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The Lowland Streaked Tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus) is a small, worm-eating mammal from Madagascar. It has yellow stripes, a shared evolutionary history with elephants and sociable inclinations. It also has spines, and it does something with them that no other mammal can do ... Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild E…
 
Moths for Halloween! If you can drink nectar, or fruit juice, as many moths do, you can drink other kinds of liquids too. Such as ... the bodily fluids of other animals. Up to and including the one that earns you the name ... vampire. Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild Episodes, and e-mail your comments, corrections, …
 
The loricifera are a group of microscopic animals that, despite being abundant and widespread in marine sediments, no-one knew existed until the late 20th century. Once they were discovered, it soon became clear they are very, very unusual: including in one specific way that makes them unlike any other animal on Earth ... Thanks to Jack Wilkinson f…
 
The bat-eared fox (Otocyon megalotis) may not look out of the ordinary (apart from its big ears) but it is. Known as the only insectivorous dog in the world, it has the most teeth and the probably the fastest jaw of any wild dog. It also has a very unusual way of going about the business of raising the next generation ... Subscribe to the show to m…
 
The Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens) may look like just another dragonfly, but it is in fact one of the more remarkable insects on Earth, undertaking some of the most extraordinary journeys in the entire animal kingdom ... Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild Episodes, and e-mail your comments, corrections, suggest…
 
The Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) is Nature's greatest bonebreaker and bone-eater, and it uses two very different tools to make that possible: gravity and acid. It also has a somewhat mysterious but apparently significant relationship with iron oxide ... Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild Episodes, and e-mail yo…
 
The glacier ice worm Mesenchytraeus solifugus might look unremarkable, but it is an extraordinary animal. Above all, it's extraordinary in where it lives: on and in glaciers. It is one of a tiny handful of non-microscopic animals that can not only tolerate but require glacial ice to survive ... Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any …
 
The Greater Honeyguide (Indicator indicator) is famous for its extraordinary co-operative relationship with humans. Less famous is its ruthlessly destructive relationship with other birds ... Research assistance for this episode by Jack Wilkinson. Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild Episodes, and e-mail your comments, …
 
The Bonnethead Shark (Sphyrna tiburo) is a shark that packs quite a bit of unique into its smallish size. It's a member of the hammerhead family, so you know its head is going to be unusual, but the most surprising things about it are actually its teeth and its remarkable diet ... Research assistance for this episode by Jack Wilkinson. Subscribe to…
 
The West Indian fuzzy chiton (Acanthopleura granulata) is a relatively unobtrusive, modest-looking marine mollusc with an extraordinary secret. Its shell is not just for protection; built into it are hundreds of tiny eyes. Eyes with lenses made of crystals. Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild Episodes, and e-mail your …
 
The Barbary Macaque (Macaca sylvanus) is the only macaque that lives outside Asia, hanging on in pockets of the wild Atlas Mountains in North Africa. And, famously, living a semi-wild life on the Rock of Gibraltar. It's also been responsible for at least a couple of interesting human deaths, and exploring those connections takes us all over the pla…
 
Yeti crabs (Kiwa spp.). Hydrothermal vents. Life built not on sunlight, but on chemistry. We're going for a visit to some of the strangest places, with some of the strangest animals living the strangest lives, on the planet ... Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild Episodes, and e-mail your comments, corrections, suggest…
 
The Alpine chough (Pyrrhocorax graculus) is, as far as birds are concerned, pretty much the ultimate mountaineer. It has bred at higher altitude than any other bird, and been seen hanging out near the summit of Mount Everest. But it is also a bird with a remarkable, almost inexplicable, deep history; because the Alpine chough has a mysterious, but …
 
Solorzano's Peripatus (Peripatus solorzanoi) is the biggest velvet worm in the world. Which makes it the biggest example of a very, very unusual group of animals: cute, unique creatures that are highly secretive and mysterious. And are also dedicated hunters with an unusual secret weapon in their arsenal: glue. Subscribe to the show to make sure yo…
 
The Portuguese man o’ war (Physalia physalis) is the most famous and spectacular member of the Blue Fleet. Questions to be asked and answered: What is the Blue Fleet? What obscure connection does it have to the Aquatic Ape theory of human evolution? Just how insanely weird is the Portuguese man o’ war anyway, and what strange connection does it hav…
 
Most spiders live solitary lives, but Anelosimus eximius is an example of a different lifestyle: colonial living. A very social spider, that maintains and defends a communal web and hunts in packs. And because it hunts in packs, it can target bigger prey than your average spider. But it is itself the target for some very unwelcome attention, from t…
 
The Great Northern Tilefish (Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps) is a big, beautiful fish from the western Atlantic. It's one of those rare animals that is capable of reshaping its physical environment over vast areas. But it's also interesting for a rather unique reason. It was discovered, entirely accidentally, in 1879 and within 3 years of that disco…
 
The Bone-House Wasp (Deuteragenia ossarium) is recently discovered species of spider wasp that has some remarkable habits. So, three questions. What is a spider wasp? What is an ossuary? And what connects the two to make for a suitable Wild Episode subject? Oh, and can I come with a tenuous excuse to talk about Beowulf and Old English? (Spoilers: y…
 
Ruppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppelli) is one of the biggest vultures in the world, but it's real claim to fame is more spectacular. It is the highest flying bird on Earth. Certain risks come with being a master of the air, though, which leads us into a discussion that may make this episode unsuitable for some listeners: bird strikes, and their consequ…
 
The world record for longest animal is held by the bootlace worm (Lineus longissimus), a Nemertean or ribbon worm from the North Sea. In fact, it's held by a Scottish bootlace worm that was washed ashore in 1864. But is that record reliable? How long do bootlace worms actually get? And what is a ribbon worm anyway? Subscribe to the show to make sur…
 
Colobopsis explodens is one of a group of ants known as exploding ants. Highly social insects that have developed an extraordinary approach to the defense of their colonies - a mass of workers, every one of which is prepared for the ultimate sacrifice. But how and why, you might wonder, does an ant make itself explode? Subscribe to the show to make…
 
Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) is a member of a rarely seen, little known and little studied group of whales – the beaked whales – that are in fact widespread, relatively common and completely remarkable. The particular claim to fame of Cuvier’s beaked whale is its astonishing diving capabilities: it holds the record for the deepest di…
 
The weirdest animals yet to appear on The Wild Episode: Osedax, a whole genus of bone-eating worms that for tens of millions of years have been colonising giant carcasses in the deep sea. They have no mouths, the males are miniature, they secrete acid and they grow roots like trees. Weird, like I say. But wonderful too. Subscribe to the show to mak…
 
Come and meet the tortoise that went to the moon! The Russian Tortoise (Testudo or Agrionemys horsfieldii) was the first vertebrate animal to fly around the moon. It spends more time in hibernation/aestivation than just about any other vertebrate. And despite being probably the commonest and widespread tortoise in the world, it's vulnerable to exti…
 
What is the biggest terrestrial animal native to Antarctica? It's the Antarctic Midge (Belgica antarctica), a wingless fly that at no more than a quarter of an inch in length is by some distance Antarctica's biggest pedestrian. This is life right on the edge of possibility ... Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild Episod…
 
The gelada (Theropithecus gelada) is the only living member of the Theropithecus genus. It's the only grass-eating monkey on Earth. It's probably the most terrestrial primate on Earth. It's an amazing species. But it's also an excuse to ask interesting questions (though not necessarily answer them!). Questions like: what is a species, anyway? Shown…
 
The spider-tailed horned viper (Pseudocerastes urarachnoides) is in many ways an unremarkable snake. But in one very particular way - its tail, and what it does with it - it is utterly extraordinary. Welcome to the weird and whacky world of caudal luring, and the snake that has taken that behaviour to an amazing extreme ... Shownotes at www.thewild…
 
The Mariana snailfish (Pseudoliparis swirei) was only discovered and described a couple of years ago: and it was a big deal, because no fish has ever been brought up from greater depth. How do fish survive, kilometres down in the ocean? Why is this one named after someone called Swire? And what does it all have to do with The Lost World, a space sh…
 
The Crowned Eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus) is one of the largest birds of prey in Africa. It's probably the most powerful and almost certainly the one that regularly goes after the biggest prey. But is the crowned eagle, as is sometimes suggested, the only living bird to qualify for the description 'man-eater'? Shownotes at www.thewildepisode.com.…
 
The violet oil beetle (Meloe violaceus) is our way into a discussion of leaky leg joints, toxic oil, aphrodisiacs, the cantharidin world, hitch-hiking, egg-laying on an industrial scale and hypermetamorphosism. There are not many animals that better illustrate just how weird and wonderful Nature can get ... Shownotes at www.thewildepisode.com. Subs…
 
The biggest snail in the world, Syrinx aruanus, turns out to be a highly specialized and effective predator. And we'll get to it via dolphins, mistaken identity, a unique human culture and the sound of trumpets. Shownotes at www.thewildepisode.com. Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild Episodes, and e-mail your comments,…
 
In recognition that Halloween is almost upon us, we pay a visit to Nature's dark side. A beetle, a crustacean and a wasp that do really pretty extraordinary things. But not, let's be honest, things that you could really call 'nice'. Predators and parasites that demonstrate just how surprising. and kind of merciless, the natural world can sometimes …
 
The northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) is one of the commonest seabirds in the North Atlantic, and a true master of the air. It is also, slightly less romantically, a master of vomiting noxious oil. And it is one of those rare species that appears to have benefited from humanity's industrial exploitation of the natural environment. But most impor…
 
The Baikal seal is the only purely freshwater seal species in the world, and it lives in precisely one place: Lake Baikal in Siberia. A lake which is itself extraordinary - the deepest in the world - and which is home not only to that unique seal, but to a host of crustaceans, fish and other animals that occur nowhere else on Earth. Shownotes at ww…
 
The Spectral Bat (Vampyrum spectrum - which is pretty cool as scientific names go) is the biggest bat in the Americas, and the biggest carnivorous bat in the world. A properly high-ranking predator in its environment, out there in the darkness enjoying a diet that makes its insectivorous, piscivorous and frugivorous relatives look like they're hard…
 
Revisiting the subjects of the first three Wild Episodes! Just how common is the huge, ridiculously long-lived Greenland Shark? New research has the beginnings of an answer. The Lord Howe Island Stick Insect can't go home until someone gets rid of the rats that invaded it. Those rats are still there, but elsewhere there's big, big news in the world…
 
You've probably heard of Archerfish (Toxotes spp.), the Robin Hoods of the natural world. I discovered them when I was a kid, burning through wildlife books from the library. What I didn't know then - because nobody did - was just how these really pretty small fish rely on physics and fluid dynamics to hunt terrestrial prey using water as a tool. Y…
 
The coelacanth(s) (Latimeria chalumnae and Latimeria menadoensis) must be amongst the most famous fish in the entire world. And rightly so, since their discovery was one of the most astounding zoological moments of the 20th century. But they're not just famous. They're also a bit misunderstood, and bit mysterious. They are not really living fossils…
 
The large blue butterfly (Maculinea arion - or Phengaris arion, depending on who you ask) is both beauty and the beast. Beauty because ... well, it's a pretty little butterfly, so what more could ask for? The beast because it's also such a master of deception, infiltration and carnivory it could be the antagonist in a sci fi horror movie. So welcom…
 
Wild cattle don't come much more beautiful or impressive than the banteng (Bos javanicus), one of three (or is it two?) surviving cattle species that are as much a part of wild Asia as are the tiger or the orang-utan. Like the tiger and the orang-utan, the banteng has not done very well in the face of human pressure, but it has one thing those anim…
 
Part two of two, and the amazing Steller's sea cow (Hydromalis gigas) - a sirenian bigger than an African elephant - finally makes its appearance, as the wheels come off the Great Northern Expedition and Vitus Bering and Georg Steller discover a Lost World. Astonishing wildlife abounds, but will not abound for long, now that it must share its home …
 
Steller's sea cow (Hydrodamalis gigas) was one of the most surprising, dramatic and generally amazing animals to have shared the world with modern humans. To tell its story is going to take two episodes - and this first of them, to be honest, doesn't even feature the sea cow itself. But it does feature Vitus Bering and Georg Steller, two men who wo…
 
Vikings! Monks! Poetry! Plus, a bird that is next to impossible to see, but almost impossible not to hear. The corn crake (Crex crex) has one of the most distinctive voices in the animal world, and for centuries - even as its population in the UK has plummeted - that voice has been a symbol of the bird itself ... Shownotes at www.thewildepisode.com…
 
This Wild Episode is all about what was once the rarest insect in the world - the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect (Dryococelus australis) - and the bizarre story of how it escaped extinction, pulling off one of the most amazing tricks of species survival the world has ever seen ... Shownotes at www.thewildepisode.com. Subscribe to the show for plenty…
 
Where better to start The Wild Episode than with a shark? Specifically, the Greenland Shark. Somniosus microcephalus. One of the least well known, and most mysterious, top predators in the world. An enormous Arctic shark that lives longer than any other vertebrate, eats almost anything, and loses its sight because its eyes get eaten ... Shownotes a…
 
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