Episode 49 – Shoebill: The Prehysterical Pescatarian

“And today we’re talking about a weird-looking dinosauresque bird that looks like it may have been drawn by a fourth grader.”

Every so often, a creature comes along that defies the conventions of adaptation and reform. Such creatures cling to the tried and true and, subsequently, resemble relics of a bygone age. One prehysterical looking bird resembles something more akin to it’s dinosaur ancestors than it’s crane cousins. Some call it stagnation, but this frightening feathered behemoth calls it sticking to proven methods. But nature is all about function over form and when you find a look that works, you stick to it in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

Episode 48 – Star-Nosed Mole: The Anemone-Faced Horror

“And today we are talking about a creature that could be a schnoz seismologist. But more on that later…”

Deep in the forests of Appalachia, a friendly earthworm makes its way to who knows where. When suddenly, a dark form approaches. If it had eyes, the earthworm would see a large furry creature coming toward it, pounding the soft earth with its nose. At the end of its snout sits a wriggling mass of writhing tentacles, as though the creature had abducted the earthworm’s brethren, and assimilated them into its nostrils. The worm desperately tries to flop away, but its face/butt accidentally brushes up against the amalgamation of pink tendrils. In an instant, your already dark world is consumed by…more darkness. Hmmm… shouldn’t have picked a worm. Should have gone with crickets. Everybody likes crickets…

Episode 47 – Archer Fish: The Pond Sniper

“…And today we’re talking about a fish that sick of the taste of fish! But more on that later.”


It’s a fish eat fish world, but some aquatic animals aren’t strict pescatarians. Some favor the fruit of the forest. But what can you do if you have terrestrial tastes? Well, you’ve got to bring the meal to you, and it’s not delivery. Sometimes, a little variety in your diet means that you’ve got to get creative with the way you hunt in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

Episode 46 – Blue Sea Slug: The Cnidarian Nightmare Dragon

“And today we are talking about the magellan with dark blue flagellum. But more on that later.”

Episode 45: Monarch Butterfly: The 3,000 Mile Flutter

“And today we are talking about the monarch butterfly, an insect that tastes so bad other bugs are trying to be her! But more on that later…”

She prepares for a journey she may never complete,

And from which she will never return.

No insect migration could ever compete

But it’s not the glory she seeks to earn.

Madam butterfly is a southbound bug,

In search of a kinder season.

Her children will sleep safe and snug,

In temperatures that are well within reason.

A haven she will never know,

Will save them from winter snow.

But a bittersweet journey is what she’ll need,

To make it in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

Episode 44 – Vampire Bat: The Spooky Sky Rat

“And today we are talking about a dark and mysterious creature that’s the subject of frightening folklore and spooky stories. But more on the later.”

Creeping quietly through the night

A vampire finds its hearts delight

Breathing softly in its sleep

The prey knows not what’s in the deep

With slash and prick, the wound is cut

The sanguine morsel in its gut

Is not enough to satisfy

This parasite, the rat that flies

But those who trade in scarlet know

That darkness causes fear to grow

And rest extracts a heavy fee

In Life, Death, and Taxonomy


Fast Talkin by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100590

Artist: http://incompetech.com/


Episode 43: Lowland Streaked Tenrec: The Spiky Stridulator

“And today we are talking the lowland streaked tenrec, about a spiky mamma that looks like a cross between a hedgehog and a shrew but is actually neither.”

Lowland Streaked Tenrec Intro

The search is vast and they’ve got to be fast

To catch the worms in the twilight hours.

The moon is high and brief is the night

That conceals them from predatory powers.

Click click calls the spines of the Tenrec,

Stay together or become a casualty.

That’s the only way to make it to day,

In Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

Sources and Credits:

Lost Frontier by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1300039

Music Artist: http://incompetech.com/

Episode Art: xnamaru

BBC Video: Attenborough and clicking tenrecs 

Episode 42 – Superb Lyrebird: The Pants on Friarbird

Today we’re talking about a fancy bird with a thousand words for romance.

It’s a beautiful Australian morning, the flowers are blooming, the birds are singing and— what was that? Was that a chainsaw you just heard? Nope, it was just the song of the lyrebird, nature’s most complicated songwriter. By imitating other birds, animals, sound effects, and even humans, the lyrebird sings a weird and beautiful song to its one true love. But it’s not over until the lyrebird sings here in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.


Music: Morning Mood – Edvard Grieg

Lyrebird Videos: 

David Attenborough Chats With a Lyrebird

Chook’s Superb Song

Episode 41 – Orangutan: The Forest People of Borneo

“And today we are talking about a large primate with orange hair whose bellowing can be heard for great distances… even without twitter.”


Life in the rain forests of Borneo may seem like a peaceful existence in paradise, but finding food and shelter requires the right tools and the brains to use them. It’s a good thing that the forest’s largest tree dwelling mammal has one of the largest proportional brains in the animal kingdom. But how do they use that advantage to survive 100 feet above the forest floor? These apes are truly living the high Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

Episode 40 – Pilot Whales: Enter the Sand Porpoise

“And today we are learning about a whale that’s as much a whale as they are Federal Aviation Administration approved pilots.”

Have you ever been sleeping? And during that sleep had a dream? And did that dream seem incredibly real? Well, you probably just ate too much sugar before bed, but this happens to the pilot whale all the time, and not because of late night snacks. Out sleeping cetaceous friend always sleeps with one eye open here in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.