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9 Nature Documentaries Which Will Blow Your Tiny Mind

Think nature documentary and immediately you think Sir David Attenborough.

Now, before you think that Planet Earth II has and will eclipse every nature doco that ever was or will be for eternity, here are some others that are pretty much mandatory viewing.

Planet Earth

The original and, TBH, the gold standard. I mean, undersea volcanoes taller than Mt. Everest. There is also footage of a snow leopard which took three years to film.

The Blue Planet

Attenborough’s jaw-dropping homage to the ocean. You won’t find Sebastian singing Under The Sea. Instead, you’ll find a largely alien world that can be brutal and terrifying.

Blackfish

This isn’t purely about performing orcas who have killed people – it’s more than that. While it centres around Tilikum, the killer whale who did kill several people, including his star trainer, while in captivity, it also cracks open the dubious practices of SeaWorld in the US.

Virunga

Nominated for an Academy Award in 2014 and produced entirely by Netflix, Virunga refers to the Virunga National Park in Congo, where last mountain gorillas in the world live. The park remains a source of conflict — both political and physical — over whether or not to drill for oil nearby. It’s also narrated by Leo DiCaprio.

Microcosmos

If you’ve ever taken a magnifying glass to check out where the heck those ants are going, this is the documentary for you.

The insect world – nay, kingdom – is just as action-packed and majestic as any other, and it’s easy to miss.  The techniques used to film Microcosmos are phenomenal. Suddenly, their world starts to reflect our own – from highway rush hours to working together as a team.  

Nature: Honey Badgers

You remember the iconic clip which sent honey badgers into the stratosphere. And really, this doco explains in slightly more depth about why they really don’t give a hoot about whether they get bitten or stung. You’ll also learn how they are nature’s Houdini and see the ridiculous lengths they’ll go to escape their enclosures.

Nature: Animal Misfits

Just like how we all have that oddball in the family, this zeroes-in on those animals which are a little bit extra and differ from normal adaptations. See how penguins, sloths and big-headed mole rats aren’t just nature’s weirdos – they’ve carved out special niches in evolution in order to survive.

Dogs With Jobs

There’s no mucking around with this title, it’s literally a series about service dogs and their jobs. AND IT’S ADORABLE. This documentary is in bite-sized episodes and feature doggos from around the world and how their jobs bring meaning to those who need them.

Frozen Planet

If you feel completely disillusioned by Blackfish, Attenborough is here.

Frozen Planet is a sweeping seven-parter, showing the lives polar bears, wolves, killer whales and penguins from the spring through the winter in the Arctic and Antarctic.

There is also a making-of episode which follows the filmmakers who spent more than 2,300 days in the field and 18 months at sea to record to capture the unpresented footage.

We’re told that if you skip to episode 2, you’ll meet the narwhal, aka the unicorn of the sea. Yassss.

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