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It's a bit of an understatement, but nature can be a pretty cruel beast. Animals don't much care about the cuteness factor of their prey and are willing to tear it to shreds no matter how adorable it is when it sneezes. Any good nature documentary doesn't shy away from these moments (even Zootopia knew that), and Planet Earth II is no exception. Maybe the biggest viral hit to come out of the docuseries was the clip "Iguana vs Snakes," a sequence that was as pulse-pounding and terrifying for the animals as it was for the humans filming it. Here's how the director described it.
Oh, yeah, a massive adrenaline rush. My worst ever role as director, because I spent most of the time covering my eyes going, 'Did it get away?' The whole sequence is actually like eight minutes long, and we do show some [iguanas] that get away and some that don't. Also, we very much have tried to mention in it that for the snakes, this is a brutal place to live. For the snakes, it's their only really big feeding opportunity of the year.
Though Planet Earth II has not yet hit internationally, the nature documentary did premiere in the U.K. back in November to great results. One of the clips from the BBC produced series soon starting making the rounds and it's attracted a lot of eyes, and if you haven't seen it, it features a newly hatched baby iguana racing away from what can only be described as an army of snakes. It's a thrilling, expertly filmed sequence that not only puts the viewer on the edge of their seat but had the film crew there as well.
You know a documentary is hard when even the director can't look at what's happening. In her interview with Vox, director Elizabeth White offered not exactly the most surprising description for how it felt to capture that scene. In the clip in question, snakes have it rough, and one of their main opportunities for food evolves preying on freshly hatched lizard babies. Some iguanas do get away, but others? Not so much. Obviously, White knew that they had to stay on the iguanas because that's where the drama is, but that logic doesn't mean it's easy to watch one baby iguana versus, like, 20 snakes.
Check out the clip below of the iguana running from the snakes. It's an excellent sequence that looks like it could fit right into any action movie.
I fist-pumped pretty hard at the end of that! You can watch those exciting moments in their entirety when Planet Earth II premieres Saturday, February 18, at 9 p.m. EST on BBC America. Head to our midseason premiere schedule to see what else is on the way, without snakes in hot pursuit.