We might think that we are the masters of speed, with our rockets, super cars and supersonic jets, but man-made technology is put to shame by the natural evolution of the earth’s top predators. The new season of Smithsonian Channel’s original series, SPEED KILLS, premiering Wednesday, August 20 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, explores areas of the globe where maximum speed is necessary to survive. Deadly animals ranging from big cats, fish, seals, birds, and bugs flaunt their unique skills, all captured at 1,000 frames per second.
Using high-speed and infrared cameras to fully deconstruct the action, each hour-long episode of SPEED KILLS shows what’s lurking in the water, under rocks, in the deserts, and even beneath the ground, all ready to attack at ferocious speeds. Breaking it down with CGI gives the viewer a clear explanation of how it is possible for these creatures to attack at such terrifying speeds. SPEED KILLS has already proved a viral sensation online for explaining why you can’t outrun a cheetah and demonstrating how a shrimp throws the fastest punch in the world. Season two reveals more marvels, from a beetle that can run at the human equivalent of 560 mph to a fish that attacks prey by shooting a stream of water.
SPEED KILLS: DESERT Premieres Wednesday, August 20 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Not only do the animals in the Namib, a coastal desert in Southern Africa, have to worry about being a predator’s prey, they must be concerned about one of the biggest killers in the desert, the sun. The Namib is the oldest desert in the world, and the animals there have developed unique ways to survive the heat. The shovel snouted lizard moves at an amazing three feet per second, and even dives into the ground to cool off from the sun. But how will this lizard handle one of the fastest snakes on the planet, the sidewinder? This episode also includes cheetah hunting, a caracal leaping six feet into the air, and tiger beetles fighting over scarce resources.
This episode can be streamed online for free beginning August 11 at www.smithsonianchannel.com/speedkills, on Smithsonian Channel’s mobile apps, as well as on Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
SPEED KILLS: BLACK LAGOON Premieres Wednesday, August 27 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
The Black Lagoon may look peaceful from the outside, but in reality, it is a truly terrifying place where the killers look foreign to anything above the surface. This netherworld between the ocean and river is home to many freakish animals able to unleash bursts of speed. In this constantly shifting environment, death is the only certainty. The otherworldly mantis shrimp, neither mantis nor shrimp, has spears for arms, which it unleashes at blinding speed, impaling fish. And the snowflake eel ambushes prey, grabbing them with a second set of jaws deep in its throat, jaws so bizarre they were incorporated into Hollywood’s extraterrestrial creature in the blockbuster Alien.
SPEED KILLS: DARK UNDERWORLD Premieres Wednesday, September 3 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
This is a damp world of shadows, a place rarely seen by humans. Under the jungles and forest canopies of the world lies an impenetrable understory – places where the sun never shines. In these depths we find deeper realms within caves and hollow trees, where there’s a lot more happening than meets the eye. In this dark underworld of shadows and mist, death comes in a flash of movement. Weird predators move silently across the forest floor. The bizarre velvet worm shoots slime faster than its doomed prey can run. Infra-red cameras reveal big brown bats chasing down moths in pitch-blackness, only to be taken out by 100mph red-tailed hawks.
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