Night on Earth (2020) s01e06 Episode Script

Dusk Till Dawn

1 We have always been strangers to the night.
It's a world our eyes cannot penetrate.
A place of unnerving sounds and imagined terrors.
But now for the first time we can lift the veil of darkness.
From secret jungles to frozen kingdoms new technology allows us to reveal rarely seen creatures and hidden dramas.
In every place on Earth when the light fades new worlds awake.
As the day draws to a close, darkness races across the planet at over 1,000 kilometers an hour.
From now until the break of dawn every hour brings unique challenges.
And every creature on Earth must find a way to make it through the night.
The Semien mountains in Ethiopia.
Darkness is almost here.
After a long, hot day, this male gelada must gather his troop.
These mountaintops won't be safe for much longer.
Hyenas and leopards will soon be on the hunt.
In the open, the geladas are vulnerable.
Safety lies 100 meters over the cliff edge.
Even the smallest must make the journey if they are to survive the night.
A slip could be fatal.
The old male's extra size means he's far less agile than the rest.
The darker it gets, the higher the risk of falling.
They've made it.
As they settle down for the night, geladas lick at the cliff wall adding vital minerals to their limited vegetarian diet.
A behavior never recorded before.
This precarious resting place should be enough to protect the geladas from the danger of the darkness.
For others night brings protection.
And it can't come soon enough.
As the light slowly fades over Texas, some are getting impatient.
Hiding in this cave is the largest concentration of mammals anywhere on Earth.
Twenty million free-tailed bats.
All waiting for the cover of night.
But the nearest places to feed may be over 100 kilometers away.
It's not possible to make the round trip within the hours of darkness, so they have to brave the light.
And the waiting raptors.
Superior vision and maneuverability give hawks and falcons the advantage in the day.
These bats are adapted for fast, long-distance flights, not aerobatics.
Their only defense is numbers.
Overwhelming their predators, the vast majority will make it to their feeding grounds.
But not all.
The exodus of millions of bats continues for hours.
Finally, the sun slips below the horizon, taking the last rays of light with it.
But not complete.
The light of the full moon is 400,000 times dimmer than the sun.
Our eyes struggle to see.
But a low-light camera reveals a hidden nighttime world.
Still very much awake.
It's the end of a long, hot dry season.
Daytime temperatures are topping 40 Celsius.
Night brings relief.
It's down to a manageable 22.
This elephant family must find drinking water before the sun returns.
Traveling far by day, for the newborn calf, is exhausting.
They must cover as much distance as possible while it's cool.
But night is a mixed blessing.
It brings out predators.
Lions are primarily nocturnal hunters.
Eyes sensitive to the faintest light give them the edge over their prey.
Elephants see better than we do in the dark, but nowhere as well as a lion.
Led by the oldest female, the herd keep the little ones moving.
Storm clouds are brewing obscuring the moon.
Aside from flashes of lightning, it's now pitch black.
The elephants can barely see.
Now, their safety relies on hearing and smell.
They can sense lions are out there, but can't see where exactly.
Elephants are dominant by day.
But at night the tables turn.
The newborn is especially vulnerable.
She needs her family's protection.
In the confusion, they scatter.
A female is cut off from the others.
Left alone in the darkness.
The eastern United States.
Two hours after sunset and magic is in the air.
Most fireflies flash their lights.
But low-light cameras reveal a species with a different approach.
These are blue ghosts.
Amorous males searching for a mate.
Whilst others only twinkle, these can glow continuously for up to a minute.
Their light is a signal to wingless females on the ground.
She's the size of a grain of rice.
But her glow is just enough for males to find her.
Time to breed is short.
The mesmerizing display only lasts for a few weeks.
They turn off their lights, affording a little privacy from the competition.
Mating over, she now heads underground to lay her eggs ensuring the blue ghosts' show will return next year.
In the fjords of Norway, the hours of twilight have long since passed.
Herring are on the move.
It should be safer now, under the cover of darkness.
But not tonight.
Trawlers can scoop up hundreds of tons in a single trip.
And all this activity doesn't go unnoticed.
These inky waters are patrolled by orcas.
They've heard the sound of boats and learned that it means opportunity.
Normally, they would use echolocation, natural sonar, to catch fish in the dark.
But here, they've found an easier way.
They make use of the lights.
Some fish escape the nets.
But disoriented and separated from the shoal, they're easy pickings.
Seven-ton predators show their delicate side.
Orcas are among the most intelligent and social creatures in the ocean.
And our night cameras reveal what may be new behavior.
Bubble signals.
In the lights, the bubbles act as a beacon leading other members of the family to a meal.
In Zimbabwe the night has brought tragedy to the elephant family.
The isolated female lost her battle with the lions.
There's no time to mourn.
The family must move on and find water.
They've been walking for over four hours.
The young ones are getting thirsty.
The newborn is totally exhausted.
But the matriarch knows they're close to water.
She can smell it.
They're within touching distance when danger threatens once more.
By day, their eyesight is as good as an elephant's.
After dark, it's much, much better.
The newborn must be protected.
One wrong move and the hyenas will grab her.
Shrieks in the darkness alert everyone to the danger.
The hyenas do their best to create panic.
But the elephants' distress calls have been heard.
Extended family to the rescue.
The herd can finally quench their thirst.
With strong family bonds, these young elephants have overcome the challenges of the darkest hours.
But for others, the trials are just beginning.
It's midnight on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
The full moon is at its brightest.
There are creatures here we associate with the daytime.
But at this time of year, they must take on the night.
Night cameras reveal their secret world.
Over 40,000 Caribbean flamingos.
Despite the darkness, they can't afford to sleep.
This is the breeding season.
Caribbean flamingo chicks grow incredibly fast.
To meet their insatiable appetites, both parents must stay active, day and night, in a constant relay of feeding.
Chicks left unattended form a crèche for safety.
This chick is barely two weeks old and hungry.
Neither of his parents has returned, so he sets out to find them.
In the dark, it's difficult to tell who's who.
This is not his mother.
Begging strangers won't work, however hard he tries.
His search has taken him away from the protection of the crèche into dangerous waters.
Crocodile eyes work well in darkness.
They have a horizontal band of light-sensitive cells for scanning the horizon.
And with receptors all over their bodies, they can sense movement in the water.
But the moon is bright tonight, so flamingos have a chance.
They sound the early warning.
These chicks grow so fast, they can already outrun the crocodile.
By the time his mother returns, the crèche is back together.
The chick can feed in safety.
In just over seven weeks, all of these chicks will be able to fly.
And their parents won't have to work through the night.
It's now the early hours.
Off the coast of Alaska, salmon are heading for their spawning grounds upriver.
As the moon sinks below the mountains deep valleys are plunged into darkness.
A thermal-imaging camera allows us to cut through the night.
It picks up the heat signature of the landscape and the animals within.
A coastal wolf.
Smaller than Alaska's inland wolves and only found in a few special places.
At this time of year, she relies on salmon.
They make up a quarter of her diet.
Tonight, she's not alone.
A giant grizzly bear dangerous to a lone wolf.
This bear has learned he can be twice as successful fishing in the darkness.
Fish don't see well in the dark.
Neither does the bear.
But his other senses are incredibly sharp.
He listens for salmon thrashing in the shallows and sniffs out females heavy with nutritious eggs.
He can't catch them by sight.
But he can by touch.
Sensitive paws become a trap waiting to snatch any salmon that swims too close.
A substantial catch.
And just the first of many before dawn.
With the bear occupied, the wolf sees her chance.
Tonight, there's enough for everyone.
These are the final hours of night, but the jungles of Asia are still deep in darkness.
Moonlight struggles to penetrate this tangled forest.
In Singapore, there's something strange in the canopy.
A female colugo.
Rarely seen, few people know they exist.
Despite her appearance, she's actually a distant relative of ours.
An early offshoot of our primate family.
She has a baby.
Membranes of skin allow her to keep it safe high in the treetops.
She's a member of a wide colugo social network.
But it's hard to stay in touch above the clamor of the jungle night.
The colugo's solution has only recently been discovered.
They call at a frequency that cuts through the general noise.
Inaudible to the human ear.
Secret signals in the darkness.
A warning.
There is danger about.
A reticulated python.
He's cold-blooded.
But hot jungle nights mean he can stay active after dark.
Colugos have huge eyes always scanning for danger.
They've sacrificed color vision for light sensitivity.
Crucial in the forest night.
The alarm goes out.
Unable to see at night the python relies on other senses.
Its tongue gathers scent.
Receptors in its mouth taste the air.
Colugos are good climbers.
But so are pythons.
The size of a house cat, she would make a decent meal.
She's running out of tree.
But she has one last trick.
Colugos are master gliders.
Capable of swooping over 130 meters.
Silently soaring between the trees to escape the perils of the night.
The final act of night is beginning.
In Thailand, a haunting chorus heralds the dawn.
These are the songs of lar gibbons.
They rise before the sun and begin a daily serenade.
It's a duet between couples to strengthen their bonds.
The still morning air takes their songs far across the canopy.
Others join in.
They welcome the return of day.
As fast as the dark arrived, light now returns.
Time for night creatures to find safety.
The day shift can finally take over.
Time to enjoy the warming sun before night falls once again.
Cutting-edge cameras are changing the way we understand some of the most iconic creatures on Earth revealing that night is full of extraordinary challenges and unrivaled opportunity.
Who knows what other secrets will be uncovered during a night on Earth?
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