Action men, animal lovers and snowboarding champions Tim Warwood and Adam Gendle, who’ve been friends for 25 years (you might know them best as soapbox racing commentators), are scoping out new terrain. In their series, Animal Impossible, they’re headed into the wild to poke sharks, bears, spiders, cheetahs and more as they examine popular theories – like the fact that an eagle is strong enough to carry off a child. Every episode will end with a big physical stunt that puts one dangerous theory to the test.

"It's a straight-forward idea, mythbusting things in the animal kingdom that we take for granted. How do we know these things, who has ever proved it? We send the boys off to find out. They're not animal experts, so the audience is learning with them, and along the way they turn up some truths which are even stranger than the myths we began with," says series producer Ben Roy. Executive producer Doug Hope adds, “It’s definitely skewing younger, because it’s a lot of fun. It’s fun natural history, and we’ve not done that before. And I don’t think anyone’s doing that. We’re hoping the audience will be huge.”

Watch now on Catch Up

Here are just 5 nature facts that Adam and Tim will be testing as they get dangerously close to the truth…


Myth 1: Spider silk is stronger than steel?

"My most adrenalin-pumping moment was in the episode where we tested the strength of spiders' thread, and I was dangling 300 metres over a canyon on a rope made of spider silk," says Tim. But before the guys got to hang by a thread in Utah, they first travelled to Costa Rica to meet professor Wendy Welshan, who’s heading a project to harvest and spin spider silk. “She showed us how to ‘silk’ a spider. Again, (we meet) just incredible people that are really fascinating and experts in their field. You just have no idea that this research is going on. Where they were in Costa Rica was just out in the middle of nowhere. They literally go out and catch these spiders and silk them with these crazy silking machines and you just can’t believe that’s happening but they’re so passionate about it,” Tim adds.


Myth 2: Can you bear-proof yourself?

Tim and Adam had to get up close with bears of all varieties to test theories of how to best survive a bear encounter and to test out the latest in “bear proof” engineering. “When doing the stunts on the series, you have to put a lot of trust in the people that are signing it off. You’re standing next to a nine-foot grizzly bear that could crush your skull with one paw. Even though every fibre in your body is going, ‘Run away from this massive bear,’ you’ve just got to say, ‘No, it’s safe’ because the bear’s dad is there and he’s saying it's safe. You kind of have to swallow hard and think about your family and go for it,” says Tim.


Myth 3: Are sharks mindless maneaters?

Tim had a good giggle in the series as Adam suited up to go swimming with great white sharks in Mossel Bay, South Africa, because it wasn’t the cold water making him shiver. “We had the best shark experts from around the world. I glued myself to Ryan (Dr Ryan Kempster, founder of Save Our Sharks), the main man with sharks, for about a week and was just asking him questions constantly just to make myself feel better and learn as much as I could. Even then, when we went out for dinner the night before the sharks, I said to Ryan, ‘Are you nervous about tomorrow?’ because he was coming into the water with me, and even he said, ‘Well yeah, of course, mate, they’re great whites! You never know!’ It instantly made me terrified again,” reveals Adam.


Myth 4: Do bulls hate the colour red?

Adam had always assumed that bulls really did hate the colour red. There’s even the saying, “Like a red flag to a bull”. But the guys challenged that idea by dressing up Tim in a red figure-hugging bodysuit and tossing him in the bullring. “I just assumed that one was true. Because I guess we’ve all seen the bull fights and the matadors with their red capes a million times on TV,” says Adam. “But quite soon into the episode, we start finding out that it’s all very different. Even still, when we put Tim in a red morph suit with a giant bull, (you’ll) feel that little bit of doubt in your mind, that “what’s going to happen?” You’re still always questioning things as you go, so that was quite shocking.”


Myth 5: Is it safer to nap with a Cheetah?

Adam and Tim also headed to Namibia to test the saying, “If you want to stay safe in the sun, lie down in the shade with a cheetah.” We’ve seriously never heard anyone say that but, well… just look! We can’t wait to see what they’ll test next.

Watch Animal Impossible S1 on Sundays on BBC Earth (DStv 184) at 16:00, or on Catch Up

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