Do Spiders Sleep? That was one question to BBC Radio 4's Natural History Programme nearly 30 years ago. With apologies to the 8 year old boy who asked it, here is the answer, and much more besides about sleep in the animal kingdom, such as how to recognise a jellyfish with a hangover.
For creatures that live in the dark they don't half have some strange eyes! Fergus takes John through this cast of the top seven 'creepies' of the deep sea. All these animals are peculiar to us but can you get more spooky than the spook fish?
Fergus and John explain a life-long love of elephants and some surprising encounters in Africa, including first hand experience of 'mating pademonium' - the moment when the whole herd goes wild with the courtship and mating by a dominant bull in 'musth'. Includes explicit details of elephant reproduction and the male elephant sexual cycle.
Fergus remembers a key family moment conquering their fears in Canada's foggy Bay of Fundy, discovering the joys of whale watching. John also recalls very surprising 'close-encounters' with whales from filming the Blue Planet and how they convinced him that 80 ton leviathans can be the gentlest of giants.
Fergus goes on safari in the Eastern Cape of South Africa as a surprise birthday present, and brings back a great recording of his close encounters with Cheetahs. Playing it back, John suggests that they add another element to the recording. What results is an experimental new audio experience - let us know what you think! Oh, and we need a female voice for a cheetah please...
The gulper eel is one of the strangest creatures on Earth, and yet it may be more common than you think because it lives in the middle depths of the oceans, which are the biggest of all wildernesses on our planet. Fergus asks John about his ventures into this realm and what it's like to take a submarine down to two miles. You can see this with video images of gulper eel at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vgryR_Wxrs
Fergus and John remember a life changing experience when they recorded a radio show together in Canada for BBC Radio 4's 'The Natural History Programme'. Although about 30 years ago they both vividly remember their few days in Wood Buffalo National Park, when there were no mobile phones and you could still truly lose yourself in the wilderness. Their legendary guide, Jacques Van Pelt, led them (and the radio audience) to stunning encounters with wildlife and a peculiar discovery, kept cool...
Dr Fergus Keeling and Dr John Ruthven are Zoologists and lifelong friends since they worked together at the BBC’s Natural History Unit nearly 30 years ago.
In this - the first podcast of a new series - Fergus and John discuss how and when dogs became our friends, how a sheepdog called 'Chaser' can remember over a thousand objects, and how to get in to the minds of dogs (and possibly their owners). Fergus also remembers his beloved labrador 'Peanut' and how she came to have a BBC staff pass!