Nick Baker's Wierd Creatures - Friday October 5

nick baker’s weird creatures: the human fish

Nick Baker returns tonight with an even stranger collection of beasts for a second series of nature documentaries. In tonight’s opening edition, Nick encounters the bizarre, sightless salamander, also known as the ‘human fish’.

Once again, Nick Baker sets off to the most farflung parts of the globe on a mission to find some of the weirdest, ugliest, and downright bizarre animals that grace our planet. Over the course of the series, he encounters creatures like the 200lb monster snapping turtle; the giant hellbender salamander that oozes toxic slime; the super-intelligent mimic octopus and the enormous catfish that terrorises the waters of Britain and Spain.

Nick’s quest this week takes him to the fairy-tale world of Slovenia, a country steeped in folklore that centres around the existence of dragons. On the quest for such a creature, Nick descends deep into the mountains to find the proteus (Proteus anguinus) or olm –a blind, albino salamander with remarkable qualities, that resides deep in the 20km-long Postojna Caves. Also called the ‘human fish’, because its skin resembles human flesh, the olm has adapted to life in total darkness with atrophied eyes and a heightened sense of hearing and smell. According to local myth, this bizarre amphibian is a baby dragon –but truth turns out to be even stranger than fiction.

To find out more, Nick ventures 27km into the caves and dives into a crystal-clear underground lake. In the middle of this awe-inspiring location, he camps underground for 24 hours in an attempt to experience this light-deprived world and the effect it has had on the olm’s own evolution. Nick’s video diary of his disorientating experience in total darkness records him hearing strange noises in the caves and losing track of time. How will he cope in these eerie, largely unexplored cave systems –a subterranean universe of uniquely adapted creatures?

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