Broadcast 22 January 2003, the next programme surveys arboreal mammals. Attenborough's introduction takes place in the close company of meerkats. They work as a team, and one will always act as a lookout. For this it climbs to the highest point nearby, which in this instance proves to be Attenborough's shoulder. Up in the canopy of the tropical rainforest, there is a greater variety of food than anywhere else in the natural world, so it is unsurprising that many animals exist there. Sloths and coatis exemplify the skills needed to move around in such a habitat. Especially suited to ascending tree trunks are sun bears and tamanduas, the latter possessing a prehensile tail, something it has in common with the woolly monkey. The flying squirrel can leap a distance of 15 metres by virtue of the fur membrane between its wrist and ankle. A five million-strong colony of fruit bats is also shown, and little impact is made on their numbers by predatory eagles and crocodiles. Infrared cameras are again employed to study nocturnal lorises and lesser bushbabies. Their ancestral relatives reached the island of Madagascar, where they diversified and are known as lemurs. They are particularly adept at jumping, and their technique is analysed. They are hunted by the fossa, a kind of mongoose, which is a match for them athletically. In the forests of Southeast Asia can be found the "supreme tree-traveller", the fastest flightless inhabitants of the canopy in the world: gibbons.
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).