Natural Born Hustlers

About

When it comes to the most important goals in the animal kingdom, learning how to survive and raising the next generation are right at the top of the list. This may seem clear cut, but the lengths to which some animals go to achieve these objectives can often be downright devious. To illustrate the point, we see a shady squirrel, double-crossing cuttlefish, a conniving orchid mantis and a deceitful bird called a drongo use mimicry, disguise, and trickery to get what they want. Throughout the episodes, scientists studying animal con artists pull back the curtain on their deceptions, using their latest research to demonstrate how each of them hustles their mark. This three-part series reveals the modus operandi of some of nature’s greatest animal con artists as they outwit predators, line up their next meal, and get the girl. Natural Born Hustlers airs Wednesday, January 13, 20 & 27, 2016 at 8 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings).

Episode 1 – Staying Alive

The first episode, Staying Alive, offers stories about unusual survival techniques. Cuttlefish, for example, elude their many predators with a kind of invisibility cloak. They completely transform themselves to match the colors and patterns of their surroundings. But what is truly remarkable is that they do this despite being color-blind. The secret to how they do it is hidden in their skin, which can sense and possibly even “see” color using a protein usually found only in eyes. And these great illusionists have another trick that no other animal can do. Their skin can also morph from a flat surface to a three dimensional one in order to complete the camouflage. Other ruses revealed include: why burrowing owls, who live underground, mimic the sounds of rattlesnakes; how imitation may not just be the sincerest form of flattery, it can also save your life; and what deception the regal horned lizard employs as a last resort to keep a menacing coachwhip snake at bay.

Episode 2 – The Hunger Hustle

The duplicitous ways in which animals try to secure their next meal is the subject of the second episode, The Hunger Hustle. Singled out is the devious drongo, a South African bird. In winter, he has to rely on grubs and insects that live underground, but other animals are far better equipped to dig them up, so the drongo devises a con. He serves as lookout while vulnerable social weaver birds are on the ground digging up food. If a predator is spotted, he sends out an alarm call and the weavers head for safety until they get an all clear call from him. But the drongo also issues fake alarm calls, allowing him to eat food the weavers have dug up before issuing an all clear to return. Among other segments: the orchid mantis, which attracts insects by mimicking a flower and why it is even more successful than the real thing; how killer whales use sound to manipulate the behavior of herring to their advantage; and how and why gray squirrels practice sleight of hand to protect the nuts they’ve gathered to get them through the winter.

Episode 3 – Sex, Lies & Dirty Tricks

The series concludes with Sex, Lies & Dirty Tricks, which explores sneaky mating techniques. For example, a lusty low-ranking male in a mob of red kangaroos considers possible plan A and plan B options when only the alpha male has the right to mate with the females in the group. A male marsh harrier’s solution to avoid conflict with a dominant resident male during breeding season is to grow feathers that make him look like female. He fools the resident male, but is able to woo a real female and settle down to raise a family. The final hour also exposes the dark ways brood parasites avoid parental duties, and how their chicks go even further to get the full attention of their foster parents. It’s a tough world out there, so it’s not surprising that crafty animals turn to disguise, illusion, duplicity and mimicry to beat the odds and live another day.

Production Credits Print

NATURAL BORN HUSTLERS
Staying Alive

NARRATED BY
KEVIN DRAINE

PRODUCED & DIRECTED BY
GAVIN BOYLAND

PHOTOGRAPHY
TOBY STRONG
ROBIN COX

SOUND
ANDREW YARME
PARKER BROWN
PHILIP MYERS

EDITORS
RUPERT TROSKIE
DAVE PEARCE
TIM COOPE

EDIT ASSISTANT
GEORGE PILLAS

COLORIST
FRANZ KETTERER

DUBBING MIXERS
GRAHAM WILD
PAUL DONOVAN

DUBBING EDITOR
GEORGE FRY

GRAPHICS
KISS MY PIXEL

ORIGINAL MUSIC
WILL HYDE

ARCHIVE
POND5
ROGER HANLON

PRODUCTION MANAGER
DULCIE ARNOLD

PRODUCTION COORDINATORS
CLARE CROSSLEY
MARIE-ANNE HENDRY

PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT ASSISTANT
SOPHIE JOHNSON

ASSISTANT PRODUCER
NICK GREEN

RESEARCHER
VICTORIA BUCKLEY

ARCHIVE RESEARCHER
ABIGAIL LEES

SPECIAL THANKS
CHRIS AKCALI
ZACH & GROVER BARFIELD
CHARLOTTE CROSSE
JEMAL GUERRERO
DAVID ROSEN
EMILY VAUGHAN WILLIAMS
BRISTOL UNIVERSITY AIR SQUADRON
RESERVA BIOLÓGICA LOMAS BARBUDAL,
AREA DE CONSERVACIÓN ARENAL
TEMPISQUE, SINAC, COSTA RICA
SACRAMENTO ZOO
SMITHSONIAN TROPICAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA,
BLUE OAK RANCH RESERVE

COMMISSIONING EDITOR
TOM MCDONALD

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
TIM SCOONES

UNIT MANAGER
MARIA NORMAN

SERIES PRODUCER
HOLLY SPEARING

© 2015 BBC
All Rights Reserved

FOR NATURE

SERIES EDITOR
JANET HESS

SUPERVISING PRODUCER
JANICE YOUNG

SENIOR PRODUCER
LAURA METZGER LYNCH

COORDINATING PRODUCER
JAYNE JUN

LEGAL COUNSEL
BLANCHE ROBERTSON

WEB PRODUCER
ERIC R. OLSON

SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR
ARIANA SVERDLIK

SENIOR PUBLICIST
JOHANNA BAKER

BUDGET CONTROLLER
KAREN FEIGENBAUM

ONLINE EDITOR
STACEY DOUGLASS MOVERLEY
PATRICK KRASS

RE-RECORDING MIXER
ED CAMPBELL

ORIGINAL NATURE THEME
ALEX LASARENKO

SERIES PRODUCER
BILL MURPHY

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
FRED KAUFMAN

A BBC PRODUCTION WITH PBS AND THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC

THIS PROGRAM WAS PRODUCED BY THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC, WHICH IS SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR ITS CONTENT

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL © 2016 THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

NATURAL BORN HUSTLERS
The Hunger Hustle

NARRATED BY
KEVIN DRAINE

PRODUCED & DIRECTED BY
MARK JONES

PHOTOGRAPHY
ROBIN COX
STUART DUNN
MARK PAYNE-GILL
TOBY STRONG
ROD CLARKE
HECTOR SKEVINGTON-POSTLES

SOUND
ANDREW YARME
ANDY HAWLEY
SEAN MILLAR

EDITORS
SAM ROGERS
DAVE PEARCE

EDIT PRODUCER
JOANNE ASHMAN

EDIT ASSISTANT
GEORGE PILLAS

COLORISTS
FRANZ KETTERER
SIMON BLAND

DUBBING MIXER
CHRIS DOMAILLE

DUBBING EDITORS
GEORGE FRY
GARY MCINTYRE

GRAPHICS
KISS MY PIXEL

ORIGINAL MUSIC
WILL HYDE

ARCHIVE
POND5
SHUTTERSTOCK

PRODUCTION MANAGER
DULCIE ARNOLD

PRODUCTION COORDINATORS
CLARE CROSSLEY
MARIE-ANNE HENDRY

PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT ASSISTANT
SOPHIE JOHNSON

ASSISTANT PRODUCER
NICK GREEN

RESEARCHER
VICTORIA BUCKLEY

ARCHIVE RESEARCHER
ABIGAIL LEES

SPECIAL THANKS
DANTE ‘DNT’ IRACI
NATIONAL MARINE AQUARIUM
JEFF BLACK
FANY BROTCORNE
GWENNAN GIRAUD
PURA ULUWATU
TANJA VAN DE VEN
TOM FLOWER
WILL GOLDENBERG

COMMISSIONING EDITOR
LUCINDA AXELSSON

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
TIM SCOONES

UNIT MANAGER
MARIA NORMAN

SERIES PRODUCER
HOLLY SPEARING

© 2015 BBC
All Rights Reserved

FOR NATURE

SERIES EDITOR
JANET HESS

SUPERVISING PRODUCER
JANICE YOUNG

SENIOR PRODUCER
LAURA METZGER LYNCH

COORDINATING PRODUCER
JAYNE JUN

LEGAL COUNSEL
BLANCHE ROBERTSON

WEB PRODUCER
ERIC R. OLSON

SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR
ARIANA SVERDLIK

SENIOR PUBLICIST
JOHANNA BAKER

BUDGET CONTROLLER
KAREN FEIGENBAUM

ONLINE EDITOR
STACEY DOUGLASS MOVERLEY
PATRICK KRASS

RE-RECORDING MIXER
ED CAMPBELL

ORIGINAL NATURE THEME
ALEX LASARENKO

SERIES PRODUCER
BILL MURPHY

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
FRED KAUFMAN

A BBC PRODUCTION WITH PBS AND THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC

THIS PROGRAM WAS PRODUCED BY THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC, WHICH IS SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR ITS CONTENT

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL © 2016 THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

NATURAL BORN HUSTLERS
Sex, Lies and Dirty Tricks

NARRATED BY
KEVIN DRAINE

EDIT PRODUCER
LAURA WHITLEY

DIRECTORS
GAVIN BOYLAND
MARK JONES
NICK GREEN
VICTORIA BUCKLEY

PHOTOGRAPHY
ROBIN COX
MARK PAYNE-GILL
WARREN SAMUELS
TOBY STRONG
NICK TURNER
STUART DUNN

SOUND
PARKER BROWN
ANDREW HAWLEY
SEAN MILLAR
PHILIP MYERS
ANDREW YARME

EDITORS
ALEX BOYLE
CHRIS HALL

GRAPHICS
KISS MY PIXEL

COLORIST
FRANZ KETTERER

DUBBING MIXER
CHRIS DOMAILLE

DUBBING EDITORS
GEORGE FRY
GARY MCINTYRE

ORIGINAL MUSIC
WILL HYDE

ARCHIVE
NHNZ MOVING IMAGES
POND 5
SHUTTERSTOCK
WAZEE DIGITAL

PRODUCTION MANAGER
DULCIE ARNOLD

PRODUCTION COORDINATORS
CLARE CROSSLEY
MARIE-ANNE HENDRY

PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT ASSISTANT
SOPHIE JOHNSON

RESEARCHER
ABIGAIL LEES

ARCHIVE RESEARCHER
GEORGE PILLAS

SPECIAL THANKS
CLARE BROOK
GREG COPE
CHRIS EADS
JENNIFER ARCHAMBAULT
JOHN ENDLER
LAURA KELLEY
JAKOB BRO-JORGENSEN
PATRICIA BACKWELL
AUDREY STERNALSKI
VINCENT BRETAGNOLLE
CLAIRE SPOTTISWOODE
JEROEN KOOREVAAR
NICHOLAS HORROCKS
MRINALINI ERKENSWICK WATSA
AMANDA RIDLEY
ELIZABETH WILEY
ALEX THOMPSON

COMMISSIONING EDITOR
LUCINDA AXELSSON

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
TIM SCOONES

UNIT MANAGER
MARIA NORMAN

SERIES PRODUCER
HOLLY SPEARING

© 2015 BBC
All Rights Reserved

FOR NATURE

SERIES EDITOR
JANET HESS

SUPERVISING PRODUCER
JANICE YOUNG

SENIOR PRODUCER
LAURA METZGER LYNCH

COORDINATING PRODUCER
JAYNE JUN

LEGAL COUNSEL
BLANCHE ROBERTSON

WEB PRODUCER
ERIC R. OLSON

SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR
ARIANA SVERDLIK

SENIOR PUBLICIST
JOHANNA BAKER

BUDGET CONTROLLER
KAREN FEIGENBAUM

ONLINE EDITOR
STACEY DOUGLASS MOVERLEY
PATRICK KRASS

RE-RECORDING MIXER
ED CAMPBELL

ORIGINAL NATURE THEME
ALEX LASARENKO

SERIES PRODUCER
BILL MURPHY

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
FRED KAUFMAN

A BBC PRODUCTION WITH PBS AND THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC

THIS PROGRAM WAS PRODUCED BY THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC, WHICH IS SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR ITS CONTENT

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL © 2016 THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED