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INSIDE NATURE’S GIANTS: Monster Python

Airs Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Scientists examine a Burmese Python found in the Florida Everglades.

A team of experts dissect the largest animals on the planet to uncover their evolutionary secrets in INSIDE NATURE'S GIANTS. In each episode, veterinary scientist Mark Evans, comparative anatomist Joy Reidenberg, biologist Simon Watt and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins explore the anatomy of a distinct giant predator to reveal how it works.

Scientists measure the length of a female and male Burmese python.
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Above: Scientists measure the length of a female and male Burmese python.

"Monster Python" - In Florida’s Everglades, Mark Evans and Dr. Joy Reidenberg meet “python hunters” who are attempting to control the python population (approximately 100,000) through a cull. They join reptile expert Jeanette Wyneken to dissect two pythons: a nine-foot male and a 14-foot female.

The program explores the science of slithering, as well as the development of “infra-red goggles” that let the snakes hunt warm-blooded prey in the dark and a flexible jaw that allows them to stretch their mouths around huge prey, including alligators.

The scientists make an amazing discovery in the female: ovaries bulging with 40 egg follicles ready to be fertilized. Richard Dawkins describes how snakes evolved from four-legged lizard-like ancestors, and biologist Simon Watt finds out what it feels like to be crushed by a real-life python.

This series originally aired in 2011.

Dr. Joy Reidenberg is on Facebook. Mark Evans is on Facebook, and you can follow @MarkEvansTV on Twitter.

Up Next:

"Great White Shark" repeats Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at 11 p.m.

"Big Cats" repeats Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 11 p.m.

"Giant Squid" and "Camel" are not currently scheduled to rebroadcast, but you can watch the full episodes below:

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Full Episode: INSIDE NATURE'S GIANTS: Monster Python

Above: The INSIDE NATURE's GIANTS team ventures into the swamps of the Florida Everglades in search of the giant Burmese python. Premiered January 25, 2012 on KPBS TV.

Video

Full Episode: INSIDE NATURE'S GIANTS: Sperm Whale

Above: The team exposes the organs of a sperm whale that became stranded and died on Pegwell Bay in Kent, England to reveal the secrets of the 45-foot deep-sea giant. Premiered January 18, 2012 on KPBS TV

Video

Full Episode: INSIDE NATURE'S GIANTS: Big Cats

Above: In this episode of INSIDE NATURE'S GIANTS, the experts dissect a lion and a tiger. From the outside, the two look very different, but once their skins are removed, even the experts find it hard to tell them apart. Biologist Simon Watt comes face to face with a liger — a cross between a lion and a tiger — proof of the two species’ similarity.

Video

Full Episode: INSIDE NATURE'S GIANTS: Great White Shark

Above: In this episode of INSIDE NATURE'S GIANTS, the experts travel to South Africa to dissect a 15-foot-long great white shark. Comparative anatomist Dr. Joy Reidenberg uncovers the amazing array of senses the shark possesses, including the ability to detect the electro-magnetic field given off by other creatures.

Video

Full Episode: INSIDE NATURE'S GIANTS: Giant Squid

Above: In this episode of INSIDE NATURE’S GIANTS, the team travels to New Zealand to examine one of the biggest yet most mysterious animals on Earth — the giant squid. Delving into its three hearts, razor sharp beak, tooth-covered tentacles and bizarre reproductive system, the team explores the anatomy of a deep-sea alien that’s never been observed in the wild.

Video

Full Episode: INSIDE NATURE'S GIANTS: Camel

Above: In this episode of INSIDE NATURE'S GIANTS, Mark Evans and Dr. Joy Reidenberg brave the Australian Outback to dissect a camel, the ultimate desert survivor.