Starting this Wednesday on BBC One, Talk to the Animals follows zoologist Lucy Cooke on her mission to crack the animal kingdoms code of communication.
Over this two-episode series, Lucy travels the world to meet the teams of scientists currently making intriguing new discoveries in the field of animal communications. The first episode focuses on how animals communicate within their own societies and in particular, how they go about finding their ideal partner.
Lucy will be visiting a clan of chatty banded mongooses in Uganda, a pod of hippos along the river Nile who like to hold their conversations underwater, a group of body language reliant chimps in the African rainforests, some flashy North American fireflies in the US, the tungara frog of Panama to whom good vocals are very important and finally a jumping spider which performs its courtship dance just for Lucy.
In episode 2 Lucy takes a look at how animals go about communicating with friends and their enemies. In Africa she’ll be studying the complex calls of the spotted hyena before tricking some vervet monkeys into warning their friends and families of impending danger. Lucy also gets introduced to an eavesdropping bat, discovers how horses recognise each other, learns dolphins have names and witnesses the fork-tailed drongo mimicking other animals to trick the poor meerkats into giving up food.
In the amazing stand-off below, we also get to see the first video footage of animals communicating via infra-red. Here a Californian ground squirrel waves his tail around to generate heat, purely to communicate to the infra-red viewing rattlesnake that he’s aware of the predators presence and its cover is blown.
Episode 1 of Talk to the Animals airs at 8:00pm on Wednesday, 16 July, 2014, with part two broadcasting the following night, also at 8:00pm on BBC One. Series catch-up will also be available online via BBC iPlayer.