Animal Exploration With Jarod Miller - Fierce Fighters II   View more episodes

Aired at 12:30 PM on Saturday, May 02, 2009 (5/2/2009)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:03Jarod: I'm jarod miller.
00:00:04All my life I've been exploring the animal kingdom.
00:00:06Sometimes it's tense, sometimes funny, but always amazing.
00:00:13Now I want you to join me, because when it comes to exploration, it's best just to jump right in.
00:00:19[Laughs] [monkey screeching] today we're talking about fierce fighters, and you really wouldn't consider a deer to be a fierce animal, but we're going to tell you why and how, so stick around.
00:00:56Here we are at the 'california living museum' in bakersfield, california.
00:00:59Inside is an array of amazing animals and plants that are native to the state of california.
00:01:03Let's go check it out.
00:01:08Raccoons can live over 20 years in captivity and weigh 35-60 pounds.
00:01:15Here we are at the 'california living ' I'm here with my friend, sharon, and our buddy, rio, who's hanging out in the pool.
00:01:20Now, we're talking about fierce fighters.
00:01:23And pound-for-pound, i would say the north american raccoon is one of the fiercest fighting animals you can come across.
00:01:29Sharon: I would agree.
00:01:30They're pretty feisty.
00:01:31 they are feisty, and you work with these guys every day.
00:01:33Not only do they kind of scrap with each other, but a raccoon, because they are so mischievous, and they are little bandits, they steal food from other animals, this guy will actually go up against a bear, a dog, a wolf, or even a person for that matter, very aggressively.
00:01:47So we're feeding this guy here.
00:01:49Rio lives here at the zoo, but raccoons, I would say, are probably -- you don't want to feed any wild animal, but to feed a raccoon is a very dangerous undertaking, because not only can they carry rabies, but if a raccoon gets angry with you, you'd better watch out.
00:02:03Now, what can a raccoon do to you?
00:02:04 well, these guys, they are very fierce.
00:02:08They claw at you.
00:02:09They bite you.
00:02:10They don't back down.
00:02:11So anything they can to get what they want, they'll do.
00:02:13 right, because we know a lot of animals can bite.
00:02:15A lot of animals can scratch.
00:02:16But what makes a raccoon and a lot of other procyonids, or other raccoon family animals, so ferocious is that, what you just said, they don't back down.
00:02:24They'll come at you and won't stop until either you run away from them or they win.
00:02:30Sharon: right.
00:02:31Jarod: so that's about it.
00:02:31Sharon: yep.
00:02:32Jarod: so, cool.
00:02:33Well, again, north american raccoon, again, pound-for-pound, cute little guy, mischievous, however, one of the fiercest fighting animals in the world.
00:02:43Here we are in the beautiful high desert of southern california at the 'exotic feline breeding compound's feline ' let's go meet some endangered big cats.
00:02:53Here kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty.
00:03:04All right, we're checking out ferocious fighters, and you can't get any more ferocious than a jaguar.
00:03:09Now, jaguars are one of the biggest and most endangered cats in the world found in south america.
00:03:15They're also known to be one of the most dangerous cats in the world, because not only are they a ferocious fighter, they're an incredible eater.
00:03:20Are we going to feed them real quick?
00:03:22All right.
00:03:23And this is the point where jaguars really come out and shine.
00:03:28Look at this guy.
00:03:28When he's feeding on his prey -- today it's chicken -- they almost get like a tunnel vision, which means that they think about nothing else but what they're going to eat.
00:03:37So they'll chase an anaconda into the water to get food.
00:03:40Can you imagine if two jaguars got in the mix over one piece of food?
00:03:45A ferocious fighter, the jaguar.
00:03:46Let's go check out some more stuff.
00:03:50[Jaguar growling] coming up on 'animal exploration,' this feline is so fierce it can take on lions and bears.
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00:06:11 today we're in big bear, california, at the big bear zoo.
00:06:14You ready to show me around?
00:06:19The canadian lynx can live over 20 years in captivity and weigh 15-40 pounds.
00:06:27Look at this guy.
00:06:28We're here at big bear zoo.
00:06:29I'm with my friend, debbie, and debbie has azlo, and azlo is a canadian lynx.
00:06:35We're talking about fierce fighters, debbie.
00:06:36And when we talk about fighters, we're talking about, obviously, protecting territory, protecting young, and some of the methods these carnivores, like the canadian lynx, use to kind of get their prey, as well.
00:06:48So can you tell me a little bit more about some of this guy's fighting habits?
00:06:52 well, the smaller the cat, generally, the more fierce.
00:06:56And the bobcats, which are a little smaller than the canadian lynx, they're actually even fiercer than the canadian lynx.
00:07:02Jarod: really?
00:07:03 even though a mountain lion, or a bear, or a wolf could probably take a canadian lynx, they're not going to try it too often, because they are so fierce.
00:07:10It's not worth their time and effort.
00:07:12And they don't want to get injured, because they're going to be coming at them with claws and teeth.
00:07:16And they don't back down.
00:07:18And these guys are very well-adapted to their environment.
00:07:20You can see he has a very fluffy, thick coat.
00:07:22They have the very wide paws that they use like a snowshoe effect on the snow.
00:07:27So they're very well-adapted to their environment, and they do defend their territory.
00:07:32 for a little guy, this canadian lynx can really pack a punch.
00:07:35Let's go check out some more fierce fighters.
00:07:41Mule deer can live up to 10 years in the wild and weigh 125-133 pounds.
00:07:50When you think about fierce fighters, you really consider pretty much only carnivores.
00:07:54You think about predatory birds and other large carnivorous animals, but you really don't think about prey animals like deer.
00:08:01This is a mule deer that's a little bit smaller, kind of a variation of the white-tailed species that are found throughout the united states, but these guys are only found west of the mississippi.
00:08:09Now, you might ask yourself what makes a deer like this, that seems like a very gentle, beautiful creature, such a fierce fighter?
00:08:15Well, they can be as territorial as any other animal and even more so.
00:08:20Males, when they go into rut, which lasts about three months out of the year, usually from november until about february, that's when they're competing for females and competing for territory -- a little female just walked up on me now.
00:08:31Hopefully, this guy isn't in rut.
00:08:33But they use these antlers -- and, again, antlers are much different from horns.
00:08:36Some animals have horns that are actually attached to their skull.
00:08:39Antlers can actually be shed.
00:08:40So a mule deer like this, even though he's little, can be very dangerous and, in some cases, deadly.
00:08:46Their rut season typically coincides with deer hunting season all over the country.
00:08:51So in the fall, when people are out deer hunting, some hunters choose to use deer urine to attract females that they can, obviously, make them more of a target.
00:09:00But then, at the same time, they can actually attract a male deer, as well; thus, the hunter is becoming the hunted.
00:09:07Males can be identified extremely easy.
00:09:09Males are the ones with the antlers.
00:09:10Females are with not.
00:09:11I'm going to let these guys finish eating and continue my search for some more fierce fighters.
00:09:19Coming up next, we're going to meet some more amazing animals.
00:09:21Nice to meet you.
00:09:23And later, an animal so fierce it's called black globetrotters are known for having a fun bag of tricks.
00:10:32Well, check this out.
00:10:33How many bags of food does it take to help feed the hungry?
00:10:37Just one.
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00:10:45It's easy to help.
00:10:46Just leave a bag of non-perishable food items, like soup,pasta, or cereal, next to your mailbox.
00:10:51Your letter carrier will do the rest, bringing your donation to a local food bank.
00:12:33 we're in vallejo, california, at 'six flags ' this is going to be awesome.
00:12:37Let's get inside.
00:12:45We're here at 'six flags discovery kingdom' with my friend, debbie.
00:12:48We're talking about killer whales.
00:12:49And, debbie, we're talking about fierce fighters.
00:12:52And killer whales, I mean, their name, killer whale -- a) are they really killers, and b) are they really whales?
00:12:58And are they fierce fighters?
00:13:00 wow, all those good questions all in one package.
00:13:02First of all, killer whales really are not a true whale.
00:13:05They're the largest member of the dolphin family.
00:13:07Years ago, when whalers and fishermen first saw them out in the ocean, they looked at anything that was 20 feet or above and said it's a whale and anything less is a dolphin.
00:13:18And then they also would see them killing and feeding upon other whales, so their original name was whale killer.
00:13:25Jarod: okay.
00:13:26 and then through folklore and translation and languages, it got turned around from whale killer to killer whale.
00:13:31Really there's two different types of killer whales.
00:13:34Primarily, there's residents and transients.
00:13:37Now, the resident whales, like shuka, feed primarily on fish.
00:13:42And the transient whales, who travel a bigger distance, will feed primarily on other mammals.
00:13:46 right, like sea lions, for example.
00:13:48Debbie: yes.
00:13:49Jarod: and whales, too.
00:13:50Debbie: and other whales.
00:13:51 what other whales could a killer whale actually get, like a pilot whale?
00:13:54Debbie: anything.
00:13:55Jarod: really?
00:13:56Anything that they can fit in their mouth.
00:13:57 yeah, killer whales, top of the food chain.
00:14:00Jarod: really?
00:14:01Not, a blue whale, though.
00:14:01 among everything, yes.
00:14:03Jarod: no way.
00:14:03 yeah, polar bear, people, anything.
00:14:06Jarod: really?
00:14:07Now, when you say transient, how far do they travel?
00:14:09Do they go through migration patterns like a bird, but in the ocean?
00:14:12How does that work?
00:14:13 there's an area that they will travel in a certain number of miles.
00:14:17And if you look at it, the killer whales, like shuka eats right now 120 pounds of fish per day.
00:14:22Say you have a large group of killer whales traveling together, you have to get enough food to feed that many animals, a hundred-some pounds a day.
00:14:32They're not traveling for fun.
00:14:33They're traveling until they find the amount of food that they need, depending on where it is.
00:14:37 so that makes total sense.
00:14:39The only time that a killer whale really starts demonstrating these ferocious behaviors is in search of food.
00:14:46And they'll only really become a true killer whale when they absolutely need to, correct?
00:14:51 yes, in the wild -- and, again, we have to remember when we're working with them here that they have that potential and that they're not tame animals.
00:15:00They're not domestic animals.
00:15:02They are wild animals.
00:15:02So they do have that instinct to prey upon other animals and to be aggressive when it's necessary.
00:15:11So we have to be real careful when we work with their behavior and think about what we're reinforcing and what opportunities we're giving them.
00:15:17 the killer whale -- big beautiful animal.
00:15:20We have shuka here, who's 4,000 pounds, definitely a force to be reckoned with, and you have to know what you're doing.
00:15:25And, debbie, I can't thank you enough for telling us about her.
00:15:29But the killer whale, not really a whale, and really only a killer when they need to be.
00:15:33Debbie: exactly.
00:15:34 all right, let's go check out some more fierce fighters.
00:15:40Here we are in sonoma county, california, at 'safari west,' the closest thing to africa in the western hemisphere.
00:15:45Let's go on safari.
00:15:49We're pretty much inundated with african antelope all around us.
00:15:53We have a couple of species right back here.
00:15:55The greater kudu, which you said have some really well-developed horns for fighting, but you said there's some problems that come along with their specific shape of their horn.
00:16:04 yeah, when those horns lock together, there's a chance that they don't pull apart, and that could be fatal for both animals.
00:16:10They are only using those horns really to combat each other.
00:16:14They're not using them for protection.
00:16:15They rely on camouflage to protect themselves from predators.
00:16:17But when fighting against each other for their females, they go into quite aggressive fighting with those horns.
00:16:22 right, which ultimately can damage both of them, because two antelopes stuck together in the african savanna, easy meal for any type of predator, as well as you get almost like double your meal.
00:16:33You get two helpings with one shot.
00:16:35Milton: super size.
00:16:36 now, there's another antelope right there.
00:16:38And you were saying that's a roan antelope, right?
00:16:40 that is a roan antelope.
00:16:41If you want to talk about fierce fighters, you want to talk about the roan and that whole species called hippotragus -- extremely, extremely aggressive fighters.
00:16:47Those guys are so aggressive, they will take on a lion.
00:16:50Most animals are not going to pick a fight if they don't have to, but if they see a lion coming into their area, they're going to protect themselves and their young by charging at that animal, often instead of running away.
00:16:59Jarod: wow.
00:17:00So seeing them in the wild is one thing.
00:17:01Now, working with them in captivity, does that make them more of a treacherous part of your occupation?
00:17:07 yes, these animals, their behavior is more like they would be in the wild.
00:17:13So we tend to keep our distance from them, especially the more aggressive species.
00:17:17We don't take anything lightly.
00:17:19 right, you take every precaution as possible; otherwise, you're going to be completely impaled maybe.
00:17:24 exactly, and when we're viewing these animals, there isn't a fence in between us.
00:17:27We are in with the animals.
00:17:29So we always have to think of our safety d, obviously, our guests' safety.
00:17:32 absolutely -- all right.
00:17:34Well, milton, thank you.
00:17:34Let's go check out some more fierce fighters.
00:17:41Warthog's are native to africa and can live for over 18 years.
00:17:48Now, when people think of pigs, they think of these big 500-600 pound farm pigs that you see in captivity, domesticated all over the world.
00:17:55But you know what?
00:17:56They can actually be fierce fighters.
00:17:58And anyone who works with pigs, whether it be on the farm -- or in this case, we've got some warthogs behind us.
00:18:04Now, milton, here at 'safari west,' one of the only places in the country that you can actually get relatively close to some warthogs, how fierce can a warthog actually be?
00:18:12 well, they can be extremely fierce.
00:18:14The way they defend themselves is they tend to live in burrows or holes in the ground, and if anything comes close or in front of their burrow, they will come storming out with those extremely sharp tusks.
00:18:24And they'll actually charge at -- they can break a limb or injure an animal quite badly with those tusks.
00:18:29 just with one bite and with their tusks, as well.
00:18:31 with their tusks and just with ramming with those tusks.
00:18:33They're a very strong tough-skinned animal, and they can be quite aggressive if cornered or put into a situation.
00:18:38 right, and some of the main predators of warthogs include leopards, lions, other species of african predators.
00:18:45And some of their fierce behavior really comes through.
00:18:48Obviously, if they get you with their tusks or they get a good bite on you, they can definitely inflict a pretty serious injury.
00:18:54But a lot of their fierceness is a lot of bluff, right?
00:18:57They do make a lot of sounds, and they do charge, but what's a warthog going to do?
00:19:01Let's say if a warthog were to charge at me, if we were to charge back at him, would they be quick to turn around and take off?
00:19:07 it could go either way.
00:19:09They tend to be quite flighty that way.
00:19:10So chances are he's going to turn up, and put his little tail up in the air, and he's going to go running off.
00:19:15But where they become the most dangerous is when they're bedded down in their burrows.
00:19:20I know of a person that actually had a leg broken by a warthog coming flying out of his burrow by surprise and breaking the guy's leg.
00:19:25Jarod: really?
00:19:26So here's a fact, if you're in africa and you're walking around and you see a big hole, whether there's an aardvark or any other type of fossorial african animal, don't wake a sleeping warthog, because that's probably where you're going to run into the most trouble, right?
00:19:39 especially one with babies.
00:19:41Jarod: amazing.
00:19:41Not only is the warthog very fierce-looking, but they're pretty fierce in behavior, as well.
00:19:46Milton, I can't thank you enough.
00:19:47Here at 'safari west,' one of the only places you can see real life warthogs.
00:19:51And stick around, because coming up next, we're going to check out some more fierce fighters.
00:19:54[Warthog snorting] did you know that keeping wild or exotic animals as pets can be a very bad idea?
00:20:07Many wild animals that are commonly kept as pets include monkeys, like our little buddy toby here, alligators, and even lions and tigers.
00:20:16As babies, wild animals can be very endearing and a lot of fun to have around.
00:20:20All wild animals, as they mature, can become very dangerous.
00:20:23They can outgrow your home and become a threat to yourself, your family, and even the public at large.
00:20:28Even a little monkey like this can inflict some great injury with a bite or a scratch and can even transmit diseases that we can catch.
00:20:35Bottom line, keeping these guys in captivity can be very bad for their health, and in the case of monkeys, can even affect them mentally.
00:20:42A zoo or a nature center is the perfect place to enjoy these animals, because without the proper education or experience, you're going to be doing more harm to these guys than good.
00:20:51There are hundreds of really cool and unique animals that you can easily keep as pets.
00:20:54When choosing an animal to keep in your home, just be smart and practical and try to keep wild animals out of the equation.
00:21:02 need more animal excitement?
00:21:04Check out our website at
00:21:08 when 'animal exploration' returns, one of the fiercest fighters in africa.
00:23:24 now, right behind us, milton, this is probably the fiercest fighter on our entire list, and it's the cape buffalo.
00:23:28Milton: that's correct.
00:23:29 and the cape buffalo, they're a big powerful animal, and throughout africa kind of strikes fear in a lot of people's hearts, especially hunters that have traveled to africa to hunt all types of big game.
00:23:40Why are cape buffalo so dangerous?
00:23:42 well, they're just known to be the animal with the quickest fight reaction, meaning that if they have a fear for any type of animal or human that's around the area, instead of fleeing, they ll run at you and charge at you to defend themselves.
00:23:56So they are probably the bravest, most aggressive animal we have here at 'safari west,' if not the most aggressive, the most dangerous animal we have in africa.
00:24:04 wow, that's unbelievable.
00:24:06And africa is full of dangerous animals.
00:24:08You have crocodiles.
00:24:11You have 100 species or more of venomous snakes.
00:24:14You have predatory animals like lions, leopards, all these animals.
00:24:18But really it's the large ungulates that are the most dangerous.
00:24:22The number one killer in africa of humans are hippopotamus, correct?
00:24:25Milton: hippos, yes.
00:24:26 and number two would be elephants, right?
00:24:28 yeah, probably close behind.
00:24:29And then somewhere between elhants and cape buffalo.
00:24:32 wow, that's unbelievable.
00:24:33And you said these guys, they'll attack -- they're a little more discriminate.
00:24:38They'll attack if they're provoked, correct?
00:24:39 yeah, if they feel threatened -- which it doesn't take much for a cape buffalo to feel threatened, to be honest with you.
00:24:45 how are we doing right now with these three back -- because I notice behind us we have -- looks like there's a bull.
00:24:50There's a few of his cows in his harem, and then some young ones, too.
00:24:53You would think having the young ones around, that would probably kind of increase their ferocity a lot, because they're not just defending themselves, but they're defending their progeny, as well.
00:25:02 yeah, they seem quite interested in us right now.
00:25:05They're not quite sure what's going on with all the filming stuff.
00:25:07 it's amazing, too, because they look like they're keeping an eye on us, but they're also keeping their distance.
00:25:11What are those little puffs and huffs that are going on back there?
00:25:14 oh, they're just showing us signs of aggression.
00:25:17They're actually the one animal that does not give a warning signal.
00:25:19One of the problems with these animals, when it comes to cape buffalo, most animals are going to let you know that they're upset.
00:25:26These animals don't let you know that they're upset.
00:25:28They're known for once they're agitated, they just charge.
00:25:31There's no mock charging when it comes to cape buffalo.
00:25:34 if you were traveling throughout the savanna, if you were maybe in a more forested area, and you just happened upon one of these cape buffaloes, you wouldn't get away would you?
00:25:42Milton: no, probably not.
00:25:43They have the reputation of being called black death, and that's how aggressive and dangerous they are.
00:25:49Jarod: really?
00:25:50Just this big black mass of an animal that you could be strolling through the forest, all of a sudden one of them will just come out of nowhere, and then they'll see you before you see him, and by then it's a little too late.
00:25:59Milton: exactly.
00:26:01 and we're literally within a horn's view from one of these guys.
00:26:05But you know what?
00:26:05Here at 'safari west' we're completely safe, because we're here, obviously, with milton.
00:26:09If I wasn't here with milton, I'd probably be a little more nervous.
00:26:12But you know what?
00:26:13This is a great opportunity to get this close to one of the world's most fierce fighters.
00:26:23Today we visited some great locations, the 'california living museum,' 'feline conservation center,' big bear zoo, 'six flags discovery kingdom,' ' we met some incredible animals, but it's no substitute for seeing them in person.
00:26:35If you can't get to these locations, here's some places you can visit.
00:26:56There's no doubt about it, those were very ferocious animals, but they're not being mean.
00:26:59They're just ensuring their own survival.
00:27:01I'm jarod miller.
00:27:01Thank you for joining us, and remember, every day is an exploration.
00:27:06 closed ..
00:27:08-( )-( ) - Announcer: - ( moans ) ah!
00:27:28havelines they'regrilled.
00:27:30That makes'empaninis.
00:27:31But they're froma microwave.
00:27:32That makes 'emhot pockets.
00:27:34With steak and cheddar.
00:27:35♪ HOT POCKETS! ♪ (announcer) PANINI!
00:28:06 today we're talking about fierce fighters.
00:28:07I'm here with a couple of deer.
00:28:10The more -- uh, not -- oop, sorry.
00:28:13Sorry, deb.
00:28:14So -- whoa.
00:28:15Whenever you come see -- I'm sorry, shuka.
00:28:19I'm always saying, " [debbie laughing]