Planet Earth II Recap: The One With the Jungles

Planet Earth II

Season 1 Episode 3
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Madeleine Close/BBC

“Earth is the only planet we know of where life exists. [Editor’s note: So far!] And here, it does so in abundance,” starts David Attenborough, adding that with so much stuff in the jungle — home to half of plants and animals on land! — things should be easier for everyone who lives there, right?

“Paradise is crowded. Life fills every niche.”

Gotcha, David.

When you think of jungles, you think of monkeys. Or at least, I do. We start with an indri — the largest living lemur and native to Madagascar. It’s also a primate, and when it jumps, it looks so much like a human that it honestly freaks me out. Even higher up in the trees lives the spider monkey, which travels in family groups and isn’t born with the ability to do all that fancy tree swinging. They have to learn. As Attenborough reveals, a third of spider monkeys never make it to adulthood.

Never let go.

Speaking of flying, look at this Draco lizard go.

I’m gonna need another another angle on this guy.

Flying’s not a problem for the Ecuador-based sword-billed hummingbird. Neither is the whole eating thing, as it has a competitive advantage over the other 100 species of hummingbird all fighting for nectar.

But how does the sword-billed hummingbird scratch himself, asks Planet Earth II. (We are very interested in how animals preen themselves, apparently.) Well, it’s kind of like how people do it. Or dogs.

Or they could just wait for a free shower, which comes daily in the rainforest and, when shot in slow motion, looks absolutely terrifying. Like giant, heavyweights hurtling toward these poor bugs and birds and such. In Brazil, it rains so much that half of the jungle is always underwater and the forest floor is ten meters below the surface. There’s some weird stuff going on down there, too, like river dolphins — which are so rare that even Planet Earth didn’t think they’d be able to capture them. They’re practically blind and found nowhere else on earth.

But they aren’t as cute as capybaras, who chill in squads by the river.

This capybara probably shouldn’t act so chill about it.

You know who else is chill? This basically transparent glass frog, batting away a hungry wasp from his precious eggs.

But just look how yummy they look!!

When it gets dark, jungle plants practically fall over themselves to advertise their “fruiting bodies.”


And check out this little raver.

They are called railroad worms, and they are actually poisonous, caterpillar-like beetle larva.

If you can’t glow, try dancing like this Wilson’s bird-of-paradise. And don’t forget to clear space for before you strut your stuff.

Then you’ll definitely get laid.

Planet Earth II Recap: The One With the Jungles