2003-02-06 / Arts & Entertainment

World Of Reptiles Explored In 4-Part PBS Miniseries

This frilled lizard’s habitat is Australia’s Northern Territory. 		        Granada WildThis frilled lizard’s habitat is Australia’s Northern Territory. Granada Wild

Some amuse us, others terrify us. They slither, swim, walk and crawl, leap and lunge, and some spend their entire lives contained within a shell. Their ranks include some of the most skillful predators on Earth. And in appearance, many of them bring to mind their long-departed dinosaur relations, which in fiction and science are an unending source of fascination to humanity.

They are the Reptiles, the fascinating subjects of a four-part miniseries that premiered on February 2 in Thirteen/WNET New York’s NATURE series, continues this Sunday at 8 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings). Subsequent episodes air on February 16 and 23.

"Reptiles are among the planet’s most prolific and astonishing innovators," says Fred Kaufman, executive producer of NATURE. "At one time, they ruled the planet, and even today they swagger with a ‘don’t mess with me’ attitude. Snakes, crocodiles and lizards are generally perceived to be cold, lurking creatures, ancient relics of a prehistoric era. Well, they are that - and much more, as we learn in this miniseries."

Filmed on mountains and seacoasts and in Jungles, deserts, forests and swamps around the world, The Reptiles divides its explorations into four categories, each covered in a separate episode as follows:

February 9 – Snakes—The miniseries continues with a look at the reptiles that humans may fear most, perhaps because snakes kill tens of thousands of people each year. But the film does not portray snakes as evil creatures. It takes us into their secret and very strange world to try to understand them better. And just when viewers think there can’t be any more surprises, we meet a two-headed snake!

February 16 - Turtles and Tortoises—A turtle’s shell is among the most peculiar but successful pieces of designs of the natural world. Unchanged for 200 million years, it has allowed the various species of turtles to populate almost everywhere in the world. But the limitations of life in a shell are causing turtles problems in today’s world. We meet the inspirational people who are trying to help them.

February 23 – Lizards—The miniseries concludes with the most extraordinarily diverse of all reptiles. Lizards can be found on mountaintops, in the ocean, and in desert and forest. Viewers meet some of nature’s most spectacular and beautiful varieties, ranging from giants more than ten feet long to tiny creatures no larger than a child’s finger. Lizards bite, lose their tails, have tongues longer than their entire body, and some can even walk on water.

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