Armoured Animals: Episode 2

Sir David Attenborough attempts to get in behind the armour of two incredible animals; rhinos and hedgehogs.

Armoured Animals

This episode explores the story of two animals that hide behind seemingly impregnable coat of arms. Can Sir David Attenborough get in behind their armour and reveal their mysteries?

Rhino Clip

Sir David broaches the myths of a strange armour-plated creature

Rhino

One of these armoured creatures is the rhino, an imposing, hulking beast with a thick, grey hide and impressive horn.

The thickly folded skin along the rhinos flanks and rear could quite easily be taken for plates of battle-ready armour, and it turns out our original perception of this animal did indeed include elaborate reproductions, complete with armour.

This misconception continued until a particular rhino named Clara was taken on a tour of Europe, changing our view of rhinos forever.

Hedgehog Clip

How do hedgehogs give birth to such prickly offspring?

Hedgehog

The second animal is the common garden visitor, the hedgehog. Hedgehogs are a secretive nocturnal animal with impressive array of prickles that cover its body.

These spines are made from keratin, the same material as a rhino's horn and our fingernails, and they prove to be an excellent deterrent for would-be predators.

However, it seems that this armour's function wasn't always as obvious as it seems today, with some scholars believing that it was used to pick up apples to take down to their burrow.

Sir David reveals the true nature of this array of armoury and uncovers a vast history of misconceptions for both species.