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It’s springtime, the air is tepid, the skylarks chirp, and spring flowers cover the meadows and the forest grounds. Out of a pile of leaves a fluttery, sniffling snout tip appears: it’s a hedgehog awakening from its winter sleep heading into the light of a new year, having only two things in mind: food and finding a partner.This documentary accompanies for a year one of the most popular yet still unknown animals of our landscape. The hedgehog is not only part of the oldest mammal species on our planet, newest findings disclose that it will stay among us for many years to come. Neither the massive destruction of natural habitats nor the horrendous road kill can seriously endanger its population.
For thousands of years, humans have believed that there were once flying monsters. They became mythologized, with stories about them shared around the world. But could they have really existed? 220 million years ago dinosaurs were on their rise to dominating Earth. But another group of reptiles was set to make an extraordinary leap: pterosaurs were about to take control of the skies. These creatures were the first flying vertebrates, which grew to have a 40ft wingspan, the size of a jet. The story of how and why these mysterious creatures took to the air is more fantastic that any fiction.
They are killers. They kill with unbelievable precision. They fight Kung Fu style and are seen in Japan as a symbol of vigilance - the mantises. Their triangular head with its unique flexibility is conspicuous. Two overdimensioned eyes fixate the distance to their prey rapidly and three-dimensionally. The chest segment of the mantis is prolonged and equipped with spiny appendages that can spear their prey as fast as a jack knife. The mysterious aura that surrounds the praying mantis has a lot to do with the fact that they are rarely seen. They have adapted to their surroundings perfectly. No matter whether leaves, blossoms, tree bark, sandy floors or even orchids - the mantis adjusts to all environments. We observe mantises with our cameras whilst they are hunting, when they shed their skin and whilst breeding and eventually the females practicing their cannibalism. We were also on hand when the female produces a nest of foam on which to lay her eggs; all filmed with time lapse and real-time cameras. A film, that comprehensively documents the secret life of the mantises for the very first time and provides us with unique footage thanks to state of the art equipment.
They hover over ponds and pools and inhabit the banks of rivers and streams. With their dazzling metallic colours and unique ways of flying they are truly jewels of the air. This film presents dragonflies as they have never been seen before. Fascinating close up shots take us into the world of these insects, which have lived on earth since the age of the dinosaurs. Spectacular super slow motion shots and elaborate computer animation uncover, for the first time, how dragonflies capture their prey at lightning speed while flying and how they mate in the air. Underwater photography reveals the development of the predatory dragonfly larvae while time lapse sequences show the emergence of the fully grown insect. However these amazingly colourful flying acrobats are in danger. The dragonfly's preferred habitat in and around water is rapidly diminishing, which, in Europe alone, has pushed around 80 species to the brink of extinction.