Every morning in the wild a gazelle awakens one thing is for sure for the gazelle that day as every other she must run faster than the fastest lion if she cannot she will be killed and eaten every morning a lion awakens for the lion two one thing is certain.
This day and every day he must run faster than the slowest gazelle whether fate names you a gazelle or a lion is of no consequence it is enough to know that with the rising of the sun you must run and you must run faster than the day before for the rest of your.
Days or you will die we all have to run run the race of life this race of life will reveal all that happens in the shadows after the sun goes down the real dramas begin each animal has evolved unique abilities.
To survive in the dark from the tropics of australia to the forests of america strange animals and bizarre behavior as the nighttime predators start the hunt the intended prey is on alert and ready to take evasive.
Action sometimes the predator wins sometimes they lose some are as wise as a fox and others are as spiky as a porcupine some appear soft and gentle but appearances can be deceptive these are the secrets of the nocturnal race of life our planet sits in space orbiting a star.
We are surrounded by darkness but thanks to that star we are bathed in warmth and light every day most creatures avoid the night they have evolved excellent eyesight so they can eat and run and breed by the light of day.
a totally different set of animals who sleep during the day waiting to come out with the stars many of these creatures have eyes so sensitive they can see by starlight or have.
Compensated with a highly tuned sense of smell or hearing or touch the dark places in the undergrowth are home to predator and prey raccoons open their masked eyes mice stick their noses into the night air.
Time to find food among the undergrowth domestic cats gone wild are out for a kill every nocturnal predator is now up and alert this is a race of life for highly specialized night dwellers this entire continent has been invaded.
By a killer derived 500 years ago and has completely taken over the country every night these creatures will eat up to 75 million native animals one animal is winning the race of life at the expense of hundreds of others the feral cat.
domestic cats share the same ancestors as lions and tigers these wild cats are a problem on almost every continent but they become a disaster when they colonize islands this night stalker is one of the 18 million feral cats in australia.
He's on the lookout for a kill and there aren't many places this potential prey can hide cats can climb and squeeze into small spaces this vole can smell it coming the cat has caught the scent of his prey feral cats have made themselves at home.
In every environment in australia except the deep rainforest they can even have a special ability to survive in the desert they can survive with little water a white throated wood rat has seen a cat the wood rat stays very still the cat pauses.
He's uncomfortably close the wood rat can't risk staying around the cat is alerted the wood rat has to make a life and death decision run or hide he decides to run he makes a leap for freedom the cat is too fast and wins this race of life cats have a reflective layer in their.
Eyes to help them see at night something moves in the grass in seconds it's over and another native animal loses cats first came to australia on european ships despite government control measures they are thriving.
These efficient killers seem to be too numerous to stop this cat is cruising for a meal she may kill over 30 small animals tonight something has lost his race of life already probably a possum one meal down.
29 more to go in the drier parts of australia small pools of water are the best hope for food this tabby will need to be good he can run up to 50 kilometers an hour in short bursts but the frog is also fast fast enough to win this race of life.
The other threat posed by these agile hunters is the diseases they carry this pet cat gone wild is a fierce survivor in some places he can destroy an entire web of life deep in the forests of north and central america lives a hunter with exceptional.
Intelligence this animal has a high chance of finding a good meal because he's happy to eat almost anything fruit nuts insects and small animals he looks like a large rodent but he's more closely related to bears the raccoon raccoons look like bandits of the forest.
Thanks to the black stripe of fur across their eyes these agile animals can climb down trees head first to do this they rotate their hind feet to point backwards these two are digging for grubs or worms all raccoons are thought to be colorblind.
But like cats their eyes have special reflective tissue to help them see in the dark a treasure trove of food is lying not far away from our group these hatchlings are primary predators alligators hatch with a full set of teeth and feisty behavior to match.
They are fully independent and hungry this one doesn't know it but he's lucky as he was one of the first to hatch some of his brothers and sisters are not so lucky these raccoon kits have had little experience fending for themselves they are still vulnerable and there's an army of alligators on the.
Prowl it's hard to know who is the hunter and who is the hunted but these young raccoons are tougher than they look another alligator becomes an item on today's raccoon menu raccoons can measure over a meter from nose to tail.
And they can happily stay in the water for hours this common raccoon is reluctant to go in and for good reason the alligator's parents are out and about the raccoon has nowhere to go the alligators are scanning the water.
For a meal raccoons can only swim at about six or seven kilometers an hour too slow predator has become prey to the apex hunter in the swamp raccoons can live to 10 years old in captivity but in the wild they are lucky to survive for three years.
These delicate little hands are supremely adapted for finding food this family will stay together until the autumn the mother has all summer to teach her kids how to find food and then the young raccoons will strike out on their own find a den and run their own raccoon.
Race of life there's a big upside and a big downside to being this creature the good news is there are millions and millions of them all over the world so they are excellent winners in their race of life the bad news is these animals are the favorite food for.
A huge number of predators so they need to be very good at hiding running and breeding the mouse small mostly vegetarian and delicious to many these little creatures are uncomfortable in bright light they prefer the gentle light of the.
Night there are hundreds of species of mice the forest at night seems quiet but it's buzzing with frantic activity the mouse is sniffing around for meal he'll eat almost anything but prefers seeds nuts and vegetation.
like all mice he feels safer near vertical surfaces rocks grass and trees it maximizes his escape options this little guy is an excellent all-around athlete he can run climb jump and swim a juicy crop of lush green seedlings.
The food has attracted a range of small hungry mammals and the small mammals have attracted something else a barn owl the mouse is unaware of her presence owls have acute hearing and can move in absolute silence but the mouse is well camouflaged.
The owl is on the prowl her soft wings carry her through the forest as she scans the undergrowth the mouse is hard to spot but not impossible his race is over this tiger snake has highly sensitive smell the darkness is not a problem when you're relying on smell.
The mouse can smell something mice are born knowing which smells signal danger now the mouse has no choice but to keep still wait and hope he hasn't been noticed as the snake is onto him the mouse has a very unwelcome guest he's trapped it's game over for the.
Mouse the mouse has been paralyzed by the snake venom every night every mouse will have to run his race of life many times mice can live for up to three years but they rarely survive in the wild for more than one.
Their secret to winning the race of life is a numbers game just one female can give birth to 300 babies in her lifetime which is one massive family race of life almost every forest across the world is home to this impressive survivor she's found in places she's not supposed.
To be and can survive in extreme places on our planet from sun-baked deserts to the icy tundra these animals have adapted to face the challenges of their environment and win the fox foxes are related to dogs they are smaller than most wild dogs.
And all have magnificent bushy tails an arctic fox these perfectly camouflaged snow dwellers can survive at -50 degrees centigrade the fox has found the remains of a polar bear kill the fringes of the arctic are being invaded by a new kind of fox the red fox this is the largest of all.
The foxes as our climate warms these foxes are following the weather and moving into the territory of the arctic fox the big question is will global warming allow the red fox to wipe out his arctic cousin is climate change creating a race of life.
Between the two foxes the news is good numbers of arctic foxes have not gone down both foxes have such different needs they can survive side by side this fox has many mouths to feed her kids wait and are not yet weaned she will need all the energy she can get.
To maintain a healthy milk supply little ones need to learn fast foxes are solitary hunters this one has picked up the scent of a rat hidden in the grass a quick pounce kills the prey before it knows what's hit it many animals hide from the extreme cold in their burrows.
As the sun rises the red fox prefers to stop hunting a rabbit has a breakfast seasoned with morning dew the fox is also interested in eating another fox approaches like all foxes he has excellent eyesight time to go in the fox is too fast foxes can jump nearly two meters in the.
Air it's a spectacular ambush technique foxes are native to north america africa and eurasia in australia they are unwelcome invaders which is good news for the eagle the fox is anxious the eagle is determined the race of life between two predators is on.
Eagle swoops the weight of the wedge tail landing at speed is enough to kill the fox instantly the eagle has won her race of life today this primary predator is playing her part in keeping down fox numbers where they are not wanted but the fox is smart and fast he is a.
Big winner in the global race of life these woods and grasslands are home to one of the largest rodents in the world they are an icon of the canyons and mountains of north and south america they are a familiar sight in southern europe.
Africa and asia most prefer to live near trees and water they are armed with hundreds of dangerous weapons but they are harmless herbivores the porcupine famous for its enormous quills and its friendly face there are two main types of porcupine.
Old world in africa and eurasia and new world in the americas the old world porcupine is much more nocturnal she spends most of her time foraging on the forest floor if she gets it right her home can be a rich spread of fruit leaves and twigs sometimes it even falls from the sky.
Porcupines love to chew they have a reputation for gnawing on the handles of tools shovels axes and oars this female has something more important on her mind she has recently given birth the young are born ready equipped with their quills but they are.
Soft at first taking less than a day to harden and protect the young porcupine soon they will find a den of their own and begin their old world porcupine race of life across the atlantic ocean lives a porcupine who's evolved separately from his old world cousins.
He is well adapted to the icy winters of north america he doesn't hibernate so he has developed a skill to help him find food despite his serious bulk the new world porcupine can climb trees small twigs and new leaves help to keep the animal alive when there's not much else around and.
He's safely out of the way of predators his quills are also different from his friends across the ocean they are evenly distributed between the hair on his body you would have to be awfully hungry to attempt to eat this guy sadly porcupines have a bit more work to.
Do on their tree climbing skills many are found with broken bones as a result of falling from a tree on the african plains a leopard is about to try her chances she has spotted a pair of crested porcupines old world porcupines grow their quills in lethal clusters.
An injury from one of these could kill the leopard if it prevents her from hunting porcupine teamwork has won the race of life today one of the big cats of the african savannah has lost and the porcupine lives to fight another day in his very spiky.
Race of life the coast of eastern australia is home to a shy night creature he likes to live where there are lots of flowers and fruit the rain forests of tropical queensland fit the bill he's also happy in temperate forests.
So he can be found in the eucalyptus trees of new south wales victoria and tasmania while some more famous marsupials sleep the ringtail possum emerges for a feast ringtail possums are marsupials who grow to about half the size of a cat.
They have excellent night vision and they need it as there are lots of predators on the prowl ring tails have prehensile tails to help them grip onto branches the tip of the tail is hairless for extra gripping power gum leaves are tough to digest and possums often eat their feces.
To get a second chance at digestion possums live in the heady heights of very tall trees so they are excellent climbers their back feet have two opposing toes to help them hang on a red fox these predators were introduced to australia for sport.
And are now a massive threat to native animals the possum senses something's not right the fox has little time the possum scampers to safety made it the foxes must find another animal to feed their growing family but the possum is not safe yet a goanna these lizards can be over two and a half.
Meters long they are fast and strong and they eat almost any small animal the possum is safe this time but it's going to be a long night there are still more predators out and about another goanna the thing that makes this.
Animal a threat is her feet these claws are capable of climbing trees the possum has nowhere to go if he stays very still he might not be found the goanna has caught the scent of the possum the possum is hiding the gowena has.
Found him but he won't give in without a fight after a bite like that the goanna retreats against the odds the ringtail possum has won his race of life tonight the world of the night is a world of fear excitement and food every animal adapted to live in.
The dark is a specialized survivor the raccoon will eat almost anything and has a hyper sensitive sense of touch this wheat field hides thousands of mice surviving as a team thanks to their speed camouflage and enormous families but most individuals do not make it to.
Old age the arctic home to a white fox and a red fox each running their race of life side by side and almost every continent has this prickly survivor who loves fruit and is very good at defending himself.
The oldest continent of all has a unique collection of nocturnal animals each running their own race of life after dark you