TV Highlights

Swarm Chasers

Animal Planet - 9pm

Who's in it?

This series about nature's swarms didn't actually begin with locusts – instead, we were in Bangladesh with rat expert Dr Steve Belmain, as he went on the search for a terrifying phenomenon.

In a nutshell

Rat floods. Think of it. Rivers of rats, pouring down streets, eating everything in their path. Sounds like something from a horror film, especially when you factor in the ominously neat and unlikely timing: it happens once every 50 years in Bangladesh. Why? That's what Dr Steve Belmain was out to find out in this documentary, which saw him travel in the forested hills to meet the locals who faced famine if another flood of ravenous rats occurred.

The programme had a tense, movie-like quality as Belmain and his team played the waiting game, receiving footage of purported rat attacks across the region, and trying to work out exactly WHY the floods happened. Belmain's theory is that the floods coincide with the flowering of bamboo plants, which happens every 50 years and provides the rats with vast amounts of food, causing them to multiply. Nice thought, eh? Oh, and we were also treated to an icky autopsy of a pregnant rat, and the revelation that their teeth are hard enough to bite through concrete.

What's the verdict?

Aside from a cameo from a very cute and inoffensive bamboo-dwelling rat which looked more like an extremely furry hamster, this wasn't a programme that reinforced our ancient fear and loathing of rats. In a really gripping and enlightening way.

Star rating: 3/5

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07-07-2011