Last Watched

"Diet"  Sort by

Snake Killers Honey Badgers of The Kalahari

   2007    Nature
The honey badger looks like something you might buy in pet shop and give to children, but turns out to be one of the most violent and determined creatures ever to scuttle across the face of the earth. Nothing in the badger’s world-not even the badgers themselves-are safe from its remarkable ability to create havoc and cause harm. Like a meter long skunk with the brain of a shark the Honey Badger’s metabolism compels it to eat constantly and live on the run. Its diet is admirably inclusive ranging from insects to its own young. If an animal is too big to eat then the badger will fight it anyway, indeed it is this almost supernatural tenacity that compels you respect it, as well as yielding some of the most spectacular sequences in the film. Five foot long cobra sleeping in the top of tree? No problem, the badger scoots up and bites its head off. When an ailing badger is attacked by a full size leopard it takes the leopard over an hour to finish it off. When one is bitten in the face by a snake that can kill a man, it just lies down for a while and sleeps it off.

The Insatiable Appetite

   1998    Nature
The next instalment focuses on dietary needs and how different species have evolved beaks to suit their individual requirements. The latter come in a multitude of forms. Blue tits and goldfinches have beaks akin to tweezers, with which to extract seeds, while the hawfinch's razor-like bill can deal with a cherry-stone. However, the crossbill is the only finch that can twist its mandibles in opposite directions. Jays store acorns for winter by burying them in the ground, whereas woodpeckers can keep up to 60,000 of them in one tree trunk. Sap is also desirable, and there are a variety of methods used to obtain it. The hoatzin is the only specialised leaf-eater, and accordingly has a digestive system more akin to that of cattle. Plants recruit birds to aid pollination, and offer nectar as a reward. Hummingbirds eat little else, and the sword-bill's beak is the longest of any bird in relation to its body. Insects are also highly prized, and Galapagos finches are shown to possess some ingenuity as they not only strip bark, but also use 'tools' to reach their prey. Crows are hailed as being among the most intelligent birds, and one is shown using a twig to spear a grub within a fallen log. The robin is an opportunist, and Sir Attenborough observes one seizing morsels as he digs a patch of earth. In South America, a cattle tyrant sits atop an obliging capybara and uses its vantage point to spot passing food that may be dislodged by its grazing partner.
Series: The Life of Birds

Surviving

   1995    Nature
the final episode deals with plants that live in hostile environments. Attenborough visits Ellesmere Island, north of the Arctic Circle, to demonstrate that even in a place that is unconducive to life, it can be found. Algae and lichens grow in or on rock, and during summer, when the ice melts, flowers are much more apparent. However, they must remain close to the ground to stay out of the chilling wind. In the Tasmanian mountains, plants conserve heat by growing into 'cushions' that act as solar panels, with as many as a million individual shoots grouped together as one. Others, such as the lobelia in Mount Kenya, have a 'fur coat' of dense hairs on their leaves. The saguaro cactus in the Sonoran Desert flourishes because of its ability to retain vast amounts of water, which can't be lost through leaves because it has none. Many desert dwellers benefit from an accelerated life cycle, blooming rapidly within weeks after rainfall. Conversely, Mount Roraima is one of the wettest places on Earth. It is a huge sandstone plateau with high waterfalls and nutrients are continuously washed away, so plants have to adapt their diet if they are to survive. A bladderwort is shown invading a bromeliad. Inhabitants of lakes have other problems to contend with: those that dominate the surface will proliferate, and the Amazon water lily provides an apt illustration. Attenborough ends the series with an entreaty for the conservation of plant species.
Series: The Private Life of Plants

The Private Life of Plants Living Together

   1995    Nature
The fifth programme explores the alliances formed between the animal and plant worlds. Attenborough dives into Australia's Great Barrier Reef and contrasts the nocturnal feeding of coral, on microscopic creatures, with its daytime diet of algae. Some acacias are protected by ants, which will defend their refuge from any predator. Besides accommodation, the guards are rewarded with nectar and, from certain species, protein for their larvae as well. Fungi feed on plants but can also provide essential nutriment to saplings (Mycorrhiza). The connection is never broken throughout a tree's life and a quarter of the sugars and starches produced in its leaves is channelled back to its fungal partners. Meanwhile, fungi that feed on dead wood leave a hollow trunk, which also benefits the tree. Orchids enjoy a similar affiliation. Lichens are the product of a relationship between fungi and a photosynthetic associate, usually algae. They are extremely slow-growing, and a graveyard is the perfect location to discover their exact longevity. Mistletoe is a hemiparasite that obtains its moisture from a host tree, while using own leaves to manufacture food. Its seeds are deposited on another by the mistletoe tyrannulet, following digestion of the fruit. The dodder (Cuscuta) is also parasitic, generally favouring nettles, and siphons its nourishment through periodic 'plugs' along its stem. The rafflesia has no stem or leaves and only emerges from its host in order to bloom — and it produces the largest single flower: one metre across.
Series: The Private Life of Plants

How to Stay Young The Brain

   2016    Medicine
This episode explores what can give brains a boost. In America, Angela tries out a new treatment that's proven to help memory and concentration. In Japan, a remarkable 100-year-old reveals the colourful foods that keep minds more active. Plus Chris discovers the best exercise we can do for our brains. At the cutting-edge of science, discover how injections of young people's blood may help beat dementia.
Series: How to Stay Young
Blue Planet II
Blue Planet II

   2017    Nature
Conquistadors
Conquistadors

   2002    History
Inner Worlds Outer Worlds
Inner Worlds Outer Worlds

   2012    Culture
Attenborough Life in Colour
Attenborough Life in Colour

   2021    Nature
History of the Eagles
History of the Eagles

   2013    History
Mind Field Season 1
Mind Field Season 1

   2017    Medicine
The Mind Explained
The Mind Explained

   2019    Medicine
Chef's Table
Chef's Table

   2017    Art