Planet Earth II Recap: The One With the Mountains

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The flamingos of the Bolivian Andes. Photo: Justin Anderson/BBC
Planet Earth II

Planet Earth II

Mountains Season 1 Episode 2
Editor's Rating 4 stars

Join us, won’t you? Myself and the Planet Earth (II) are spending an hour in the mountains. Also, just FYI: The air’s thinner up here, so if there are any weird, bad, or scary animals, I might lose it.

Let’s start up in the mountains of the Arabian Peninsula, where we’ll hang out with some Nubian ibex. You might call them “desert goats” if you were lazy, or “OH MY GOD THE BABIES ARE SO CUTE WITH THE GIANT EYES AND LITTLE HOOVES” if you were me. The Nubian ibex somehow manage to balance along the rocky cliffs of the peninsula, all to avoid foxes lurking down below. Has anything ever been more terrifying and adorable at the same time? No.

Next, it’s eagles versus crows and we all know who’s boss. (That’s right: the eagle.) But when it’s eagle versus eagle? It’s a toss-up, but they better gobble quickly, because every eagle is swooping in for a bite and a fight.

“Only the most competitive will survive the perils of the mountain winter,” narrator David Attenborough says, cutting to a giant avalanche racing down a mountainside. Did you know that the mountains of North America are hit by thousands of avalanches every year? (Also, have you seen Force Majeure?) Anyway, we’re talking hibernation right now, which means ADORABLE SLEEPING BEAR CUBS.

But what will they do when the snow melts? Well, a lot of this.

And this.

AND THIS.

These bears are very itchy because it’s hot and they’re shedding. Bonus: The tree captures each bear’s unique scent when he or she rubs up on it, therefore creating a “list” of who’s been there before. That lets every bear know who’s “around” so they can avoid fights.

But it’ll be tough not to start a fight when everyone’s hanging out by the watering hole. In this case, it’s a river that’s just warm enough to not freeze over in the cold winter. It’s basically the club. I mean, just look at these moves.

Now we’re in the Andes, hanging out with some mountain viscacha. They look like bunnies but are actually chinchillas. Crazy, right?

Now it’s time for my favorite moment of the episode: a look at the highest flamingo colony in the world. These flamingos live in the Bolivian Andes and are honestly having a way better time than you or I. During the breeding season the flamingos … go … on … parade. Honestly, look at them go.

No one really know why the flamingos do it, but they do a little march, a little dance, and everyone gets laid. It’s the best party in town.

Cut to Africa’s Mount Kenya, the continent’s second-highest mountain, where it’s 30 degrees colder on average than the surrounding savanna. It’s not just the animals that have to adapt, though. It’s also the plants. They’ve figured out a neat trick: Enjoy the summer during the day, but when night falls and everything freezes into ice …

They tuck themselves in.

Good night.

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Planet Earth II Recap: The One With the Mountains