Series 1, episode 2
In this show we feature the intelligence, stamina and beauty of our feathered friends – the birds. We will see the reproductive process of the pigeon and the delivery of the egg. We will then see inside a pigeon to show the “crop” – the sack like chamber which is found in both male and female and which contains milk for feeding the young. We will see the beauty of its silent flight and the incredible senses of the barn owl as it seeks its prey. In dissection – we will show how the egg is formed in a bird and show how this progresses through the animal. We follow migrating Brent geese and trace their movements and we see inside a goose to show how these toothless birds collect stones to grind down their food. And finally we see the pigeon which we saw being born, embarking on its first flight.
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 present the audience with stories and information that will surprise and intrigue. 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 that 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.
In this show we are talking about stomachs and digestion – the amazing ruminants and the inefficient digesters – those who use what they eat and those who don’t. These are the animals that we see grazing in the fields – cows, horses and sheep. We look inside the stomachs of a sheep and examine the contents of a farmed ruminant. We then observe the habits of a non farmed ruminant as we view the life of a wild deer. Showing the ratio of ingested grass to exported waste of two animals we can then compare which is more and less efficient – and finding that the horse is inefficient we will then dissect and investigate the stomach of a horse. Possibly the most inefficient digester is the rabbit which eats its own excrement having deposited some of the valuable nutrients – and we see rabbits consuming their own faeces.
This show is about pets, pests and piglets – dogs, foxes and pigs – the everyday carnivores and the omnivores – those who eat only meat and those who eat everything. Most people have never seen puppies being born but we see puppies being born and follow their early development – but can puppies from the same litter have more than one father? We DNA test to find out. We see how urban foxes survive and we dissect a fox to investigate the digestion and cardiovascular system of a carnivore. And we look at the early developed habits of pigs which are omnivores like us, dissect a pig to show how similar some of their organs and systems are to us and we test the intelligence of piglets in studio.