Inside the Perfect Predator

Synopsis: Four top predators are compared, each champion in a type of environment, with key adaptations. On the ground, the cheetah outruns prey (approached in masterly stealth) and enemies. In the air, the peregrine falcon is a flight and diving machine. In sweet water, the Nile crocodile survives since the Dino age, without natural enemies, with several amazing metabolism stunts. Lurking under water, it snaps blindly at migrating wildebeest, then waits underground. In the oceans, the equally ancient shark, notably the great white, migrates seasonally to find abundant prey, such as young seals around South Africa.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Mark Brownlow
  1 nomination.
60 min

This is the inside story

of four extraordinary predators.

The peregrine falcon...

the Nile crocodile...

the cheetah...

and the great white shark.

With ground-breaking

computer graphics...

and incredible

close-up photography...

we reveal the inner alchemy

that gives our hunters the edge.

Reconstructing their intimate lives

as they make their kills.

But who is

the planet's perfect predator?


Living right above the heads

of the people of London...

...the fastest animal on the planet,

the peregrine falcon.

Man-made cliff tops

offer sanctuary to the peregrines...

...but they also present new dangers.

With the arrival of spring

come new demands

on the peregrines' hunting skills.

Demands that will stretch

them to their limit.

There are new mouths to feed.

If these chicks are to survive

long enough to fly the nest,

their parents will have to catch two

pigeons a day for the next month.

This will be the greatest

challenge of their mother's life.

Her secret weapon is speed.

But on the flat,

a pigeon can out-fly a peregrine.

She must use gravity

to reach her maximum speed.

For this, she rides the updraft.

Half a mile above the city,

she can now survey

the whole of her territory.

Of all the four predators,

the peregrine falcon

has the keenest eyesight.

At the base of each retina,

she has two concentrations

of visual sensors,

where humans have only one.

This gives her incredible powers

of triangulation.

From two miles away, she locks on

to her unsuspecting target.

The hunt is on.

While this peregrine falcon

must kill every day,

there's one predator that can

survive without food for a year.

It lives in the rivers of Africa.

Even when they have run dry.

Months ago a five-metre,

half-ton Nile crocodile

scraped out a burrow

to escape the heat.

Now he's in a state

of suspended animation.

His heart beats

only twice a minute.

Delivering just enough blood to keep his

vital organs from shutting down completely.

To survive, he draws

on the fat reserves...

...accumulated from

last year's hunt.

In this condition, he rides out

the worst of the drought.

When the rains finally return...

...the predator flickers to life.

But before the cold-bloodied reptile

can hunt, it must first power up.

The ridges of scales along his back

are more than just body armour.

They act like solar panels,

absorbing the heat.

Just beneath the surface, a web of

capillaries carries the warm blood

to the crocodile's core

activating his systems.

His eyesight sharpens.

His hearing tunes in

to the world around him.

For the next six months, he must

make do with only fish to snack on.

Then, it is the moment

he's been waiting for.

Inside his ears,

minute hair-like structures

detect a low-frequency...

...sound well beyond human hearing.

It's the rumble

of a distant stampede.

Hordes of wildebeest on their

never-ending quest for fresh pastures.


he has his quarry in his sight.

The hunt is on.

While the crocodile

can wait for prey to come to him,

another predator must make

an epic journey to reach hers.

Deep in the Indian Ocean,

the world's largest predatory fish

is heading to her feeding grounds.

One ton and five metres long,

this female great white shark

left the coast of Australia over 100

days ago on a 7,000-mile journey.

She cruises half a mile down,

in a world of pitch black.

Up above,

fishing fleets are scooping out

the last of the big shoals.

Down below, the shark is burning

the last of her fuel supply.

She has almost exhausted

the fatty oils in her liver.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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