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Series: Life In Cold Blood
Life in Cold Blood is a BBC/Animal Planet co-production, a Natural History documentary on reptiles and amphibians, presented by David Attenborough. It was broadcast in 2008 and ran for only five episodes. The premise of the programme was to explore the diverse world of reptiles and amphibians using the latest in photographic technology, and until First Life was made in 2010 this was the last chapter in David Attenborough's Life series.

Each episode, besides the first introductory one, dealt with a particular group of reptiles/amphibians; the second episode concentrated on the amphibians, the third on lizards, the fourth on snakes and the fifth on crocodilians and turtles.


This programme contains examples of:

  • Badass: David Attenborough. He deliberately got close enough to an alligator to make it hiss at him. That's a lot ballsier than most are.
  • Badass Adorable: Some of the monitor lizards count - they look wide-eyed and expectant, but remember one can outrun a rabbit and kill it. Also, the baby crocodiles.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: The female flat-lizards do not take kindly to the interests of the males during feeding time.
  • Ceiling Cling: Geckos are experts at this.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The gopher tortoise's burrows often lodge other animals looking for an easy place to stay. This proves useful when a forest fire sweeps by above, forcing animals to take refuge in the underground chambers until the flames have passed.
  • Cool Old Guy: David Attenborough
  • Cozy Voice for Catastrophes: Attenborough's trademark hushed voice. Even when he's observing a rattlesnake's killing blow, he can speak in reverential tones.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Thorny Devil, a.k.a. Moloch, named after a demon, is merely an inoffensive, ant-eating little lizard.
  • Documentary: Naturally.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Dinosaurs are briefly discussed in the first episode regarding their ability to maintain their body temperature.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The fate of that mouse which crossed paths with the rattlesnake.
  • Friend to All Living Things: David Attenborough - he has no reservations whether faced with frogs, snakes, thorny devils, marine iguanas or alligators.
  • Frogs and Toads: They feature prominently in the second episode, especially the Golden Frog, which was covered extensively in the 'Under the Skin' segment of that episode.
  • Genius Bruiser: The crocodiles, who know that the fish are coming upstream to spawn, and who know precisely where and when this will happen. They also set aside their differences to cooperate by closing ranks, making it harder for the fish to escape them all.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The aforementioned rattlesnake. It's fast and packs a mean punch.
    • Monitor lizards can outrun a rabbit.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Attenborough always wears the same light blue shirt and khaki chino trousers to keep people focused on whatever he's observing instead of on him, and also allows for editing between shots to look more smooth without violating a sense of continuity.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In a way, the rattlesnake sequence. You know the death strike's coming, but not when, and the wait for the mouse to get too close is arguably more tense than the actual strike.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Attenborough wears identical sets of clothes on-camera while filming any series, giving the illusion of this, and in Life In Cold Blood there is no exception.
  • Parental Abandonment: Played Straight and Subverted. This is a typical strategy for most reptiles and amphibians, but many counterexamples are presented in the form of the Poison Dart Frog, the amphisbaenians, the viviparous chameleon and the crocodiles.
  • Seldom Seen Species: Prepare to meet several creatures whose existence you weren't aware of before.
  • Turtle Power: Prominently in the fifth episode.


David AttenboroughNature DocumentaryPlanet Earth

alternative title(s): Life In Cold Blood
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