A journey across Northern Mexico reveals a desert rich in life. From prairie dogs fighting snakes, bats hunting scorpions and tiny owls living in giant cacti, its animals have found clever ways to survive against the odds.
Mountains dominate Mexico, shaping life and culture in this diverse land. Travel south to discover black bears, fiery volcanoes, exquisite birds and millions of monarch butterflies.
Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, home to the Maya, is a forest rich in wildlife, including monkeys, jaguars and vibrant tropical birds. Here lies a secret underworld which holds the key to life.
Over thousands of years, the limestone peninsula is eroded away by the annual rains, creating one of the most spectacular underwater worlds on Earth. Down to the peninsula’s unique geology, there are over 8,000 cenotes, or natural wells, across the peninsula. Cave divers take the risk to enter this secret world and reveal its secrets.
The labyrinth of caves across the Yucatan provides the perfect roosting habitat for bats. None are more dramatic than “El Volcan de los Murcielagos," the bat volcano. Each evening, it erupts with more than 3 million bats. Bat falcons, grey hawks and brown jays wait for the feast.
In the far northeast of Mexico is the Serranias del Burro, a vital outpost for Mexico’s black bears.
Ranchers in this region tap into the underground springs to fill water tanks for their cattle, and tolerate the bears coming in for a drink, and even a bath.
Every winter, up to a billion monarch butterflies overwinter in fir forests deep in central Mexico’s mountains. For thousands of years the people living in Mexico’s mountains have believed these butterflies are the spirits of the dead. Their arrival in winter coincides with Mexico’s most spectacular festival, Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.
The Sierra Gorda Mountains are home to the world's second smallest bird. This feisty male weighs less than a penny, but when a rival comes to town he has to show him who is boss. It’s a show of machismo, but is it all a load of bluster?
Many animals avoid the desert heat by becoming nocturnal. But this also exposes you to new dangers. Mexico has the highest diversity of scorpions in the world, but as they come out under the cover of darkness looking for food, the hunter can easily become the hunted. Pallid bats have adapted to becoming scorpion hunting specialists by stalking their prey on the ground.
Cuatro Cienegas is an oasis in the Chihuahuan desert. Geothermal pools and millions of years of isolation has made this area the "Galapagos of North America," with more unique creatures than anywhere else in the continent. To film one devoted mother Cuatro Cienegas cichlid protecting her fry, the crew had to rely on the best boat in Chihuahua.
In the vast prairies of north Mexico, six-week-old prairie dog pups are emerging for the very first time from their underground burrows. It’s an unfamiliar and dangerous new world. In this open landscape, predators can attack from every angle, so it’s down to the parents to keep them safe. Father must fight of a lethal bullsnake who comes looking for vulnerable pups.