Nature (Season 36) – Nature’s Miniature Miracles

Air date: 11/22/2017

Nature: Nature’s Miniature Miracles

Premieres Wednesday, November 22 at 8 p.m. on PBS

(check local listings)

Synopsis:

Great things come in small packages and animals are no exception to the rule. Learn the epic survival stories of the world’s smallest animals as Nature shines a light on these tiny heroes who have evolved extraordinary skills and achieved mindboggling feats: from a tiny sengi, considered the cheetah of the shrew world, to a hummingbird who travels thousands of miles north each year, from a small shark that walks on land to an army of baby turtles instinctively racing to the safety of the open ocean. Through vast savannahs to rocky plateaus and down to the depths of the seas, it is a great big world out there, but for these animals size does not matter. One hour.

Noteworthy Facts:

  • At less than three-feet long, Epaulette sharks are the smallest of the 14 shark species found in the Great Barrier Reef.
  • A female elephant shrew, more commonly known by her African name of sengi, is 300 times smaller than a lion and 8,000 times smaller than an elephant, weighing just over one pound, yet is twice as fast as a cheetah for its size.
  • Hermit crabs range in size from just a fraction of an inch to the size of a coconut. When looking for new shells to call home, hermit crabs assemble themselves in a chain, largest to smallest, and move into the larger shell in front of them while passing their old shell to the smaller crab behind them.
  • The Rufous hummingbird weighs less than a nickel, but flies solo for a 4,000-mile migration from Mexico to Alaska each spring.
  • The small resurrection plant can survive the blazing heat of the Sahara Desert for up to 100 years without water.
  • Adult Red kangaroos are the largest living marsupial, with some males reaching six-feet tall. Their babies, however, are born the same size as a jellybean, an astounding 50,000 times smaller than their mothers.
  • Phytoplankton use light from the sun to photosynthesize and produce energy for themselves. One of the by-products of that process is oxygen.

Buzzworthy Moments:

  • While feeding on the shore during low-tide in the extreme Australian heat, Epaulette sharks survive by slowing their breathing and heart rate and powering down their brain. Once oxygen levels get critical, they use their fins like prototype legs – making them the only sharks that can walk out of danger.
  • With top speed and brain power far beyond its size, the sengi of East Africa escapes the danger of a monitor lizard in a high-speed chase after designing, building and memorizing a trail of networks.
  • The five-inch Japanese pufferfish is one of nature’s finest artists. To attract mates, the pufferfish plows into the seafloor sand with its fins, sculpting geometric shapes 24 hours a day for an entire week to create a masterpiece that spans more than six-feet wide. The art work ultimately attracts a mate and the pufferfish then has to destroy the creation to nest offspring.

Featured Species

Common Name Scientific Name
Hermit crab Coenobita clypeatus
Bamboo bat Tylonycteris pachypus OR Tylonycteris robustula
Epaulette shark Hemiscyllium ocellatum
Pebble toad Oreophrynella nigra
Fat-tailed scorpion Androctonus crassicauda
Brazilian pygmy gecko Coleodactylus amazonicus
Sengi Elephantulus rufescens
Rufous hummingbird Selasphorus rufus
Grasscutter Ants Genus: Atta
Tarsiers; Philippine and Spectral Tarsius syrichta AND Tarsius tarsier
Resurrection Plant Genus: Selaginella
Foot flagging frog Genus: Micrixalus
Peacock jumping spider Maratus volans
Japanese pufferfish Genus: Torquigener
Panda Ailuropoda melanoleuca
Kangaroo Genus: Macropus
Green turtle Chelonia mydas

 

Series Overview:

Nature brings the wonders of natural history to millions of American viewers. Nature has won more than 700 honors from the television industry, the international wildlife film communities and environmental organizations, including 18 Emmys and three Peabody Awards.

Production Credits:

Nature is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET and PBS. For Nature, Fred Kaufman is executive producer. Bill Murphy is series producer. Nature’s Miniature Miracles is a co-production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC and BBC Studios in association with WNET. Lucy Smith is producer. Neil Stacey is film editor. Allan Peck is narrator.

Underwriters:

Support for this Nature program was made possible in part by the Arnhold Family in memory of Clarisse Arnhold, the Halmi Family in memory of Robert Halmi, Sr., Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust, the Filomen M. D’Agostino Foundation, Rosalind P. Walter, Sandra Atlas Bass, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and by the nation’s public television stations.

About WNET

WNET is America’s flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings. WNET’s groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history game. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Theater Close-Up, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender identity, First Person, and an intergenerational look at tech and pop culture, The Chatterbox with Kevin and Grandma Lill. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere: www.thirteen.org/passport.

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Photos
For editorial use in North America only in conjunction with the direct publicity or promotion of NATURE. No other rights are granted. All rights reserved. Downloading this image constitutes agreement to these terms.

A sengi on the run. Credit: © John Downer/ Naturepl.com

A male peacock spider. Credit: © Adam Fletcher/Biosphoto/Ardea.com

A tarsier on the hunt. Credit: © Andrey Zvoznikov/Ardea.com

A pygmy gecko. Credit: © Philippe Psaila

A propositioning foot flagging frog. Credit: © Yashpal Rathore/ Naturepl.com

A hermit crab looking for a new home. Credit: © Lee Rentz / Alamy Stock Photo

The ingenious epaulette shark. Credit: © Minden Pictures / Alamy Stock Photo

A Rufous hummingbird perched on a branch. Credit: © Shutterstock / Menno Schaefer

A Rufous hummingbird feeding after its long flight. Credit: © Shutterstock / Tim Zurowski

The artistic puffer fish. Credit: © Shutterstock / Vkilikov