Bites at Animal Planet


17 Sep

Say hi to Fanny, the robotic dragon

We here at Animal Planet love all creatures, real or not. So when we came across Fanny, a 30-foot-tall, fire-breathing animatronic dragon, we couldn’t help but fall in love with her (…it?). Blame it on our obsession with Game of Thrones.

For one thing, just look at her! According to the Daily Mail, Fanny was designed by German company Zollner Elektronic AG for a German folk play called Drachenstich. In all, Fanny weighs 11 tons, has a 39-foot wingspan and can spew 80 liters of blood. Thanks to all those specs, the Guinness Book of World Records officially recognized Fanny as the largest walking robot.  

This is not fake. That is a giant robotic dragon! (Photo Credit: Zollner Elektronik AG)
Pretty awesome, right?

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31 Aug

Mermaids: The Body Found: What Exactly is the 'Aquatic Ape Theory'?




When we first premiered "Mermaids: The Body Found" back in May, I must admit I was curious about the aquatic ape teory mentioned in the documentary. I'm fascinated by many of the creatures featured on our cryptozoology page, watched 'Finding Bigfoot' regularly before joining the Animal Planet team, and am often guilty of getting lost in endless loops on Wikipedia and other sites while researching many of the creatures that are said to exist but have yet to be found.

When the opportunity came up to learn a bit more about this aquatic ape theory, I figured I'd share some of my findings with the rest of the world.

[Watch More Monster Video!]

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18 Jul

Mermaids: The Body Found - Just How Real is it?




You first saw "Mermaids: The Body Found" during Animal Planet's monstrous Monster Week line-up, but the two hour documentary-style program recently re-aired on Discovery. Once again, the Animal Planet program, which uses scientific theory and real events to debate whether or not mermaids exist, caused a stir among viewers and the program was trending in the No. 1 spot on Google after airing. It seems the program had many convinced that mermaids could exist (much in the way another popular Animal Planet program, "Finding Bigfoot," explores the possibility that Sasquatch could be real).

[Watch: Did Mermaids Evolve from Aquatic Mammals?]

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1 Jun

Everyone's Asking: Do Mermaids Really Exist? ...Well, Do They?


Charlie Foley, SVP of Development for Animal Planet, is Creator, Writer and Executive Producer of Mermaids: The Body Found. Get his answers to FAQs about the program.


How much of this is real and how much of this is made up?

The science really informs the fiction. The theory of Aquatic Ape mentioned in the program is real and has been studied for decades. Many events in the show have occurred – i.e. the whale beachings, Navy experimental sonar testing, The Bloop ...

We use the transitive property to further explore the possibility of mermaids – i.e. if polar bears evolved from the brown bear, isn’t it possible that a mermaid, which was reported in disparate civilizations for ages, evolved from a human-like creature that retreated into the water?

The scientists are actors who portray an authentic government organization (NOAA) who currently study phenomena like whale beachings and sonar testing. The imagined part of the show is our entry point into a new world of possibility rooted in science.

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21 May

Birthing a Monster - Animal Planet's First Ever Monster Week

Rick-holzman Monster Week is driven by the same creative spark that initially led us to make River Monsters. Monsters have always intrigued us - and have allowed us to tell tense, surprising and suspenseful stories, from shocking creatures of massive size to those that are microscopic (You may recall Monsters Inside Me, a show revealing how a vacation in paradise could suddenly lead to a horrible disease or worms that ate your flesh and brain) and Killer Aliens - about mega-pythons and poisonous lizards in Florida.

Everyone knows that the oceans are full of sharks and that these magnificent alpha predators swim in beautiful bright blue water. There is inherently something creepier and more terrifying about murky water with a bottom that squishes between your toes. As summer nears and we all venture into lakes, ponds and watering holes to cool off on these hot summer days, let’s ask ourselves: What if the places we thought were safe were actually just as scary as the oceans patrolled by sharks?

Monster Week was a simple idea, born in the dark primordial soup of a conference room. But as often happens with monsters, the idea took on a life of its own. It morphed and evolved into what will become be an annual event! What better way to kick off the summer than by celebrating the REAL MONSTERS that live in the great outdoors?

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