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Life in Cold Blood

Among chorusing frogs in Panama, Sir David Attenborough asks how amphibians first managed to invade the land. The Australian lungfish, an ancient relative of the amphibians that can breathe air, and the giant Japanese salamander, one of the largest amphibians on Earth, give vital clues about their first tentative steps. These giant land invaders also demonstrate fiercely protective parenting skills.


In a disused goldmine, David finds salamanders that no longer need water. The mine walls glisten with dozens of female western slimy salamanders guarding their eggs and young. They are ready to put up a fight against other predatory hungry females, who see their young as a source of nourishment.


The primitive worm-like caecilians demonstrate parental care never filmed before. The mother produces a rich secretion and the young lap it up like milk and, more bizarrely, they also eat her skin, tearing at it like mini sharks. She is unharmed and regularly feeds her babies in this way.


But in some amphibians the fathers do the work. The male of the beautiful poison arrow frog, in Peru, carries each of his tadpoles on his back before depositing them into their own individual breeding pools. He guards them, and, when one needs feeding, calls in the female – leading her to the right pool, where she lays an infertile egg as food.


Life in Cold Blood Episode Descriptions

1. The Cold-Blooded Truth | Watch Thursday, April 25, 2013 10pm on WMHT
Reptiles and amphibians are as dramatic in combat, colourful in their communication and tender in their parental care as other animals. They also live their lives on a totally different time scale and harness their energy from the sun. The Cold Blooded Truth reveals the secret of their success.

2. Invaders of the Land | Watch Thursday, May 2, 2013 10pm on WMHT
Among chorusing frogs in Panama, Sir David Attenborough asks how amphibians first managed to invade the land. The Australian lungfish, an ancient relative of the amphibians that can breathe air, and the giant Japanese salamander, one of the largest amphibians on Earth, give vital clues about their first tentative steps. These giant land invaders also demonstrate fiercely protective parenting skills.

3. Dragons of the Dry | Watch Thursday, May 9, 2013 10pm on WMHT
From iguanas emerging out of a tropical swamp to a face-to-face encounter with a monitor lizard in the Australian desert, David Attenborough traces the lizards’ colonisation of the
Earth as they ultimately became the dragons of The dry.

4. Sophisticated Serpents | Watch Thursday, May 16, 2013 10pm on WMHT
David Attenborough examines the fascinating lives of the most misunderstood group of reptiles – the snakes – and reveals that their simplistic body design has contributed to their success.

5. Armoured Giants | Watch Thursday, May 23, 2013 10pm on WMHT
The intimate lives of some of the largest and most impressive animals alive today – crocodiles, turtles and tortoises – are revealed in this final programme. All of them are covered in thick scales that have turned into armour, yet, despite their tough exteriors, these animals are capable of astonishing behaviour and warm-hearted interaction.

The monumental building that was supposed to last forever was destroyed after 53 years.

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