The Life of Mammals (2002) BBC

The Opportunists

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Video Description

Broadcast 8 January 2003, the next instalment deals with those mammals that are omnivorous. Attenborough goes to a zoo in Atlanta to see the giant panda. He contrasts its restrictive diet of bamboo with the less selective forms of nutrition favoured by other species. The raccoon is among the most successful: its sensitive hands and inquisitive nature have enabled it to become extremely adaptable. To the other extreme, one of the scarcest omnivores is the babirusa, a kind of pig found in Indonesia. A good sense of smell is vital for such creatures and wild boars have become expert foragers. Foxes have gained a reputation for killing more chickens than they need to: in fact they demonstrate foresight by burying surplus food to eat later. Skunks visit a cave of bats and cross a carpet of guano to seek out the young that fall from the ceiling. The most formidable opportunists are grizzly bears, and Attenborough observes them fishing for migrating salmon in Alaska. Their feeding habits in the lead up to hibernation are discussed in detail. The replacement of natural habitats by modern cities and the extravagance of their human occupants have provided a rich source of sustenance for many. Raccoons, bears and foxes have all become well adapted to an urban lifestyle. However, in this regard, it is the brown rat that has become most abundant. Finally, Attenborough points out that it is the opportunistic traits of humans that have enabled them to dominate the world.

Documentary Description

The Life of Mammals is a BBC nature documentary series written and presented by David Attenborough, first transmitted in the UK from 20 November 2002. A study of the evolution and habits of the various mammal species, it was the fourth of Attenborough's specialised surveys following his major trilogy that began with Life on Earth. Each of the ten episodes looks at one (or several closely related) mammal groups and discusses the different facets of their day-to-day existence. All the programmes are of 50 minutes' duration except the last, which extends to 59 minutes. The series was produced in conjunction with the Discovery Channel. The executive producer was Mike Salisbury and the music was composed by Dan Jones and Ben Salisbury. It was later shown on Animal Planet. Part of David Attenborough's 'Life' series, it was preceded by The Life of Birds (1998), and followed by Life in the Undergrowth (2005). However, in between the former and this series, David Attenborough presented State of the Planet (2000) and narrated The Blue Planet (2001).

Source: Wikipedia


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