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Review

With scrawny build and mottled coats, the African hunting dogs in this episode win no prizes for style. They’re the C-listers of the African plains, but by the end of the instalment, which films them hunting from the ground and from the air, you will have warmed to them. There’s an excellent scene where they challenge one of their old enemies, a hyena, in a nasty, bare-fanged tussle that has the air of a street-corner brawl between rival mobs: it’s wonderfully ugly.

But the joy of this series is the way it leaps between different worlds. So as well as the hunting dogs we have the struggles of weaver ants in Australia defending their nest – built by using their own grubs like portable glue guns. And if you’ve never encountered a pika before – a mousy little rodent in the Rockies – he’s a great little character.

Summary

The importance of homes to animals, not only as a place to live but as a shelter from the elements and a refuge from enemies. A pack of African hunting dogs have made their home on a vast plain in Zambia, but it's far from safe as they must battle hyenas and protect their young. Hermit crabs on a tropical island settle down in empty snail shells - and when a new property washes ashore, they all form a queue, then move up the housing chain until all the shells are taken. On the edge of the Sahara are chimpanzees, whose survival relies on knowing where to find water in the most extreme droughts. Here the elders lead a troop on a brutal trek to a dried-out riverbed to dig wells.

Cast & Crew

Narrator David Attenborough
Executive Producer Michael Gunton
Producer Ian Gray
Nature