If your home backs onto a jungle or desert, then you may come across some unusual creatures. Now, even critter-starved city and suburban dwellers can get to know some not-so-ordinary friends from the animal kingdom over at Planet Earth II, premiering this weekend on Saturday, February 18 at 9/8c on BBC America.
Planet Earth changed our view of the world when first airing ten years ago. Let’s take a closer look at who we’ll be meeting in the follow-up six-part series:
1. A Day in the Sun
At first glance, this cutie looks like a rabbit, but the Mountain Viscacha is actually a part of the rodent family. We’d still swoop in for a cuddle given the opportunity. Unfortunately, the chances of meeting him in person are slim — he lives high in the South American Andes. Here, we find him basking in the sun and soaking up what life has to offer.
2. Looking for a Refresher
On the other hand, if we ran into this Darkling beetle, we would run, not walk, in the other direction. The above was snapped in the Namib Desert of southern Africa. The image of the beetle was captured as he climbed a dune to collect water from a mist blowing in from the sea. He’s crafty.
3. Playing It Cool
This is not a mistake, there IS a creature in this photo. Can you see him? Look closely for the leaf tailed Gecko of Madagascar, pretty much smack in the middle of the picture. His color and texture mimics the tree bark as a way to defend himself from predators. Even if he was in your backyard, you probably wouldn’t find him.
4. Double Trouble Prowling
Speaking of predators, these wild hyenas make their way through the streets of Harar, Ethiopia, looking for scraps of food. While alarming, they are beautiful creatures, and it’s awe-inspiring to get such a close-up look. But, we’re okay doing it from the other end of a computer.
5. A Year-Long Embrace
On a lighter note, this three-toed pygmy sloth mum carries her baby close to her. This family unit can be found on the single island of Escudo de Veraguas, off the coast of Panama. The baby is six months old and will stay with his mother for another six months. At that point, the little one will have to fend for himself.
6. Keeping a Lookout
Not everyone travels in pairs. This lemur is hanging solo and has his wits about him, with both eyes open… wide open! Lemurs are part of the primate family. But not to be confused, lemurs evolved independently of monkeys and apes, isolating themselves on the island of Madagacar.
7. Built-In Central Air
OK, before you say, “Look at that snout,” you should know that the Saiga antelope’s long nose actually acts as an air-conditioner. On really hot days in the city, we’d sign up for that for sure. In his case, the air is cooled off internally, prior to making its way to his lungs. He switches it up in winter, when the air is warmed. We find this antelope on the vast Eurasian steppe of Kazakhstan.
8. Watch Out GoT
This Komodo dragon gives the Game of Thrones dragons some competition in the fierce department. For one, he’s real. Found on only a handful of islands in the Indonesian archipelago, Komodo dragons are equipped with an armory of re-enforced scales, knife-like claws, strong tails… and, stating the obvious, very long tongues. The tongue is actually used to locate prey, sampling the air and picking up on scents.
9. Bamboo for One
This red-eyed tree frog is taking a rest in the jungles of Costa Rica. It’s clear where he got his name from! The rain forest amphibian uses his multi-colored attributes as a defense mechanism. If he’s faced with a predator, he’ll bulge out his eyes, and reveal his bright orange feet and blue-and-yellow flanks. This technique is called “startle coloration,” according to National Geographic.
10. Taking Flight
Oh, bless him. He’s so tiny, but we’re guessing this guy feels every bit the big, badass superhero. And, you know what, we’ll give it to this Draco lizard as he boldly flies through a the Malaysian forest.
People have been going gaga over the series in the U.K., and now it’s here for us to #GatherTogether and enjoy.
Want to see these creatures and many more in action? Be sure to check out Planet Earth II this Saturday, February 18, on BBC America at 9/8c. The series will air simultaneously on AMC Network and SundanceTV, same time, same night, so if it seems like Planet Earth II is everywhere… you’re not imagining it.
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