Over the years, I’ve watched countless videos on YouTube, including a very eclectic range of wildlife-related ones. So here, in no particular order, are thirty of what, for a wide variety of different reasons, are among my own particular favourites – I hope that you enjoy them too.
#1) Here is my all-time favourite animal video on YouTube:
Some people think that cats put on an act when humans are around, that in reality they’re something quite different… If only we could catch them out – looks like someone finally has done just that! Watch this video and decide for yourself!
#2) Everything comes to he who waits! Over 40 years ago, I saw a Western-style TV programme featuring a mysterious predatory ‘monster’ called a devil. Stirring my nascent cryptozoological interest, I was fascinated by it, and by its denouement – the ‘monster’ proved to be a huge wolverine, a creature I’d never heard of before. Until recently, I’d never been able to find out what that programme was, but I’ve now found it on YouTube! It was an episode called ‘Forest Devil’ from a show called ‘The Monroes’, which I’ve now watched again! Here’s Part 1:
And here is a ShukerNature post of mine concerning my long search to rediscover this elusive show.
#3) How tragic it is that such wonderful creatures as king cheetahs have no concept, no awareness, of just how beautiful and magical they are.
Then again, perhaps they do – after all, they are cats…
King Cheetah (Steve Jurvetson-Wikipedia)
#4) The definition of dogged persistence?
#5) Although this video presentation is rather different from the way in which I describe the discovery and lifestyle of Symbion pandora in my book The Encyclopaedia of New and Rediscovered Animals (2012), you just have to love it! A David Attenborough for future generations? You decide! Check it out at:
#6) Here is one of my all all-time favourite Walt Disney animation clips, from his peerless movie ‘Fantasia’ – this is the scene from the Pastoral section (music is from Beethoven’s ‘Pastoral Symphony’) when the flying horses swoop down from the skies and land upon the water like equine swans, wonderful!! Apparently, Ray Harryhausen used this sequence as inspiration when choreographing the flight scene of Pegasus in ‘Clash of the Titans’.
#7) Who wants the X Factor when you can have the Aaaaaarhhh!!! Factor?
#8) Released by Cornell University, and filmed in 1956 in Mexico, this truly historic footage is the only known film of an imperial woodpecker Campephilus imperialis, the world’s largest species but now presumed extinct.
Imperial woodpeckers (John L Ridgway)
#9) It’s official! Frank & Louie the Janus cat (a cat with two faces) has gone global. Here is an Associated Press video re him on YouTube, celebrating his achievement in becoming (by miles!) the longest-surviving Janus cat ever!
#10) Read by Ron Perlman (who starred as the Beast, Vincent, in the cult fantasy TV show ‘Beauty and the Beast’), ‘This Is The Creature There Has Never Been’ is probably the most beautiful poem ever written about the fabled unicorn. The poet was Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926).
Unicorn painting (Johfra Bosschart)
#11) ‘Paradise’, produced by the National Film Board of Canada – one of the most beautiful works of avian animation ever created, and including within it a truly sublime rendition of ‘The Lonely Shepherd’, performed on the panpipes by Gheorghe Zamfir.
#12) Tomorrow, jumping over the hurdles at the Grand National! Next week, jumping over the Moon! :-
#13) A silent testimony to the appalling tragedy of extinction. The world’s last thylacine or Tasmanian wolf Thylacinus cynocephalus, reduced from a vibrant, fascinating, and truly unique species of wonder to a sad, pale celluloid ghost, doomed for an eternity to pace up and down in impotent despair, trapped forever inside the prison of these few pitiful frames of film.
#14) This feline segment is from the animated film ‘Allegro Non Troppo’ and features ‘Valse Triste’ (‘Sad Waltz’) by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. If you don’t shed a silent tear or two, you aren’t human!
#15) Who needs a cartoon kung fu panda when you can have a real-life kung fu bear? Many thanks indeed to Facebook friend Scoobert Mills for alerting me to this wondrous video!
#16) Ever wanted your very own five-headed cobra? Of course you have! Well, here’s how to get one:
#17) One of the most popular animal videos ever uploaded onto YouTube – let’s hear it for the sneezing panda!
#18) Here’s something you don’t see every day – a black panther and a white panther, the latter being extremely rare:
#19) Known to the native people of Vietnam’s Annamite mountains but formally discovered by science as recently as 1992, the saola or Vu Quang ox Pseudoryx nghetinhensis is totally unlike any other species and is probably the greatest crypto-mammalogical discovery since the okapi in 1901. Tragically, however, it may also be the most endangered. Check out this video re an enigmatic, fascinating species:
Saola postage stamps from Vietnam (World Wide Fund for Nature)
#20) Did Michael Jackson invent the moonwalk? I don’t think so! Check out the mate-attracting dance of the male manakin bird:
#21) Just when you thought it was safe to get back into the water!!
#22) Another (very) fishy video on YouTube – one eel of a video, in fact! lol Check it out at:
#23) If you think that lions and tigers are big, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! This is what results from a lion x tigress liaison – meet the liger:
Hercules the liger – the world’s biggest living cat of any kind (Barry Bland/Barcroft Media)
#24) Here’s the music hall song from 1924, complete with its original sheet music’s front cover, that gave the Lake Okanagan monster its modern-day nickname, Ogopogo:
#25) In my book Dragons: A Natural History (1995), I retold the famous story of the dreaded Lambton Worm of County Durham. There is also a traditional song on this same subject, entitled ‘Whisht Lads’, and here’s a great version of it, sung in dialect, on YouTube. Check it out:
The Lambton Worm
#26) Seriously cute or what?!!
#27) One of the most famous dog videos ever: From the British BBC TV show ‘That’s Life’ back in the 1970s, meet Prince the talking dog – well, he can say ‘Sausages’ anyway!
#28) Here’s a fascinating non-YouTube Swedish video of a winged cat, posted back in 2008. If anyone can speak Swedish, I’d greatly welcome any info regarding what the narrator is saying about this cat. Check it out at:
Okay, two very tenuous wildlife-related links now, but…
#29) Did you know that ‘Dance of the Cuckoos’ – the Laurel and Hardy theme tune – actually had words? Well it did, as I’ve now discovered, thanks to the following video, in which the song is sung by Al Bowlly, who sounds amazingly similar to Stan Laurel:
#30) This is one of my all-time favourite TV themes – ‘The Lightning Tree’, sung by The Settlers, which was the theme to the early 1970s children’s programme, Follyfoot. Although it was mainly about the horses at a stable and the stable’s owners and stable-hands, what I chiefly watched it for was the totally awesome motorbike chop ridden by rebel character Ron Stryker, which had the highest ape-hangers I’ve ever seen on any bike! Anyway, here’s ‘The Lightning Tree’:
Here are two non-wildlife videos, but which appeal to me for diametrically opposite reasons – terror and laughter:
More supernatural than natural history, but a video classic all the same:
Does anyone remember this British public information film from the early 1970s? Entitled ‘Dark and Lonely Water’, it was shown to try and stop children playing near potentially dangerous water, where they may fall in and drown, and as a kid it was one of the most frightening things I ever remember seeing on TV. It certainly did the trick, though, as I kept well away from such areas!! lol. And in case you’re wondering, yes, the voice of the spectre was indeed that of actor Donald Pleasance. Prepare to be petrified:
Entirely unrelated to wildlife, but it made me laugh, so that’s good enough to include this final video here!
Here’s the inimitable musical satirist Tom Lehrer in a vintage clip from Michael Parkinson’s TV chat show in the UK, performing one of his most (in)famous songs – ‘I Got It From Agnes’:
Me being interviewed on TV for Fortean Times (Dr Karl Shuker)
Here’s yours truly, straight off the motorbike and onto the small screen, for a Fortean Times interview on mystery cats, filmed in the centre of Birmingham, England, with, very aptly, a stone sphinx in the background. But look out for the real star of this video, a certain scene-stealing pigeon… Enjoy!