The Secret Life of the Zoo

The Secret Life of the Zoo

Series 4 - Episode 1

Thu 13 Aug 4:55pm - 5:55pm More4


Carl is doing his bit for conservation at Chester Zoo. As the new series of this engaging behind-the-scenes series starts, Carl is about to make the ultimate sacrifice, though he doesn’t know it.

As a cockroach, his role in the lifecycle of the jewel wasp is to be a kind of living larder on which eggs can be laid and on whose organs the larvae feed, though wasp female Ripley first paralyses him with her sting.

“Carl is alive, but he’s really not himself any more,” muses keeper Heather, who clearly relishes the wasp’s reproductive approach. It’s fascinating to watch – but not as amazing as the scene of a rhino giving birth.


Black rhino Kitani is due to give birth at Chester Zoo and help swell the ranks of this endangered species, but, having lost three previous calves, it is a worrying time and the keepers are concerned that things aren't going to plan. The zoo also has four rare new arrivals called tenrecs, mysterious mammals from Madagascar and, with so little known about them, the keepers try everything they can to help them breed, while red river hog Mali has given birth to twins, but tearaway dad Confetti is a threat to his own babies.

Cast & Crew

Executive Producer Alistair Pegg
Executive Producer Edmund Coulthard
Executive Producer Tanya Winston
Series Producer Pip Banyard
Documentary Nature