Dangerous Encounters

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Saturday 15 August, 6.30pm

He’s come face to face with some of the most dangerous creatures on the planet, but now National Geographic herpetologist Dr. Brady Barr is out of his element studying a barnyard animal that’s turned into an invader – the feral hog. Domestic blood may flow through their veins but there’s no doubt they are wild, dangerous, and destructive. And they must be stopped! Brady takes on the challenge to find the best solution to the feral-hog problem that has swept the world. He gets hands-on as he tries to stay one step ahead of these intelligent and adaptable hogs. But he’d better stay on his toes – unlike their docile barnyard cousins, these” hogs gone wild” pack a punch – with some sharp tusks to boot!

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Saturday 23 May, 6.30pm

It was the bite heard round the world. In April 2007, while on a scientific expedition deep in a guano-flooded bat cave in Indonesia, National Geographic herpetologist Brady Barr was bitten by a 12-foot-long python. The bite stopped Brady from completing his mission to find out why such large snakes are drawn to this inhospitable cave. So Brady does what he has to do. He returns to the cave. One year later, Brady’s back, waist deep in bat guano. He’s heard rumours that these snakes can reach up to 50 feet long. But are the rumours true? There’s only one way to find out, and that’s deep underground in a place few have gone before. This time Brady’s going deeper, braving the dangers of the cave and using ingenious new techniques to try to capture one of the biggest snakes he has ever captured in his career. Will it confirm the legend of the 50-foot python?

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Saturday 16 May, 6.30pm

They’re cute, harmless and usually the size of your thumb. If you think you know what salamanders are, think again. Renowned herpetologist Brady Barr is on a journey to find the world’s largest salamanders – giants that can grow up to five feet long and weigh more than 35 kilos. But which of these giants would be the King of the Salamanders? To find out, Brady travels from the swamps of Florida to the jungles of Asia to capture and study the big four of the salamander world – a greater siren that breathes through gills, has two legs and can spin like a top; the two-toed amphiuma; the hellbender, with its flattened head and sagging skin the most hideous of the four; and a big, ferocious, battle-scarred beast called the denmaster. Brady checks their size, survival skills and overall sliminess to see which of these beasts is truly the King of the Salamanders. One of his tests has never been done before on all these salamanders – he tastes their slime!

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Saturday 9 May, 6.30pm

Brady Barr is on a quest to shed light on one of the largest and most ancient creatures of the sea – the elusive Sixgill shark. Brady’s goal is to find out more about where these giants, which grow up to 16 feet in length and weigh up to 1,200 pounds, roam. Little scientific knowledge exists about the behaviour and migration of these massive animals. In fact, scientists aren’t even sure why they have their namesake six gills instead of the more typical five. Brady braves ocean depths in Honduras, extreme cold in Seattle’s Puget Sound and fearsome predators in Hawaii. His goal is to understand why this little known animal that normally lives in waters up to 8000 feet deep occasionally is found in much shallower seas. Brady’s dream is to get as close to one of these creatures as he can… and even swim with one. Will he be successful?

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Saturday 2 May, 6.30pm

National Geographic herpetologist Brady Barr races to South Africa’s Kruger National Park to aid of one of his most beloved reptiles – Africa’s giant Nile crocodile – carnivorous giants that typically measure 12 feet long and weigh half a ton. Kruger is home to one of the densest concentrations of Nile crocs, with some 200 living within a five-mile gorge, relying on its deep water and sandy beaches to lay their eggs. But a dam upriver is about to obliterate the beaches, so Brady is teaming up with South African Nile croc expert Hannes Botha to find out how the crocodiles will fare as this prime habitat disappears. Catching several huge crocodiles, Brady attaches satellite transmitters to them. They are the first freshwater crocs in Africa to ever be tracked. The new and vital information from this study will allow scientists to follow the crocodiles as they face the loss of their home.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Saturday 18 October, 8.30pm

Something is blinding American crocodiles living in Costa Rica’s Tarcoles River and National Geographic herpetologist Brady Barr is on the case. As it turns out, the Tarcoles River is one of the most polluted waterways in South America. Could deadly pollutants be the smoking gun or is something even more sinister at work? To solve the mystery, Barr teams up with scientific heavyweights Thomas Rainwater, a toxicologist, to determine if any nasty toxins might be responsible and Nick Millichamp, a veterinary ophthalmologist specialising in eye diseases in exotic species, to determine if the problem is biological. Together, they head into the murky river to catch crocs and gather clues with the hope of solving the mystery.

National Geographic – Monday 14 July, 9.30pm

Brady Barr’s observations and adventures continue with a whole different beast: the Komodo dragon. Studying a 70-kilogram super-predator that exhibits techniques of some of the world’s best hunters is a dangerous business – and Dr Barr is ready for the challenge. The Komodo dragon is a carnivore, able to devour up to 80 percent of its body weight in a single meal. It’s armed with razor-sharp, serrated teeth, a snake-like forked tongue, body armour and a mouth full of noxious bacteria. Dr Barr heads to the Island of Rinca in Indonesia, home to the highest concentration of Komodos in the world, to examine the predatory style of the dragon. In his first experiment, Dr Barr covers a remote-control car in animal fur to see how or even if the dragon will attack it. Could it provide critical clues to how they hunt? In another experiment, he does what no scientist has ever done before: he straps a camera onto the back of this mammoth reptile. Will the footage provide clues to the Komodo’s predation techniques?