This series explores how animals work… inside and out. The behaviours, biology and mechanics of animals are, quite simply, incredible and these programmes try to capture some of their fantastic stories.
The series features animal behaviours in natural habitats and under human control. There are also strong dissection scenes – because there is no other way to see the exact inner workings of some of the amazing animals we share the world with.
Presented by Ella McSweeney and the very eminent Professor Peter Wilson the series sets out to tell stories and present information that will surprise and intrigue viewers. For two years Ella studied Zoology under Professor Wilson. Peter is one of the foremost authorities on animal physiology and is still teaching in Trinity some 50 years after graduating as a vet. Peter brings his vast knowledge to the series.
The first episode looks at fabulous fish and electrifying ecthoterms – everything from salmon, trout and eels to slithery snakes and lizards. Episode two shows the behaviours and characteristics of our feathered friends, particularly pigeons, geese and the barn owl. Episode three examines the inner and outer worlds of ruminants like sheep, cows and deer and we also look at the digestion traits of hindgut fermerters like the horse and the rabbit. And the final episode looks at some common carnivores and omnivores – dogs, foxes and pigs.
How Animals Work looks at animals we think we know in a whole new light. We certainly find out more about how they work – which might even help re-assess our relationship with them.
Series 1, episode 1 of 4
In this show we are talking hard to handle, we are talking slime, snakes and fish – this is the fabulous fish and ectotherms. We see the salmon reproduction process and using time lapse cameras we see the hatching of the fish eggs. We then have a look inside a fish to explain the use of the swim bladder – to adjust buoyancy – and the gills. We will then see a fish out of water – the eel – which can travel over land as well as sea. We dissect an eel and assess the age of the eel through its ears. Other ectotherms can live on land – mainly reptiles. We see the characteristics of a snake and using thermal imaging will see how it is attracted to heat, we see inside a monitor lizard and we put a snake to the test – can it find a balloon filled with hot water?