"Life" on Discovery Channel - Hunters and Hunted

Another intriguing episode of "Life" aired tonight. As the title of the first episode goes, I am grateful I do not have to exist in the world of the animals featured tonight, especially the ones that serve as food for other animals.

There were large hunters (Grizzly Brown Bears, Gray Wolf, and Bengal Tigers), and small hunters (Stoats - weasels, Great Bulldog Bats, and Star-nosed Mole.) Each hunter possesses a unique ability and strategy for successfully catching its prey, no matter what the odds may turn out to be. Some even go as far as banding together to bring down preys larger than they are (The cheetahs.)

Of all the hunters, I was quite taken with the Stoats. Small in size and weighing only ten ounces, this tiny weasel is able to take down a rabbit much larger than it is. Stoats have the ability to run for a long time without getting tired, and with this skill, a tiny stoat can wear out a rabbit by chasing it around until the rabbit slows down and becomes food. Quite impressive! I wonder why the kindred rabbits just sat there and watched as a lone weasel preyed on their kind. Permit me to say, "big for nothing" rabbits!

The second episode featured insects and according to the documentary, they make up 90% of all animal species. There were large insects (male Darwin's Stag Beetle), and small insects (Dawson's Bees.)These two insects made the most impression on me due to their unique and somewhat deadly mating rituals among males to get the females of their respective species.

That, at least, is familiar to man. The strongest male beetle tosses off other males en route to the female at the top of a tree and after mating with the female, tosses her off the tree top too. This may be because the female plays hard to get before mating with him (some human female species will tell this as their stories too.) In the case of the male Dawson's bees, they fight and kill their male opponents until most of them die, lending credence to the phrase, "dog eat dog" world. I almost felt sorry for them until I remembered how badly their sting hurts.

However, for the many animals who are hunted, the different species still find a way to reproduce and hang on to their dangerous environment for many years. I would confess that it wasn't fun watching some of them get eaten. My human instinct wanted to reach out and save them from their enemies.

May be this is why we have “The Humane Society” in the United States but, as I watched and my heart ached for some of the helpless prey, I realized that all of this fall within the divine order of events which the animals go through daily.

The final episode of "Life" will air same time on Sunday. For more information, go here.