Episode 1: Swimming with the Giant Water Bug

Dominic Monaghan reflects on his search for a predator that liquifies the insides of its victims –  the giant water bug.

BBC America: What challenges did you face in Vietnam?
Dominic Monaghan: The giant water bug lives up to its name. It spends a lot of time in water. Murky water. Water frequented by crocodiles. My challenge was to locate the water bug with a large cumbersome underwater camera whilst making a lot of noise, kicking water around and hoping I didn’t annoy a nearby crocodile.

The Lethocerus indicus, otherwise known as the giant water bug.

What was the most exciting part of your trip to Vietnam?
The biggest thrill of Vietnam was the chance to spend time with a wild monocled cobra just out of a paddy field. The cobra is an amazing beast – majestic and intimidating.

The monocled cobra’s distinct hood has circular markings that resemble eyes.


‘Wild’ Director of Photography, Frank Vilaca, talks water bug hunting.

BBC America: What challenges did you face in Vietnam?
Frank Vilaca: Looking for water bugs in crocodile-infested waters… now there’s a challenge. Never get out of the boat! Use underwater housings with poles, look out for glowing eyes in the reeds at dusk, and maybe with some luck you’ll find a water bug and avoid becoming a meal. We went searching for water bugs in a remote national park, which required the use of some great local porters to move all our gear and support equipment kilometers deep into the reserve. Most of our travel was on riverboat going up the Mekong River (it’s huge – I had no idea!) The Mekong in Saigon had shipyards and ocean-going vessels.

Dom: Rebel Rule-Breaker

What was the most exciting part of your trip?
My most memorable moment was at the river market in Saigon… talk about cool. It was like a farmers’ market on water, all these wooden vessels that looked like they were from another century crammed with vendors hawking fruits and vegetables, and little wooden runabouts selling fast food and noodles.

Dominic stocks up on fruit at a floating market on the Mekong Delta.

BBC America