Sports Summary by Kate Lesciotto, Penn State
Gorilla (1) [Double Trouble] v. Brown Hyena (3) [Cats-ish v. Dogs-ish] - Tonight's randomly selected battleground - COASTAL! This particular coastal area is in Northern Queensland Australia, where two World Heritage Ecosystems meet - the Daintree Rainforest & the Great Barrier Reef. Brown Hyena is pretty happy with this pick, as he is adapted to Namibian coastal living and scavenging in inter-tidal zones. However, Gorilla is also used to the coastal scrub areas of Gabon and is currently sitting at the water's edge, enjoying the gentle lap of water against his hands and feet. In the distance, Brown Hyena trots along the shore, scattering several dozen grey plovers. Brown Hyena would prefer a spot for a nap, but instead is being lured by the glorious scent of a rotting carcass. As Gorilla goes for a leafy appetizer in the tree line, Gorilla and Brown Hyena find themselves a mere 10 feet apart on the same side of a stream. Gorilla stands tall, while Brown Hyena raises its hair to appear larger, at the same time slinking deeper in to the forest to put some more distance between the two. The lure of the rotting carcass is too much, and Brown Hyena looks for a way to cross the stream. Looking sideways, Brown Hyena starts to cross, as Gorilla prepares to charge if necessary. Brown Hyena's back paws start to sink in the mud ... Gorilla grows impatient and SCREAMS ... at the 25 ft saltwater crocodile across the stream! Annoyed at the screams due to sensitive hearing, crocodile moves, slipping into the water. Luckily, this croc is more interested in digesting the cow carcass than either of the combatants and moves to a billabong to submerge and digest. But Brown Hyena has already moved out of the battlefield. GORILLA outlasts Brown Hyena!!! Narrated by Katie Hinde.
Sports Summary by Kate Lesciotto, Penn State
Raccoon Dog (3) [Tiny Terrors] v. Brown Hyena (3) [Cats-ish v. Dogs-ish] - Brown Hyena enters the ring having previously scared off Solongoi and Fossa. Last week, Hyena may have found a species that wouldn't run away - Sloth Bear - but, due to human interference Hyena survived to enter the #FinalRoar. In the other corner, Raccoon Dog may be the floofiest mammal to have entered the #FinalRoar, after having eaten Shrew, survived the cold that froze Island Fox, and outlasted Pudu. Although these two both enter as #3 seeds in their respective divisions, Hyena outweighs Raccoon Dog 182 to 35 stoats, respectively, as they face off in Sri Lanka's Wathurana swamp forest. The sweltering heat means that Raccoon Dog is in immediate danger of overheating with its floofiest of floof. Thankfully the swamp is beginning to flood, allowing the Raccoon Dog to somewhat beat the heat in the belly-deep water. The water doesn't stop Hyena from sniffing out a water buffalo carcass. The carcass doesn't do much for Raccoon Dog, but the carrion beetles and their noise is an attractant. Without getting too close to Hyena, Raccoon Dog settles over the carcass to snarf some beetles ... but the tastiest beetles are right where Hyena is scavenging. Raccoon Dog inches closer ... and closer... TOO CLOSE. Hyena snarls and leaps!! Raccoon Dog quickly retreats to find less guarded beetles. BROWN HYENA discourages Raccoon Dog!! Narrated by Asia Murphy, Anne Hilborn, Katie Hinde, and Tara Chestnut.
Gorilla (1) [Double Trouble] v. Gopher Tortoise (7) [AnthropoSCENE] - Gorilla and Gopher Tortoise enter the battlefield having defeated all previous opponents with absolutely zero controversy or fan disgruntlement [insert fake studio audience laugh track]. Gopher Tortoise, as the #7 seed from AnthropoSCENE, is the lowest seeded combatant to ever make it to the MMM Final Roar! See everyone - SHELL-tering in place leads to good things ... like survival. Give your local Gopher Tortoise an extra tip-o-the-hat on April 10th for Gopher Tortoise Day, which recognizes this important keystone species. Tonight, Gopher Tortoise squares off against Gorilla in a desert grassland - specifically, the Jornada Biosphere Reserve of the Chihuahuan Desert in Mexico. Running low on energy reserves in this novel environment, Gorilla resorts to coprophagy (the consumption of solid waste that has already passed through the digestive tract - fancy talk for eating poop). While eating his... meal, Gorilla notices that, while digging yet another burrow, Gopher Tortoise has disturbed a termite mound. Seeing a preferred food item, Gorilla abruptly pushes Gopher Tortoise out of the way. Gorilla settles in for another meal, while Gopher Tortoise starts digging out yet another burrow, this time located outside of the battlefield. GORILLA displaces Gopher Tortoise!! Narrated by Alyson Brokaw, Lara Durgavich, Jessica Light, Marc Kissel, and Katie Hinde.
Sports Summary by Kate Lesciotto, Penn State
Pygmy Hog (1) v. Raccoon Dog (3) [Tiny Terrors] - Tonight's first combatants are Pygmy Hog and Raccoon Dog, who last shared a common ancestor about 76-82 million years ago. Raccoon Dog is used to eating a diet high in small mammals and birds, so a baby hog would be a tasty treat. Raccoon Dog may be hoping that its distinctive facial mask will do its job and signal ferocity and aggressive defense to would-be predators. In the freshwater Ratargul Swamp Forest in Bangladesh, at least it is the dry season in March, so Pygmy Hog can get down to its usual business of foraging snout-to-ground for roots, bulbs, and insects. Snuffling along a game trail, Pygmy Hog comes across an Indian civet! Pygmy Hog turns tail and runs, not realizing that this civet is already dead, having been caught in a snare the previous night. Coming to a safer place that only smells slightly of humans, Pygmy Hog goes back to foraging, while Raccoon Dog is shuffling closer along the same game trail. Suddenly, a squeal pierces the air! Raccoon Dog freezes, sheltering in place, while 20 feet away Pygmy Hog struggles as the steel snare tightens around its neck ... slowly suffocating .... RACCOON DOG outlives Pygmy Hog!! Narrated by Tara Chestnut, Marc Kissel, Asia Murphy, and Brian Tanis.
Trumpeter Swan (4) v. Gopher Tortoise (7) [AnthropoSCENE] - Trumpeter Swan is preening and proud, having scared off the big, bad Australian Feral Camel, while Gopher Tortoise is a bit water-logged but still hanging on. However, both competitors are out of place in tonight's randomly selected environment - a subtropical coniferous forest in the Cumbres del Ajusco National Park near Mexico City. With its nesting grounds so far off, Trumpeter Swan decides to refuel and starts looking for food. Gopher Tortoise's body plan is optimized for burrowing, and he starts getting busy digging out a new burrow to get out of the cold. Gopher Tortoise flings a flipper-full of soil towards the back - straight in to the face of a foraging Trumpeter Swan! Swan honks and charges, but can't strike with enough force to deter Gopher Tortoise. Having had enough of this nonsense, Trumpeter Swan flies away towards Mexico City. In the congested and polluted air, Trumpeter Swan can't see well and flies directly into some electrical wires! In an explosion of feathers, Trumpeter Swan falls to the ground dead, while Gopher Tortoise continues to dig out its burrow. GOPHER TORTOISE outlasts Trumpeter Swan!! Narrated by Alyson Brokaw and Jessica Light.
Sloth Bear (1) v. Brown Hyena (3) [Cats-ish v. Dogs-ish] - This division has lived up to its name, with the Dogs-ish Sloth Bear up against the Cats-ish Brown Hyena. Alarmingly, bear bile (sourced from Asiatic Black Bears and sometimes Sloth Bears) is currently listed as a potential treatment for COVID-19 by China's National Health Commission, a dangerous claim without any evidence. This randomly selected battleground is a Desert Grassland, giving serious advantage to Brown Hyena. Sloth Bear is used to taller grasses and isn't enjoying the start of this visit to the Metemma Woreda of the Amhara Region of Ethiopia. At the outskirts of a local village, Brown Hyena is sniffing out a goat carcass, butchered several days ago, while Sloth Bear is drawn more to the garden plots ... but also on the outer edge of the village a local is keeping an eye out for raiders and brings a rifle to his shoulder. Finding only empty garden plots, Sloth Bear turns back to the grasslands but runs straight into Brown Hyena! But Sloth Bear don't care, thinking this is just a non-threatening striped hyena. POP! POP! Sloth Bear perishes instantly, collapsing from a precision shot from the villager's rifle as Brown Hyena darts into the darkness. BROWN HYENA outlasts Sloth Bear!! Narrated by Katie Hinde, Jo Varner, and Anne Hilborn.
Gorilla (1) v. Largetooth Sawfish (3) [Double Trouble] – The final battle of the #EliteTrait takes place in the tropical pine forest habitat on the western slopes of the Barisan Mountain Range in southern Sumatra. Gorilla spies some nice-looking vegetation, but those greens are on the other side of a stream. Luckily, Largetooth Sawfish can tolerate freshwater and is taking a rest in this particular stream. Gorilla approaches warily, tests the depths of the stream with a stick, and ends up jabbing Largetooth Sawfish's already damaged dorsal fin! Thrashing in pain, Sawfish ends up in a sandy channel without sufficient water to maneuver. Gorilla engages in a spectacular splash display, which actually helps Sawfish swim away. GORILLA outlasts Largetooth Sawfish!!! Narrated by Lara Durgavich, Mauna Dasari, and Josh Drew.
Sports Summaries by Kate Lesciotto, Penn State
Sloth Bear (1) v. African Civet (4) [Cats-ish v. Dogs-ish] - Sloth Bear arrives to the Sweet 16 relatively unscathed, having been able to scare off both Pygmy Spotted Skunk in the Wild Card and Red Panda in Round 2. Sloth Bear faces off against African Civet, which has been described as a "low-slung animal which shares the affinities of a dog, cat, and a genet at the same time" [and yes, I did insert the Oxford comma because I am not a grammar heathen!]. Having finished off Badger in Round 1 and a nice meal of figs in Round 2, Civet is looking more for a place to nap than a battle in the Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary in India. Sloth Bear sniffs out the musky Civet, who awakens from its nap to see a grouchy Sloth Bear unwilling to move. Despite deploying Civet's defense of a taller-than-a-stoat mohawk of raised hair, Sloth Bear is not impressed. With massive claws and surprising canines, Sloth Bear chomps down on Civet's neck. SLOTH BEAR defeats African Civet!!! Narrated by Patrice Connors and Jo Varner.
Pygmy Hog (1) v. Tree Hyrax (4) [Tiny Terrors] - Both of these fresh-faced competitors face off in the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the most threatened habitat types in the world. Happy about the current social distancing mandates, Tree Hyrax is busy lamenting the lack of trees, when both Hyrax and Pygmy Hog are startled by an elephant rustling in the grass. Perhaps this elephant is part of the Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme, which uses elephant drives to flush out wild hogs. Our Pygmy Hog takes off like greased lightning and runs straight into the elephant, slashing at its front hoof with sharp tusks. Elephant cries out in pain, raises up on hind limbs, and then stamps down hard ... right on to Tree Hyrax who was trying to hide in the commotion. Pygmy Hog evades capture and lives to see the #EliteTrait. PYGMY HOG outlasts Tree Hyrax!!! Narrated by Jessica Light and Marc Kissel.
Brown Hyena (3) v. Tayra (7) [Cats-ish v. Dogs-ish] – Will elephants make another appearance? Our next battle takes place in Addo Elephant National Park. Brown Hyena is busy scavenging a road-killed antelope, one of the many unlucky victims of high speed traffic and inattentive drivers. Tayra, unfamiliar with this costal environment, is also looking for a meal. As it searches, Tayra suddenly feels an unfamiliar texture under its feet ... black and hot to the touch. Hyena looks up at the approaching Tayra and is witness to ... SPLAT!!! Tayra is crushed by a passing motorist. BROWN HYENA defeats Tayra!!! Narrated Tara Chestnut.
Raccoon Dog (3) v. Pudu (2) [Tiny Terrors] - Back in Chiloe National Park, Chile, Pudu is back on the hunt for a mate, and Raccoon Dog is on the hunt for a meal. Pudu has found a mate whose prior offspring is frolicking nearby, and although the narrators have drawn a tasteful veil over this scene, you can be assured that they are violating all of the CDC's social distancing recommendations right now. This plump pair draws the focus of a predator ... who creeps closer ... and closer... until Kodkod pounces at the female pudu's frolicking fawn!! That's right, previously eliminated Kodkod calls this habitat home as well. As both Pudu call out in alarm, Raccoon Dog finishes slurping up an earthworm. Pudu crashes through the undergrowth and leaps away from the battlefield, while Raccoon Dog takes this easy victory. RACCOON DOG defeats Pudu!!! Narrated by Anne Hilborn.
Australian Feral Camel (1) v. Trumpeter Swan (4) [AnthropoSCENE] - We start another battle with competitors entering the field entirely unscathed by the previous battles. Tonight's battle takes place in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Australia, giving home habitat advantage once again to Australian Feral Camel. The warm fall weather is all wrong, and Swan is irritable, while Camel saunters in, foraging on the desert foliage. Nonplussed by Camel's non-reaction, Swan spreads its wings and HISSES!!! Camel continues browsing, unintimidated by Swan's display. Used to repelling moose, Swan continues its display, trumpeting its signature honk. Camel is startled by the continued, rising aggression and flees into the bush!! TRUMPETER SWAN scares off Australian Feral Swan!!! Narrated by Katie Hinde.
Common Cuttlefish (6) v. Gopher Tortoise (7) [AnthropoSCENE] - Cuttlefish remains wounded from Round 1, but soared through an easy battle against a caged Thylacine in Round 2. Gopher Tortoise arrives tonight after having SHELL-tered in place to a victory against Florida Panther. Tortoise is enjoying its victory, taking a little vacay in St. Augustine, Florida, with a burrow only 20 ft away from Cuttlefish who has arrived in warm waters from its previous battle in Tasmania. Tortoise wakes up and makes its way to the beach ... only to encounter a spring breaker, who decides to “help out” and bring Tortoise to the water ... except this Tortoise can't swim!! A local jogger recognizes the problem and brings a gasping Tortoise back to the safety of the solid sand. After a serious spawning session, Cuttlefish remembers that it is semelparous (characterized by a single reproductive episode before death)! GOPHER TORTOISE outlives Common Cuttlefish!!! Narrated by Asia Murphy.
Largetooth Sawfish (3) v. Speartooth Shark (2) [Double Trouble] - To preserve reality, this battle takes place in the languid freshwater regions of Kakadu National Park of Australia. As the Speartooth Shark is searching out more fresh water, we travel to the upper reaches of the South Alligator river. Both species use this portion of the upper river, but Largetooth Sawfish has blunt crushing jaws, while Speartooth Shark has a mouth FULL of teeth. Speartooth Shark is also pregnant and ready to pup but also senses prey in the area ... and clamps down on Largetooth Sawfish's second dorsal fin!! Sawfish reels back, using its toothy rostrum to rake across Speartooth Shark's face and gills. Not expecting this level of retaliation, pregnant Speartooth Shark decides to avoid further injury and swims away. LARGETOOTH SAWFISH chases off Speartooth Shark!! Narrated by Josh Drew.
Gorilla (1) v. Indian Cobra (4) [Double Trouble] - Indian Cobra literally glided past the competition in the last round, while Gorilla watched as Wolverine exited stage left to avoid a fight. Let's see if Gorilla has ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) ... In a swampy clearing of Bai Hokou in Dzanga-Ndoki National Park, Central African Republic, a gaggle of young gorillas play, occasionally falling upon our silverback Gorilla. Although many African countries are temporarily shutting down gorilla tourism to protect these primates against the potential danger of Covid-19, our Gorilla is currently bothered by a group of humans that is getting a bit too close. Cobra is also getting a bit too close, but is quickly spotted by one of the younger gorillas who sounds off the alarm. Cobra begins to slither away as Gorilla bashes at it with massive hands! Unable to prepare its signature defense, Cobra is on the sad receiving end of a Gorilla slam. GORILLA crushes Indian Cobra!!! Narrated by Mauna Desari and Alyson Brokaw.
Sports Summaries by Kate Lesciotto, Penn State
Indian Cobra (4) v. Short-snouted Seahorse (12) [Double Trouble] - The Indian Cobra is a true heavy-hitter, as one of the "big four" responsible for snake-bite deaths in India. Short-snouted Seahorse is punching above its weight, having taken out the higher-seeded Harbor Porpoise (moment of the silence) in the first round. Location for this battle is carried over from Round 1 - the Umred Pauni Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary in central India - with Seahorse being transported from its usual marine habitat to a freshwater stream. Without the necessary sodium pumps to maintain an osmotic balance with the new freshwater environment, Seahorse is quickly feeling poorly as its tissues rapidly lose salt to the surrounding water. Seahorse's cells burst open as fresh water floods in - and Cobra swims past, barely noticing Seahorse's bloated corpse. INDIAN COBRA defeats Seahorse!! Narrated by Chris Anderson.
Speartooth Shark (2) v. Red-Footed Booby (7) [Double Trouble] - Unscathed by Round 1, both competitors enter tonight's battle in the Fly River off the coast of Papua New Guinea. Red-Footed Booby soars high overhead and spots a school of fish to dive bomb. Booby is used to deep waters, but is now met with the turbid waters of the Fly River, slamming its head on a submerged rock! Booby slowly rises to the surface, catching its breath and simultaneously presenting an interesting silhouette to something lurking below ... and this something is curious ... and hungry. In order to investigate the silhouette, Speartooth Shark uses the only tool available - its mouth. Booby struggles against the sudden onslaught of teeth, but is confused, concussed, and ultimately consumed. SPEARTOOTH SHARK consumes Red-Footed Booby!! Narrated by Josh Drew.
Largetooth Sawfish (3) v. Sarus Crane (6) [Double Trouble] - Returning to the Everglades National Park, Sarus Crane is in unfamiliar territory, but still feels comfortable enough to start poking around the marshes for food. Moving into the more open shallows, Crane's stabby-pokey food procurement method combined with a blinding angle of the sun leads to Crane stabbing the pectoral fin of Largetooth Sawfish! Sawfish's dermal denticles can't stop Crane's beak, and Sawfish lashes out with its toothy rostrum. The large teeth catch Crane in the ankle, rupturing the tendon and causing Crane to stumble. Deciding to leave these treacherous waters, Crane flies off, leaving Sawfish injured, but still victorious. LARGETOOTH SAWFISH defeats Sarus Crane!!! Narrated by Josh Drew and Anne Hilborn.
Thylacine (3) v. Common Cuttlefish (6) [AnthropoSCENE] - Thylacine enters the battlefield after enjoying a nice meal of bandicoot in Round 1. In March 1926, it is the twilight of Thylacine's existence in seaside Hobart, Tasmania. The waters here are cooler than Cuttlefish is used to, but wait ... where's Thylacine? Trapped in the Hobart Zoo! In its enclosure, Thylacine is agitated, sensing the drastic drop to record low temperatures. As the temperature plummets to the low 20s (F), the zookeeper appears and opens the gate to Thylacine's warmer den box (UNLIKE on Sept. 7, 1936, when the very last Thylacine was left to perish exposed to the cold at Hobart Zoo). While Thylacine does get to enjoy a warm dinner, Thylacine does not get to enjoy another MMM battle, having never even entered the battlefield. And why we recognize Extinction Day of Sept 7th every year. COMMON CUTTLEFISH outlasts Thylacine!!! Narrated by Patrice Connors, Marc Kissel, and Katie Hinde.
Trumpeter Swan (4) v. California Condor (5) [AnthropoSCENE] - Our two avian adversaries enter tonight's battle in the Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming relatively unscathed by Round 1. Surprised by the cooler temperatures, Condor is still on the hunt and finds a familiar mule deer carcass to investigate. Upon landing, Condor hears the bugling of the nearby foraging Swan. While Condor might normally gorge himself on the deer carcass, his crop (enlarged part of the esophagus used for temporary food storage) is distended due to lead poisoning, the result of ingesting the remnants of lead ammunition during scavenging. Unable to move any food from his crop to his stomach, Condor eventually gives up on the mule deer carcass and weakly flies off. TRUMPETER SWAN vanquishes California Condor!! Narrated by Lara Durgavich.
Australian Feral Camel (1) v. House Cat (8) [AnthropoSCENE] - The Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary, part of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, is home to the world's largest cat-proof fence. Domesticated cats kill millions of birds, reptiles, and mammals each year, and are responsible for the extinction of dozens of small mammals in Australia. As Camel grazes, the sound of a helicopter echoes in the distance. Having escaped a recent camel culling, our Camel tears through a fence, allowing an entry for House Cat into the battlefield. Cat sniffs out a sausage, using carnassials to shear off large chunks ... which means that Cat doesn't even notice the hard pellet embedded in the sausage. The pellet dissolves in Cat's stomach, releasing para-aminopropiophenone, a secondary line of defense in case of cat-proof fencing failure. A cat bait designed to eradicate the invasive domesticated cat that goes by the brand name “Curiosity.” AUSTRALIAN FERAL CAMEL outlasts House Cat!! Narrated by Katie Hinde.
Gorilla (1) v. Wolverine (8) [Double Trouble] - Both Gorilla and Wolverine got off easy in Round 1, and they now face off in the humid Ntokou-Pikounda National Park in the Republic of Congo. Wolverine is not having any of this heat, but goes to investigate a rustling in a nearby bush and finds a duiker caught in a snare. As Wolverine delivers death to the duiker, it freezes as it notices Gorilla. Cranky with heat, Wolverine sizes up Gorilla ... and decides to make this duiker meal a to-go order. GORILLA defeats Wolverine!!! Narrated by Mauna Desari and Katie Hinde.
Florida Panther (2) v. Gopher Tortoise (7) [AnthropoSCENE] - Both animals are found in the Big Cypress National Preserve, so no one gets a home habitat advantage in tonight's final battle. Gopher Tortoise is heading back to its burrow after an active day as Florida Panther flashes by chasing down a rabbit. This rabbit was also heading towards Tortoise's burrow, which provides habitat for many species. Panther tries to start digging out the burrow to retrieve that rascally rabbit. Tortoise does not take kindly to this blockage, and bites Panther's tail and then charges! And then realizes that he made a huge mistake and retreats back into his shell. This Grumpy Gopher Tortoise lives to fight another day as Panther can't break through his shell because panther doesn’t have the same tortoise and turtle carapace breaking skills as jaguar #science. Panther loses interest and becomes distracted by rabbit who has vacated the burrow through an alternate exit. GOPHER TORTOISE survives Florida Panther!! Narrated by Jessica Light.
Sports Summaries by Kate Lesciotto, Penn State
Pygmy Hog (1) v. Finalyson's Squirrel (8) [Tiny Terrors]- Both competitors enter tonight's battle unscathed in the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary in India, where the last remaining populations of pygmy hog reside. Waking up in his preferred nest of tall grasses, Pygmy Hog starts thinking about breakfast ... roots? Insects? Mmmm, maybe some rodent will be on the menu today. Finlayson's Squirrel is less at home in the tall grass and sounds out with an alarm call to voice his displeasure at Pygmy Hog's rustling of the grass. Pygmy Hog runs straight at Squirrel, tusks glinting in the sun, and shows no mercy. PYGMY HOG eviscerates Finalyson's Squirrel!!! Narrated by Jessica Light.
Tayra (7) v. Common Kusimanse (15) [Cats-ish v. Dogs-ish Division] - The Common Kusimanse is #TeamCatsish, while the Tayra is repping #TeamDogsish. This battle takes place in the Santa Rosa National Park in Costa Rica. Exploring this new environment, Kusimanse trots up to a Maniklara zapota tree, right near the den of the Tayra! From inside the den, Tayra keeps a watchful eye on Kusimanse, who is at the top end of Tayra's prey size options. Kusimanse starts stalking a spider, giving Tayra the opportunity to slink out from its den unnoticed. Tayra is stealthy, but not stealthy enough - Kusimanse bolts, and Tayra gives chase. They face off, with Kusimanse puffing out hair and Tayra slashing with claws. Kusimanse loses its balance and falls off a branch into a small pool of water. Unhurt, Kusimanse takes the time to snarf down a freshwater crab before vacating the battlefield. TAYRA defeats Common Kusimanse!! Narrated by Katie Hinde.
Pudu (2) v. Southern African Hedgehog (7) [Tiny Terrors] - These two #TinyTerrors face off in the Nacional Chiloe in Chile, as Pudu is gearing up for mating season. Instead of sniffing out a mate, Pudu smells Hedgehog wearing eau de la Pika from the previous battle. Pudu is not a fan and scratches at the ground, signaling his displeasure. Before he can reach Hedgehog, another male pudu enters the ring, as mating season aggression runs high. As the Pudu squares off against this potential rival, Hedgehog takes the opportunity to make his escape ... straight into the jaws of a dog. PUDU outlives Hedgehog!! Narrated by Alyson Brokaw.
Raccoon Dog (3) v. Island Fox (6) [Tiny Terrors] - Both Raccoon Dog and Island Fox are rare amongst canids, possessing claws with enough curve and strength to climb trees. Even though both already had meals with their Round 1 victories, these smaller mammals require high energy budgets to keep going. In the Udegeyshaya Legenda National Park in southeastern Russia, an unexpected cold front has moved in and Raccoon Dog is struggling to hunt. Island Fox is hungry, but more concerned with finding a warm place to curl up - this shallow burrow seems good enough. Raccoon Dog, the only canid to undergo winter hibernation, decides that a nap sounds good as well. Finding a tree hollow already occupied by another raccoon dog, our Raccoon Dog decides to get his snuggle on and joins the conspecific. Island Fox is alone, and its meal from Round 1 is insufficient to keep its metabolism going ... Island Fox drifts off into a cold, forever sleep. RACCOON DOG outlasts Island Fox!! Narrated by Brian Tanis.
Sloth Bear (1) v. Red Panda (8) [Cats-ish v. Dogs-ish Division] - Despite its name, Red Panda is definitely #TeamDogsish and is not closely related to the giant panda. Sloth Bears, on the other hand, do live up to their name, resting and sleeping for nearly half the day, spending the other half of the day foraging and eating. In Chitwanna National Park in Nepal, Red Panda is feeling the heat in this lower elevation and climbs a nearby tree to find some shade. Sloth Bear climbs a Sal tree in hopes of finding some tasty fruit, but instead finds a resting Red Panda. Both animals lift paws to show their intention to strike. Seeing Sloth Bear's massive paw AND massive claws, Red Panda quickly turns a floofy tail and runs away to nap another day. SLOTH BEAR unseats Red Panda!! Narrated by Patrice Connors.
African Civet (4) v. European Badger (5) [Cats-ish v. Dogs-ish Division] - In the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, Civet is sniffing for an evening meal when he hears an unfamiliar sound ... Badger is digging out a new burrow at the base of a tree. Civet doesn't usually go for prey this size, but Badger is ... badgering him so Civet approaches cautiously. Civet directs the first bite towards the skull, holding Badger down with a forepaw and using incisors to pull off tasty morsels. AFRICAN CIVET defeats European Badger!!! Narrated by Marc Kissel.
Tree Hyrax (4) v. Kodkod (5) [Tiny Terrors] - Small mammals make up 75% of Kodkod's diet, and Kodkod has a weak spot (gastronomically speaking) for arboreal mammals. Will Tree Hyrax be tonight's dinner special? Tree Hyrax gets home-habitat advantage tonight in the Kakum National Park in Ghana. Kodkod gets down to business in the new forest and begins hunting for its next meal. That Least Chipmunk from Round 1 didn't last very long. In a nearby Velvet Tamarind tree, Kodkod spots a Tree Hyrax. Although the Tree Hyrax outweighs Kodkod, this kitty is getting hungry and goes in for a closer look. Tree Hyrax notices and elects direct confrontation, getting face-to-face with Kodkod (CDC: STAY AT LEAST 6 FEET AWAY!) and shrieking. Realizing this will not be an easy meal (and heeding the CDC's recommendations), Kodkod turns tail to hunt elsewhere. TREE HYRAX intimidates Kodkod!! Narrated by Jo Varner.
Brown Hyena (3) v. Fossa (6) [Cats-ish v. Dogs-ish Division] - The Fossa might be outmatched in tonight's final battle at Wolf Bay, Namibia - without the trees that its used to and being outweighed (Hyena's 182 stoats to Fossa's mere 32 stoats!!). Hyena joins some friends, who have been raining down death on seal pups at the bay for several months. Fossa decides to make the best of its new location and is tracking the same seal pup as Hyena. Fossa strikes first, going for a strangling bite to the neck of the seal pup as Hyena watches in interest and then joins the fray. Fossa elects self-preservation and decides to abandon its meal. BROWN HYENA runs Fossa off!! Narrated by Anne Hilborn and Asia Murphy.
Sports Summaries by Kate Lesciotto Penn State:
Speartooth Shark (2) v. Amoeba (15) - The first battle of the night takes place in the Fly River on the coast of Papua New Guinea. As Amoeba (Chaos chaos) slowly encases a piece of detritus off the foot of a foraging prawn, the carnivorous Speartooth Shark, a river shark, lurks nearby. Using its Ampullae of Lorenzini, Speartooth Shark senses the electrical impulses coming from the prawn and closes in, engulfing both the prawn and Amoeba. SPEARTOOTH SHARK for the win!! Narrated by Josh Drew.
Indian Cobra (4) v. Long-Legged Bat (13) - Unlike most other bats, the echolocation calls of the Long-Legged Bat are incredibly loud - roughly the same as being 3 feet away from a chainsaw. The Indian, or spectacled, Cobra, is an iconic species, having the well-recognized 'hood', created by the cobra by spreading out the ribs in its neck when threatened. In the Umred Pauni Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary in central India, the Long-Legged Bat finds a familiar looking road culvert, a welcome potential roosting site near water. However, this culvert is already occupied! Cobra raises itself up and hisses at the intruder, sending Bat flying safely away to find another sunny spot to rest. INDIAN COBRA ssssscares Long-Legged Bat away!!! Narrated by Alyson Brokaw & Marc Kissel.
Largetooth Sawfish (3) v. Acorn Barnacle (14) - Our next aquatic battle of the evening takes place in the warm coastal waters of the Everglades National Park. As Sawfish swims through the sea grass, the mobile larval stage of an Acorn Barnacle is nearby. Acorn Barnacle is displeased by the warmth and salinity in these waters and decides to extend its larval stage until it senses its own kind again. Acorn Barnacle drifts over Sawfish and vacates the battlefield. LARGETOOTH SAWFISH defeats Acorn Barnacle!!! Narrated by Josh Drew.
Gorilla (1) v. Filarial Nematode (16) - This division's #1 seed is so nice, they named it thrice - Gorilla gorilla gorilla! Filarial Nematode may be small, but packs a powerful punch. Loa loa infects over 10 million people in Africa and can hang out in your subcutaneous tissues for up to 15 years! In Loango National Park in Gabon, Gorilla is living its best life, resting and eating with his social group of multiple females and young, and ignores a group of human ecotourists. One of the humans removes his glasses to rub his red inflamed eye (CDC: DON'T TOUCH YOUR FACE!!!), as a fly lands in his arm to take a blood meal that includes a number of young microfilariae. The infected fly now heads towards Gorilla, but this particular species of vector flies does not feed on non-human primates and reverses course back towards the ecotourists. Bothered by their noisy fly-swatching, Gorilla makes some mild threats, and the ecotourist group ethically withdraws, luring the infected fly with them. GORILLA defeats Filarial Nematode!!
Narrated by Lara Durgavich.
Harbor Porpoise (5) v. Seahorse (12) - Although one of the smallest oceanic whales, the Harbor Porpoise still weighs in at 50-90kg (227-409 stoats) and is adapted for thermoregulation in the cold waters of the Northern Hemisphere. In the other corner, the short-snouted Seahorse is one of the largest seahorses, yet still only enters the battlefield at half a stoat. In the shallow, coastal waters off of Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada, a female Porpoise surfaces for air, while Seahorse is drifting along with the currents, headed towards a suitable looking rock that would provide a nice anchor. However, Porpoise echolocates and senses some delicious fish near Seahorse; but as Porpoise rushes forward, she gets trapped in a gillnet!! Porpoise thrashes and thrashes, but the net simply becomes tighter and more entangled around her. As her body becomes bobbing bycatch, Seahorse takes no notice. SEAHORSE outlasts Harbor Porpoise!!!
Narrated by Mauna Dasari and Patrice Conners.
Red-Footed Booby (7) v. Green Iguana (10) - While there are six booby species within the genus Sula for your juvenile entertainment, the Red-Footed Booby is the smallest at only 1 kg (no stoat conversion reported??!!??). The Green Iguana is a bit heftier at 5 kg (still no stoat conversion??!!??). In the Reserva Biologica Rio Platano in Honduras, the Red-Footed Booby returns to its treetop nest, surprised to find Iguana splayed out on a nearby branch. But Iguana is even more surprised and falls less than gracefully from the tree. RED FOOTED BOOBY defeats Green Iguana!! Narrated by Chris Anderson.
Sarus Crane (6) v. Zokor (11) – In the style of a Greek Tragedy, Sarus Crane, the tallest flying bird, faces off against Zokor, a smaller subterranean animal that uses shallow foraging tunnels to find roots, bulbs, and grasses. In the Anlung Pring Sarus Crane Conservation Area in south Cambodia, can you guess which combatant has home habitat advantage? As Zokor emerges from the ground in a strange land, Crane moves over to investigate the ruckus. Crane uses its bill to try and snatch a quick meal, as Zokor tries to dive back into its burrow ... but Zokor is not fast enough. SARUS CRANE stabs Zokor!!! Narrated by Asia Murphy.
Wolverine (8) v. Lynx (9) - The largest living terrestrial mustelid, Wolverine, faces the largest of the Lynx species in tonight's final battle in their common turf of the Sarek National Park in the Lapland region of Northern Sweden. Having brought down a reindeer, Lynx settles in for a meaty meal, when Wolverine awaits the opportunity to scavenge. Wolverine seems patient, perhaps waiting for Lynx to finish off the available muscle tissue, leaving the more inaccessible parts to Wolverine and its mighty dentition and skull. Research shows that these sympatric species avoid direct confrontation. Instead the outcome hinges on the third party interference from the Lynx's primary male rival! The two Lynx scream and howl at each other. Lynx decides to retreat but is pursued by his rival - the two fight, rolling over a snowy hill, until the rival's canines penetrate Lynx's skull. All lethal male aggression among lynx in Sarek occur in… MARCH! #Science. WOLVERINE lets another mammal do the dirty work and 'defeats' Lynx! Narrated by Katie Hinde.
Sports Summaries by Kate Lesciotto, Penn State
Florida Panther (2) v. Chytrid (15) - Panther, puma, cougar, or mountain lion - Puma concolor means lion-of-one-color, but their kittens have spots on their body and bands on their tail. For a non-mammal, the amphibian chytrid fungus packs quite a punch - chytrid has been implicated in the decline of hundreds of species of amphibians, including tree frogs, bullfrogs, toads, and salamanders. Florida Panthers (uekatcy), and their adorable floofy kittens, live on the traditional lands of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. This battle takes place in the Everglades National Park, home to both of our combatants. Carefully stalking a group of raccoons, Panther gives in the hunger and rushes the group, nabbing a raccoon that had nabbed a crayfish. The raccoon drops the crayfish, spilling its Chytrid infected guts. Panther ignores Chytrid to focus on its meaty raccoon meal. PANTHER leaves Chytrid to desiccate in the hot sun!! Narrated by Tara Chestnut.
Trumpeter Swan (4) v. Honeybee (13) - Tonight's battle at Wintergreen Lake at the WK Kellogg Biological Station Bird Sanctuary in Michigan brings together two scrappy fighters that are both used to being the underdog (under-bird? under-invertebrate? under-flyer??) Trumpeter swans are one of the heavier birds capable of flight (definitely not a #TinyTerror), have already fought back from the brink of extinction in the 1930s due to over-hunting, and are still negatively impacted by humans. Honeybees have also been fighting against population decimation, primarily due to colony collapse disorder. Right now, Honeybee and its hive are fighting against a low honey supply to feed the new brood, so Honeybee leaves the warmth of the hollow tree cavity in search of pollen and nectar. Trumpeter Swan's white feathers don't signal the presence of potential Honeybee food, unlike the bright or contrasting colors of flowers, so Honeybee flies right past, vacating the battlefield. TRUMPETER SWAN defeats Honeybee!! Narrated by Jessica Light.
Thylacine (3) v. Monarch Butterfly (14) - This battle takes place in Drysdale River National Park, in Western Australia. Thylacine, though now extinct, was once one of Australia's largest marsupial carnivores, but is thought to have been driven to extinction on mainland Australia in part due to dingo predation and/or competition. Blown off course by a cyclone, Monarch Butterfly finds itself in the unfamiliar Australian landscape searching for milkweed on which to lay its eggs. Landing on a nearby Ascelpias plant, Monarch hears a SWFARSHK as Thylacine ambushes a bandicoot. With the smell of death in the air, Monarch decides to make her nursery somewhere with a little less action. THYLACINE displaces Monarch Butterfly!! Narrated by Marc Kissel.
Common Cuttlefish (6) v. Bogue (11) - In another non-mammal match up, Bogue could have been a contender in the #DoubleTrouble division, as its scientific name is Boops boops ... wait, seriously? Okay Boops boops the Bogue has faced some serious human impacts due to over-fishing and microplastics. (Yelling off screen: Are we absolutely sure that Bogue is Boops boops? Cause that sounds made-up ... You're sure?) Bogue's opposition is the Common Cuttlefish - slightly more resilient to over fishing but still suffering from human impacts - in the temperate seas of the eastern Atlantic Ocean. As they find each other, both searching for a meal, Bogue notices that Cuttlefish is looking a bit worse for wear, with some flesh sloughing off in the water, but soon Bogue is shedding scales and flesh as Cuttlefish proves to be not so cuddly. Bogue darts in and out, taking quick bites but soon succumbs to the tornado of tentacles. COMMON CUTTLEFISH defeats Bogue!! Narrated by Josh Drew.
Australian Feral Camel (1) v. Face Mite (16) - One might ask, how does a camel become feral? After being transported from India, Afghanistan, Pakistan & KSA to explore the inner Australian desert and for use in establishing rail and telegraph lines, camels were untethered and told to make their own way in life, leading to over 1M feral camels by 2008. Face Mite also inhabits some strange land - human hair follicles! As the only human permanent ectoparasite, Face Mite (in colony of 1K-2K ON YOUR FACE) can keep you company during this time of social distancing. While you try to balance that thought with CDC instructions not to touch your face, this battle will begin at a cattle station in the Northern Territory of Australia. Some human camel jockeys are mustering up a sassy male Camel to train for the camel races, with one particular camel jockey carrying Face Mite into the field of battle in her eyelash follicle. Camel aims a well-timed spit into the face of the jockey as her goggles slip. While wiping away the spit, a small piece of bark in the camel's cud slashes the jockey's eyelid and impales Face Mite. AUSTRALIAN FERAL CAMEL defeats Face Mite!! Narrated by Katie Hinde.
California Condor (5) v. Little Brown Bat (12) - In another battle of the winged non-mammals, the Little Brown Bat is facing a dire future due to population collapses from white nose syndrome. But Bat will only have to face that future if he can survive facing California Condor - North America's largest and longest-lived bird. In Pinnacles National Park in California, Condor is soaring majestically near its cliffside cave nest, where his mate and nestling await his return to settle in for the night. As they settle, Condor hears a faint swoosh-swoosh and, in a startled defense, vomits his evening meal across the cave floor! Unfortunately for Bat, who had flown into the cave and then fallen to the floor, this Condor vomit is highly acidic. CALIFORNIA CONDOR's vomit burns Little Brown Bat out of the competition!!
Narrated by Alyson Brokaw.
House Cat (8) v. Chinchilla (9) - Evenly matched in size and floof, House Cat and Chincilla face off in the Women's Rights National Historic Site in Seneca Falls, New York, an urban site run by the National Park Service (and home of the 1848 first Women's Rights Convention!). Chinchilla is feeling a little exposed and looks for some cover ... POUNCE! Cat dives in, while Chinchilla tries to escape with its powerful hind legs. But its no use - Cat has a powerful grip with its dentition & jaws behind Chinchilla's head. HOUSE CAT enjoys a dinner of CHINCHILLA tartar!! Narrated by Patrice K. Connors.
Gopher Tortoise (7) v. Feral Pigeon (10) - Feral Pigeons are the wild ancestors of domesticated doves and rock pigeons and are a symbol of urban ecosystems. Because they eat so much human trash, Feral Pigeons are often full of antibiotic resistant bacteria! While pigeons may be an ecosystem symbol, Gopher Tortoises are ecosystem engineers, digging large underground burrows that also provide habitat for insects, plants, and other vertebrates. Our final pair of combatants meets in the Conecuh National Forest of Alabama. Tortoise finds a nice sunny spot to forage, not realizing that this spot is sunny because its the side of a highway and a large truck is speeding towards it only 5 miles away. Oblivious to the oncoming traffic, Pigeon spots some tasty looking invertebrates near Tortoise and decides to head over and assert some dominance. Tortoise pays no attention to Pigeon, but does pay attention to the roar of the oncoming truck. Pigeon quickly flies away, while Tortoise can only amble slowly. WHAM-SPLAT!! A puff of feathers erupts from the truck's grill as Tortoise crosses safely to the other side of the road. GOPHER TORTOISE outlasts Feral Pigeon!! Narrated by Brian Tanis.
WOW WHAT A NIGHT! Hog, Pudu, Raccoon Dog, Tree Hyrax, Kodkod, Island Fox, Hedgehog, & Squirrel ADVANCE!!!
Sports Summaries by Kate Lesciotto, Penn State
Pygmy Hog (1) v. Southern Ningaui (16) - In the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary in India, the Pygmy Hog, once thought to be extinct before being 'rediscovered' in 1971, faces the carnivorous marsupial Southern Ningaui, whose status may be in question following the recent Australian bushfires. As dawn breaks, Pygmy Hog snuffles through the grass searching for grubs. Nearby, the Southern Ningaui lunges at a centipede, carefully avoiding its venomous bite. Pygmy Hog's snuffles startle Ningaui, causing Ningaui to quickly grab its centipede meal and dart deeper into the grass. PYGMY HOG displaces Southern Ningaui!!! Narration by Tara Chestnut.
Pudu (2) v. Seba's Short-tailed Bat (15) - Weighing in at only 1/10 of a stoat, Seba's Short-tailed Bat is a true Tiny Terror, using both intimidation and boxing to defend its territory. The Pudu is packing some junk in its trunk, with shapely haunches, complimented by snazzy antlers - but these antlers aren't just for decoration. The Pudu is known to aggressively defend its territory and kill unwelcome intruders. These aggressive #TinyTerrors square off in the Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi in the Patagonian Andes. In this colder environment, Short-tailed Bat needs to find some fast food in the trees. The Pudu has a similar idea, but instead prefers a tapas style meal with a little bit of everything. Bending a bamboo shoot to delicately balance on, the Pudu reaches for some taller foliage. Short-tailed Bat had decided to use the nicely horizontal bamboo to catch a few quick zzzz's and lower its body temperature to adjust for the cooler climate... not expecting to become a flying projectile when Pudu jumps off the bamboo, sending Short-tailed Bat shooting through the air! PUDU catapults Seba's Short-tailed Bat off the battlefield!! Narration by Alyson Brokaw & Anne Hilborn.
Raccoon Dog (3) v. Northern Short-tailed Shrew (14) - The Raccoon Dog may be tiny, but it bears a mighty floof - its fur providing more insulation than that of an arctic fox! The tiny size of the Northern Short-tailed Shrew means that it is always searching for its next meal in order to keep up with its high metabolic rate. This search is easier since the Short-tailed Shrew is one of the few "venomous" mammals - they secrete a toxic saliva from glands near their incisors to paralyze their prey. In the wet forests of Japan on the outskirts of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, the Raccoon Dog sniffs out the unfamiliar pungent odor of the Short-tailed Shrew. Lacking the manual dexterity of a true raccoon, Raccoon Dog instead probes the leaf litter with its snout ... CHOMP!! A momentary pause before Raccoon Dog emerges with the Short-tailed Shrew in its maw, both earning a meal and avoiding any damage. RACCOON DOG defeats Northern Short-tailed Shrew!! Narration by Brian Tanis.
Tree Hyrax (4) v. Bank Vole (13) - In this #TinyTerrors match-up of the chonky versus the smol, the Tree Hyrax is an absolute unit, tipping the scales at nearly 20 stoats (4.5 kg for non-stoat measures), while the Bank Vole is a mere 1/11 of a stoat (20 g). Bank Vole may be smol, but you have to respect a mammal that keeps a dedicated larder room in its burrow. This battle begins as many do - with foraging, this time in the Lama Forest Reserve in southern Benin in the early evening for these crepuscular (active at twilight) mammals. Bank Vole freezes in place hearing what "starts as a squeak...and then rises to a pig-like squeal and finally to a child-like scream." As the Tree Hyrax continues its call while descending from a nearby tree, Bank Vole quickly scurries away for a quieter meal. TREE HYRAX displaces Bank Vole!! Narration by Lara Durgavich
Kodkod (5) v. Least Chipmunk (12) - The smollest felid faces the smollest chipmunk in this battle in the Valdivian rainforest of southern Chile. Our kitty Kodkod is relaxing on a branch between nighttime activity bouts to see a smol climbing rodent. Least Chipmunk freezes on the nearby tree trunk, while Kodkod does the pre-attack kitty shimmy ... and then leaps as Least Chipmunk dives into a tree hollow. CURSES!! This tree hollow is too shallow and Kodkod manages to hook a claw into Least Chipmunk's hide. KODKOD scarfs down Least Chipmunk!!! Narration by Katie Hinde.
Island Fox (6) v. Gray-bellied Caenolestid (11) - The Caenolestid, or Shrew Opossum, finds itself on Santa Cruz Island, home of the Island Fox. While not lured there with a bait mix of peanut butter, oatmeal, raisins, and bacon, Shrew Opossum is delighted at all of the available insects to eat. While Shrew Opossum is tracking insects, Island Fox is tracking Shrew Opossum, and a raptor flies overhead tracking...something. Island Fox populations had nearly been eliminated by invasive Golden Eagles attacked to the Channel Islands invasive piglets. The raptor dives, talons out ... SPLASH! Ah, this is a bald eagle, not a golden eagle because after golden eagles were removed from the island, bald eagles returned are more interested in fish than fox. With the eagle occupied, Island Fox completes a caenolestid hunt. ISLAND FOX snacks on Gray-Bellied Caenolestid aka Shrew Opossum. Narration by Marc Kissel.
Southern African Hedgehog (7) v. Collared Pika (10) - Another floofy entry in the #TinyTerrors, the Collared Pika is an expert at conserving heat in cold environments, but less of an expert at producing lightning or fitting into Poke balls #PikaNotPokemon. The Southern African Hedgehog is less floofy and more spiny, with hair that has been modified to sharp spines. Hedgehog is at home in Sehlabathebe National Park in Lesotho, but Pika quickly overheats as it starts to gather a food cache. Desperate to get out of the sun and heat, Pika scampers towards shelter but stumbles over Hedgehog. Pika dives into a nearby burrow, but gets stuck in a too narrow burrow entry! Pika is eventually able to squeeze through, escaping the heat, hedgehog and MMM. HEDGEHOG for the win!! Narration by Jo Varner ad Patrice Conners.
Finlayson's Squirrel (8) v. Kowari (9) - Our final battle of the night takes place in Khao Yai National Park in Thailand, and the marsupial Kowari is out of sorts in this dense forest. High-tailing it into a nearby tree, Kowari remembers that it often eats rodents ... and squirrels are rodents ... but this Finlayson's Squirrel lets out an alarm call, giving Kowari pause as it ponders the edibility of this particular squirrel. Kowari decides to give it a go and jumps at Finlayson's Squirrel, but is intercepted by a raptor- the Shikra- and is rather unceremoniously carried off the battlefield. FINLAYSON'S SQUIRREL for the win!! Narration by Jessica Light
Round 1 Tiny Terrors Division - Pygmy Hog, Pudu, Raccoon Dog, Tree Hyrax, Island Fox, Kodkod, Southern African Hedgehog, and Finlayson's Squirrel ADVANCE!!
Summary by Kate Lesciotto, Penn State
Sloth Bear (1) v. Pygmy Spotted Skunk (16) - The battles start off with both Sloth Bear and Skunk repping Team Dogs-ish. Set in the Hadagarh Wildlife Sanctuary in India, Sloth Bear uses its large forefeet to rip into a termite mound for an evening meal, while Skunk tries to find a tree in this unfamiliar landscape for a nap. Skunk is startled awake and uses its standard handstand threat display as Sloth Bear starts to tear into the tree looking for some more tasty niblets for this insect-eating (myrmecophagous) bear. Unfortunately, Skunk hasn't had sufficient time to recharge its spray after depleting its supply during the Wild Card battle! Sloth Bear is unimpressed by Skunk's handstands and continues foraging, while Skunk slinks off the battlefield to hopefully spray another day. SLOTH BEAR for the win!!
Brown Hyena (3) v. Solongoi (14) - The Cats-ish Hyena squares off the much smaller Dogs-ish Solongoi in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana. As Hyena steals a meal from some local cheetahs, Solongoi wakes up far from his Siberian home. The unfamiliar landscape and a belly rumbling with hunger draw Solongoi towards the smell of the fresh kill. Confused by this uninvited dinner guest, Hyena approaches. As a defense, Solongoi continues the legacy of the Pygmy Spotted Skunk by releasing a powerful odor from his anal glands - however, Hyena is unfazed and continues his approach. Out of options, Solongoi dives into a nearby termite mound and vacates the battlefield. BROWN HYENA for the win!! #SoLongGuy
European Badger (5) v. Giant Forest Genet (12) - This battle takes place in the Chaux d'Abel in the Swiss Jura Mountains - home of the Dogs-ish European Badger, who has claws designed for digging and isn't afraid to use them after dropping some winter weight becoming a lean mean thirteen kilograms. This Cats-ish "Giant" Forest Genet only weighs ~3 kg and is only a few inches longer than the common genet. Not designed for this environment, the Genet's surface-to-mass ratio is causing rapid heat loss - perhaps this chill caused a momentary lack of awareness as Genet stumbles directly into Badger's path! Sidebar - did you know that the Chaux d'Abel Badgers are notable for their high consumption of mammals? CHOMP!! EUROPEAN BADGER for the win!!!
Caspian Seal (2) v. Common Kusimanse (15) - Seal lounges on the shore of the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan, sleeping off a recent meal of herring (and pollution that has collected in the landlocked Caspian Sea) with a bit of a cold. Seal's stuffy nose may be to blame for Seal not sniffing the approach of Kusimanse, as she trots along happily scent marking this new territory. Seal lumbers towards this invader, coughing up some blood as a result of potential heavy metal poisoning. Seizing the day, Kusimanse strikes by seizing a chunk of Seal's neck! The blow fails to deliver much immediate damage, but the Caspian Seal is actually deteriorating from canine distemper- disease transmission has caused thousands of seal deaths. The exertion of the battle is too much and the seal perishes. KUSIMANSE for the major upset win!!!
African Civet (4) v. Kinkajou (13) - In the Bateke Plateau National Park in Gabon, the African Civet feels right at home snacking on millipedes and centipedes. Drawn by the sweet smell of figs, Kinkajou forgets to be timid in this new environment and lands 10 feet in front of Civet! Civet was also drawn by the figs and instantly raises up in a bluff, which includes raising its hair into a 4 inch mohawk down its back. Intimidated, Kinkajou abandons the fig buffet and climbs into the canopy. AFRICAN CIVET for the win!!
Fossa (6) v. Greater Grison (11) - In the continuing representation of mammals that can totally bring the 'funk', the Dogs-ish Greater Grison is packing some serious anal glands and can spray a delightful yellowish/green musk. The battle occurs in Cats-ish Fossa's home turf in the Masoala-Makira protected area in Madagascar. Grison is happily scent-marking its new turf, blissfully unaware that it is being tracked by Fossa from above. The Grison is unfamiliar, but does resemble a tasty niblet that Fossa is very familiar with - the indri! Already tasting its next meal, Fossa strikes from above with a kill bite to Grison's skull. FOSSA for the win!!
Tayra (7) v. Falanouc (10) - The Dogs-ish Tayra (common throughout Central and South America) faces off against Cats-ish Falanouc (the rarer and shyer of the pair, found only in Madagascar) at the La Selva Biological Station in Northern Costa Rica. The Tayra has both looks and brains, at a hulky 30.7 stoats and with the smarts to have stashed some plantains while waiting for them to ripen. Still sleepy and disoriented, Falanouc is faced with the territorial growl of Tayra who will defend his plantains. Falanouc's fight-or-flight-response lands squarely in the flight column, and he cedes the battle to Tayra. TAYRA for the win!!
Red Panda (8) v. Spotted Linsang (9) - Tonight's final battle takes place in the shared habitat of both Red Panda and Spotted Linsang - the Potatoso National Park in the Yunnan province of China. Red Panda settles in for a bamboo salad, while Linsang stalks a nearby Tibetan dwarf hamster. The hamster makes a quick move, but Linsang gives chase ... right into Red Panda who strikes with semi-retractable claws! Linsang saves most of its tail but leaves Red Panda in peace. RED PANDA for the win!!!
Tonight's Wild-Card Round featured Grandider's "Mongoose" #TeamCatsish vs. the Pygmy Spotted Skunk – #Team Dogsish. Grandider's "Mongoose" won the coin-toss to gain home habitat advantage, landing the Pygmy Spotted Skunk far from Mexico in the dry, spiny tropical forest and shrubland of Tsimanampetsotsa Reserve in Madagascar, home to the iconic baobab tree.
Both combatants trotted about as they nocturnally foraged for small invertebrates. Insects and millipedes for Skunk, and cockroaches for Mongoose. Grandider's "Mongoose” cornered a giant Hissing Madagascan Cockroach, chomping down with crushing teeth but not before the hissing so scared the skunk she stunk the scene up! Eyes burning from the chemical defense of the skunk, Grandidier's "Mongoose" darted away, quitting the field of battle!