Is there anything better than kicking back with a nature doco? Especially one voiced by you-know-who? Jannico’s a wildlife lover and environmental scientist, and he’s shared the free nature and animal documentaries he enjoys when he’s not out there.
Looking for adventure documentaries? Here are 50 of our favourites
1. The Life of the Greater Horseshoe Bat
An awesome film shot mostly in infrared with what seems like motion-activated cameras. My favourite bit is the pitch-shifted bat vocalisations as they fly by. There’s some fantastic footage at 15:55.
2. The Wait
If you enjoy wildlife photography this story will resonate with you hard. The premise is: dude wants to photograph bison, turns out, it’s really hard.
3. A Wild Canadian Lynx And A Cameraman Develop An Amazing Relationship
A behind the scenes short where a cameraman tracks a wild Canadian lynx as it attempts to take down a snowshoe hare. This is peak behind the scenes content. I can’t imagine getting this close to a large carnivore and watching it hunt next to me. Absolutely wild.
4. Chasing Ghosts
No, this isn’t about snow leopards, or ghost bats or Sumatran tigers. It’s about a moth and an orchid. If you love wildlife and nerd out on finding critters, swamps, plants and moths, this is for you. Honestly this film is top-tier for the wildlife photography nerd. It’s over-the-top (in a good way) and I love it.
A short film by Harrison Warne on the threatened frogs of alpine Australia (yep Australia has alpine) and the damage that invasive horses cause. This is Harrison’s second short film and it’s pretty ballin’.
6. Life in the Wet. A Frogumentary
Another by Harrison Warne on the threatened frogs of the wet tropics in Far North Queensland.
7. A Voice Above Nature
Doooooo yoouuuuuuuuu liiiiiiiiiiikeeeeeeee whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaales? Theeeeeeeeeennnn tryyyyyyy thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis docuuuumeeeeeeeeeeentaryyyyyyy.
Jumping peacock spiders and the garbage man. Need I say more? I can’t really say more, because I haven’t watched it yet. But my mate Alex Pike reckons it’s pretty good.
9. Stick-nest Rats – As cool a rat as you can get!
This short clip is short. So you should watch it. It’s about the greater stick nest rat, a threatened species from arid Australia. Beware this clip peaks early at 6 seconds with some fantastic finger guns from my mate Nathan Beerkens.
10. Forgotten but not Gone: The Pacific Fisher
If my time camera-trapping quolls around Australia has taught me anything. It’s that medium-sized carnivores are clearly superior to any other animal. So watch this film on Pacific Fishers (another medium-sized carnivore) and how the law has failed to protect them due to lobbyists (corruption).
11. Chasing a Trace
This film follows wildlife scientist, Mirjam Barrueto on her quest to find elusive female wolverines in the mountains of Canada’s west.
Her camera and hair-trap setups in the remote wilderness are god damn cool and this film is worth watching just for that. Watching how far some scientists will go is badass.
12. One Breath Around the World
This short film has some fantastic videography, features superhuman freakishness and sperm whales.
13. Lens of Time: Huddle Masters
Antarctica looks bloody cold, but you can watch a story about penguins and climate change from your warm snuggly bed.
14. Owls on the Line
Filmed by my mate Cesar Puechmarin at Blue Shroom Studios. This film covers a local issue in my home town! In 2018/19 a local developer wanted to put a zipline through a protected area that’s home to some of the last Powerful Owls in the region.
P.S. The development has been canned due to local pressure and the sheer fact that it was bullshit. Huzzah!
15. To Find a Harpy
This is an animal-quest documentary. I don’t know anything about harpy eagles and if they’re hard to see, but it doesn’t matter. Natasha, a math nerd, is putting in the hard yards to find one of these rare and giant raptors.
16. Mexican Fishing Bats
Do you miss tacos, cocktails, tequila, cheap narcotics and sombreros? Well this is not the film for you! If you enjoy cute bats (they go fishing!) and cool science, then press play.
Say, yes to bats, and kinda to narcotics!
17. Extraordinary Journey to Photograph the Javan Rhino
The name says it all folks. Except that Javan rhinos are rarer than hens teeth and occur only in one national park in Indonesia and where they’re rarely seen!
18. The Hopeful Story of a Doomed Fox
A cool short film on the conservation of the Island Fox. I’ve never really got into NPR until now and I’ll be watching more of their content. They do a great job of explaining how everything is connected (no hippy vibes though).
19. Wolf Pack
A BBC animal documentary on the famous Druid Wolf Pack. I haven’t seen this yet, but my friend Grace Hornstra said it is ‘dope-ass’ and, despite knowing Grace, I believe her.
20. A Man Among Wolves
Ok, this just looks ridiculous. But yet again, it got an astounding ‘dope-ass’ review from Grace. A dude living with wolves! What could go wrong? Watch and find out.
21. Living with Wolves
The last of Grace’s recommendations. Her review: ‘two weird middle-aged white people who are quaint, actually-qualified and educated, decide to raise a wolf pack and do some conservation ‘science’.
A film by Emmanuel Rondeau, easily one of the best wildlife photographers in the world right now (look at his camera-trap work and tell me otherwise). Emmanual, Rewilding Europe and WWF Romania created this short documentary on the reintroduction of Bison to Romania.
23. The Last Highland Tiger
When I think ‘Scottish Highlands’, the last thing I think about is large (well, medium) carnivores. But scientists in the Highlands are desperately trying to protect the last Scottish wildcats. Once again, domestic cats and humans are doing their best to screw it up for everyone.
24. Anaiyyun – Prayer for the Whale
Part of National Geographic’s short film showcase, Anaiyyun – Prayer for the Whale allows you to get a glimpse of life in the Arctic Circle and what it is to hunt whales traditionally.
Part of National Geographic’s 2016 short film showcase. Artique dives into what it takes to photograph wildlife in the Arctic circle. Newsflash: it looks hard but it’s goddamn cool.
26. My Dream of the White Wolf | A 50 day photo expedition
I started watching this the other night after I typed the majority of this list. It features Arctic Wolves, so safe to say that it deserves its place here.