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Reptiles and Amphibians

Episode 2 of 10

David Attenborough reveals the strategies used by reptiles and amphibians to conquer their shortcomings, whether for safety, breeding or capturing prey.

Reptiles and amphibians look like hang-overs from the past. But they overcome their shortcomings through amazing innovation.

The pebble toad turns into a rubber ball to roll and bounce from its enemies. Extreme slow-motion shows how a Jesus Christ lizard runs on water, and how a chameleon fires an extendible tongue at its prey with unfailing accuracy. The camera dives with a Niuean sea snake, which must breed on land but avoids predators by swimming to an air bubble at the end of an underwater tunnel. In a TV first, komodo dragons hunt a huge water-buffalo, biting it to inject venom, then waiting for weeks until it dies. Ten dragons strip the carcass to the bone in four hours.

Available now

59 minutes

Audio described

Last on

Tue 2 Feb 2021 15:45



Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • Reptiles and Amphibians

    Opening Titles

    Duration: 00:22

  • Dragon vs Dragon

    The Komodo dragon is left unchallenged by all animals, with the exception of another Komodo dragon.

    Duration: 03:35

  • Escape by any Means

    The Mount Raraima waterfall toad and the pebble toad must use an alternative to hopping so they can escape predators.

    Duration: 06:03

  • Reptiles and Water

    The caiman crocodile conserves all its energy waiting for fish to re-populate the swamp. Also, the Jesus Christ lizard can run on water whilst the miniature gecko has the ability to stand on it.

    Duration: 08:00

  • Chameleons on the Attack

    There is no escape from the Madagascan chameleon, whose tongue acts as a retractable missile. Also, a female namaqua chameleon adapts to find food in the desert whilst looking for a mate.

    Duration: 06:34

  • Mating and Protection

    A garter snake tricks his male competition after coming out of hibernation late. Also, the collared iguana and the horned lizard have two different ways of dealing with snakes.

    Duration: 09:25

  • Breeding

    A Niuean sea snake must go down into the depths of the ocean so her eggs will be safe. Also, male bull frogs fight it out to see who the dominant male is, whilst one looks after all the tadpoles.

    Duration: 08:06

  • Hunting Strategy

    The Komodo dragon manages to take down a buffalo with a poisonous bite. However it can take weeks until it dies - all the while the dragons watch and wait.

    Duration: 07:06

  • Life on Location - Chasing the Dragon

    No one has ever filmed the Komodo dragon hunting a buffalo; this process can be very long and potentially dangerous.

    Duration: 10:27


Role Contributor
Narrator David Attenborough
Executive Producer Michael Gunton
Producer Rupert Barrington


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