Episode 4: The World’s Largest Centipede

Dominic Monaghan reflects on his search for the massive scolopendra.

BBC America: What challenges did you come across in search of the world’s largest centipede?
Dominic Monaghan: The underground cave was an extremely oppressive filming location. The air is stale. It’s pitch black. Many, many venomous and aggressive animals called the cave home, and they were all attracted to my head torch!

What was the most exciting moment on your trip to Venezuela?
I got a chance to spend some time with and get close to a huge wild rattlesnake on the way to the cave. Great find!

Did you make any new bug discoveries?
I came across so many interesting cave-dwelling animals. Their senses seemed heightened due to their surroundings.

‘Wild’ Director of Photography, Frank Vilaca, recounts capturing the scolopendra on camera.

BBC America: What were some of the highlights from your trip to Venezuela?
Frank Vilaca: Every once in a while you get to film some unique behavior. After a long search in bat infested caves, we came across one of nature’s largest centipedes feeding on a bat. With the help of some macro photography, I captured some very graphic feeding behavior, and it was the highlight of my trip. While filming in the bat cave we were required to wear protective gear to shield our lungs from airborne spores. The cave was a little stinky from all the guano everywhere – over two feet deep in some places.

Part of our Venezuela journey was spent in a cloud forest biosphere surrounded by coffee and orange groves – two of my favorite beverages. The orange juice in Venezuela was the best I can ever remember having. To travel in the mountains you need a 4×4 and sometimes you get stuck. Dom got stuck, but a local with a German-built Unimog saved the day and got us where we needed to be.

BBC America