars of the show.

Cold-blooded winter
How reptiles and amphibians get through the Welsh winter.

Ancient reptile tracks unearthed
The earliest evidence for the existence of reptiles has been found in Canada.

Saving Planet Earth
Saira Khan on the plight of the sea turtle.

Video: New scheme to save amphibians

 Elsewhere on the web

Irish Sea Leatherback Turtle Project
More about the leatherback population in the Irish Sea.

A searchable database of amphibians, covering their biology and conservation.

Year of the Frog
2008 is Year of the Frog, a major effort to address the amphibian extinction crisis.

Amphibian Ark
More on the Year of the Frog.

Global Amphibian Assessment
Comprehensive assessment of the world's species of frogs, toads, salamanders, and caecilians.

Project Golden Frog

The Telegraph: Weirdest and most endangered creatures

Guardian: The world's weirdest amphibians

Crocodilians: Natural History & Conservation
A wide-ranging and extensively illustrated resource on crocodiles.

Turtles of the World
Extensive information on all known turtles, tortoises and terrapins

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