Will Work for Nuts

will work for nuts (6/6)

This week sees the end of the entertaining wildlife series that gives Britain’s animals the chance to flaunt their natural abilities. In tonight’s season finale, the boys persuade a group of squirrels to appear in a range of famous portraits; while a raven performs some street magic to an amazed crowd.

The first challenge of tonight’s Will Work for Nuts sees the intrepid animal experts attempt to take some ‘celebrity portraits’ of squirrels. With the help of some dollops of peanut butter, Matt hopes to persuade these wild animals to poke their heads through holes in a number of prints. Among the portraits featured are Frans Hals’s baroque masterpiece ‘The Laughing Cavalier’, along with slightly less highbrow portraits of Rambo and Neil Armstrong. Though the task is not easy, Matt achieves some impressive results.

Elsewhere, a raven performs some street magic to an amazed crowd of onlookers. Lloyd’s captive raven, Loki, executes the ‘three cup trick’ –an old favourite among street hustlers and magicians. “Ravens are one of the most intelligent birds,” says Lloyd. “They are very good at problem solving.” An innate ability to spot secret caches of food and remember where they are hidden, Lloyd explains, means that ravens are naturals when it comes to this particular trick.

In the last of a series of fox taste tests, the ‘gourmet fox’ is served dessert. The usually hungry animal has already selected a starter, a main course and even some cheese, but it is not impressed with the puddings on offer. “Maybe they are out hunting for natural food,” posits Matt. “It goes to show that foxes aren’t the total scavengers that people often think they are.”

The finale of tonight’s programme sees the team look back over the whole series to decide which animal performance has been the most impressive. Contenders include a peregrine falcon that outflanked a motorbike, the slugs that completed a treacherous assault course, and two football-playing goldfish.

will work for nuts (5/6)

This entertaining wildlife series gives Britain’s animals the chance to flaunt their natural abilities as three experts set them a series of inventive challenges. In tonight’s show, the boys head into the woods for a contest to capture on film one of Britain’s shyest animals – the roe deer. Their varied approaches meet with mixed success.

This week’s main challenge sees Matt, James and Lloyd attempt to film some wild roe deer –Britain’s only woodland deer. These animals are incredibly shy and rely on sharp senses of smell and hearing to detect the approach of any predator. Add to this factor the limited visibility in the woods and the boys have a very tough task on their hands.

Lloyd sets out at dusk wearing the heavy camouflage of a British army sniper, as well as a thick covering of mud to mask his scent. Zoologist Matt tries to get his sighting from horseback, based on the logic that a deer will not see a human on a horse as a threat. “They don’t see a human,” he explains, “just another harmless vegetarian.” James, meanwhile, comes up with the idea of lying in wait for his prey up a tree, inspired by the dubious knowledge that ‘deer don’t look up’.

Elsewhere tonight, Matt and James test their skills as Scalextric drivers when they race their vehicles against a kestrel in full flight. With each car disguised as a giant mouse, the duo embark on a few rounds of Kestrel GTX!

Bird trainer Lloyd has trained his kestrel Ashley to hunt the ‘mouse’ across a specially designed course featuring zigzag curves designed to replicate the winding paths that mice and voles follow through the undergrowth. Matt and James’s challenge is to get their cars to the end of the track before Ashley swoops down and catches them.

The motorised mouse is far larger than the kestrel’s usual prey, but Ashley shows that even something half his bodyweight can be plucked off the ground with ease. “This is just too easy,” says Lloyd with obvious delight.

Also tonight, in the latest of a series of blind taste tests for the animals, a family of foxes make their culinary selection from a range of quiches, with some unexpected results. And there are more squirrel antics as grey squirrels show their aptitude for learning new tricks using a backgarden zip slide.

will work for nuts (4/6)

This entertaining wildlife series gives Britain’s animals the chance to flaunt their natural abilities as three experts set them a series of inventive challenges. In tonight’s show, the team sets out to take a close-up portrait of a blue tit with a mobile phone camera; Matt and James test Lloyd’s claim that his eagle can tell when people are lying and Lloyd takes his peregrine falcons base-jumping.

The first challenge this week sees the boys set out on a ‘blue tit safari’. While this may sound like a walk in the park, Lloyd explains that it is not easy. “A blue tit is just like any other wild animal. When you are trying to get this close… it may as well be a wildebeest in the Serengeti,” he says.

In order to get around this problem, technical maestro James comes up with an ingenious contraption that gets the birds to take their own pictures –a kind of automatic photo booth made from parts of a train set and a burglar alarm. When the birds land on a fake branch they trigger a switch that pushes the camera’s shutter. Matt, however, takes a far more labour intensive and painful approach, sitting bolt upright in a hide made out of a compost bin. Who will get the desired results?

Elsewhere in today’s show, the boys turn their attention to a slightly bigger bird: Lloyd’s captive golden eagle, Tilly. “We’ve got to know each other very well, over the years,” says Lloyd. He claims that Tilly can read human body language so well that she can spot when a person is lying. “There are lots of reasons for her to be able to read the intentions and body language of other eagles in the wild,” explains Lloyd. “Because she’s reared by humans, she’s just using those adaptations to extend to humans.” Will the sceptical Matt and James be willing to test Lloyd’s claims?

Also this week, Lloyd shows that extreme sports are not just for humans as he takes his two peregrine falcons base-jumping –leaping off high structures with a parachute. While the intrepid presenter plummets at quite a speed, the birds fall even faster, displaying their incredible acceleration to reach 60mph in just half a second. “I’d love to be able to do that,” says Lloyd as he watches them swoop from the top of a 160-foot tower. “Well you could do it,” he adds. “But only once!”

will work for nuts (3/6)

This entertaining wildlife series gives Britain’s animals the chance to flaunt their natural abilities as three experts set them a series of inventive challenges. In tonight’s show, the boys explore the unexplained behaviour of earthworms; smell a badger’s breath and imitate a songbird.

Intrigued by the mystery surrounding the habit of earthworms to come to the surface when it rains, Lloyd, Matt and James try to tune into the worms’ instincts and ‘charm’ them up – without the use of water. With an acre of fertile soil thought to support up to a million worms, the lads set to work on the local bowling green. They try three very different techniques to attract the worms and are soon surrounded by the creatures. Whose method will prove the most effective and what can it tell us about the animal’s behaviour?

Matt, meanwhile, finds himself in the unenviable position of having to get up close and personal with a badger to discover if the animal deserves its reputation for bad breath. Armed with a device for measuring smell known as the Nasal Ranger, he spends a night in wait and is rewarded when he gets within a few feet of a specimen’s snout. “I got a good whiff,” says Matt. “I may be the first person to try to measure scientifically the breath of a badger,” he adds, proudly.

Also tonight, the experts set up an elaborate hoax when they come across a high-tech way to create an accurate human impersonation of a songbird. “Songbirds are almost impossible to do,” says bird expert Lloyd. “Their song is so highpitched and complicated.” But James discovers that by slowing down a recording of birdsong, imitating the sound and then speeding up the fake version, he can achieve some great results. Lloyd is so impressed that he challenges Matt and James to convince some seasoned birdwatchers that the human songbird is a wren. Will the twitchers be fooled by James’s technological twittering?

The red squirrel is native to Britain, but it has been pushed out of most parts of England and Wales by the arrival of the bigger, more adaptable grey. Tonight, James sets out to help Britain’s remaining reds regain some of the attention from the flashy newcomers. He goes to the Isle of Wight –a part of Britain free of grey squirrels –and sets up a training camp with a difference.

will work for nuts (2/6)

Animals get the chance to flaunt their natural abilities in this entertaining wildlife series. Three experts put their knowledge to inventive use as they devise clever stunts and challenges for Britain’s unsuspecting animals. In tonight’s episode, James and Matt become prey for a peregrine falcon; the team sets an obstacle course for slugs and a horse’s memory is put to the test with a spot-the-difference challenge.

Will Work for Nuts presents familiar animals in unfamiliar stunts. Three men, drawn together by a knowledge of wildlife and a twisted sense of fun, use their skills to help animals show off their talents. Lloyd Buck is an Essex boy and bird trainer; Matt Thompson has spent ten years making wildlife shows for TV and James Cooper is the show’s resident technical expert. All of their stunts are based on natural animal behaviour and are intended to test a few long-held perceptions about these remarkable creatures who share our everyday lives.

Tonight, Lloyd arranges for Matt and James to taste life at the other end of the food chain as they are hunted by the fastest animal on the planet – a peregrine falcon. These majestic birds of prey can reach up to 124mph when they dive. For this challenge, all Matt and James have for their getaway vehicle is an old trials bike, as they prepare to be hunted by Lloyd’s female peregrine falcon, Lucy.

The stunt begins when the falcon is launched from over a mile away. Matt and James are carrying a lure that Lucy has been trained to hunt, and in no time the bird has spotted them – long before they can see her coming. Peregrines have eyesight eight times more powerful than that of a human, and can detect prey such as pigeons from distances of five kilometres. Using stealth and incredible acceleration, Lucy makes easy prey of the hapless pair. “It was locked onto us like a cruise missile,” says James. “I will never forget that sight.” Matt adds. “It was just like being hunted –it was scary and exciting at the same time.”

From one of the fastest animals on the planet to one of the slowest, the boys turn their attention to the gardener’s worst enemy: the common slug. James is keen to test slugs’ uncanny ability to overcome any object in their path, by devising a fiendish assault course, including obstacles such as rusty drawing pins and barbed wire. James’s knowledge of the slug’s habit of returning to the same feeding sites again and again gives him the edge in a hard-fought race.

Also in this episode, Matt demonstrates the near-photographic memory of a horse when his nag Flynn is challenged to a spot-the-difference test. As an animal whose only defence against predators is to flee, horses are genetically programmed to notice any suspicious changes in their environment. This, combined with sharp eyesight and a 180-degree field of vision, means that very little gets past a horse. But will Flynn do his owner proud?

Meanwhile, the gang continues to probe the taste buds of Britain’s foxes by inviting another gourmet fox to select the best cheese from a cheeseboard. Will the wily visitor pick organic artisan cheddar or processed cheese slices?

will work for nuts (1/6)

Animals get the chance to flaunt their natural abilities in this entertaining new wildlife series on Five. Three experts put their knowledge to inventive use as they devise clever stunts and challenges for Britain’s unsuspecting animals. In tonight’s opening episode, the first-ever bee race is staged; a pair of goldfish are trained to play football; the team engages in a spot of squirrel fishing and a fox has its gourmet taste buds tested by some sausages.

Will Work for Nuts presents familiar animals in unfamiliar stunts. Three men, drawn together by a knowledge of wildlife and a twisted sense of fun, use their curiosity to see how they can help animals show off their abilities. Lloyd Buck is an Essex boy and bird trainer; Matt Thompson has spent ten years making wildlife shows for TV and James Cooper is the show’s resident technical expert. All of their stunts are based on natural animal behaviour and are intended to test a few long-held perceptions about these remarkable creatures who share our everyday lives.

The first challenge is an experiment involving bumblebees. It has long been known that bees are exceptional navigators with an inbuilt sense of direction, rather like homing pigeons. But can they compete in a race back to their hive? The job of devising such a test falls to James, who hits upon the plan of releasing three bees from different locations, three miles from their hive.

To carry out his scheme, James employs three automatic pet feed boxes that can be set to unleash the bees at the same time. “The bees can then fly all the way back and we can count them in… the first one back is the winner,” James explains. To tell the bees apart, the team paints each one with a coloured dot.

Next, the three lads drop off their bees at their chosen locations. Lloyd and Matt know that bees can recognise places they have recently visited, so they have left their bees in fields of flowers in the hope that they have been there before and can find their way back. James, meanwhile, has chosen a location with a favourable tail wind which he hopes will speed his contender home. “May the best bee win,” Lloyd says, before the competitors are released from their boxes. Will all three bees make it back to the hive? And which one will win?

Elsewhere, Matt has decided to go one better than bird trainer Lloyd, and teach a pair of goldfish to play football. “I wanted to take it up a notch, so I’ve chosen a couple of animals that are famed for having really bad memories,” Matt says. His extraordinary proposition involves using a feeder wand to attract the fish’s attention. After a while, the fish associate the wand with food, at which point Matt gradually replaces the wand with a mini-football. Once the fish are taught that pushing the ball into a goal will earn them a food reward, they are ready to compete.

Matt and Lloyd each pick a fish and go head to head in the first football match of its kind: Thierry Henry the Fish versus Peter Crouch the Fish. But can a goldfish really master the beautiful game? The surprising results have Matt dreaming of a full 11-a-side tournament.

Also this week, Lloyd, Matt and James head to the park to engage in the little-known sport of squirrel fishing. All this stunt requires is a nut tied to a piece of string – the perfect bait to ‘hook’ a squirrel and lift it into the air. Plus, Matt tests the theory that urban foxes are developing refined tastes by leaving six sausages in a garden for a visiting fox to try. The sausages range from cheap supermarket fare to premium organic brands – but which one will tickle the fox’s fancy?

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