Through five consecutive weeks of one-hour specials, WILD WEDNESDAYS will span the globe in search of elusive sharks, mighty lizard kings, viper queens, killer hornets and desert lions. Traveling from tropical waters and volcanic islands to stark deserts and steamy jungles, each hour will investigate some of the world’s fiercest and most iconic apex predators while unraveling the mysteries behind their behavior.
HUNTING THE HAMMERHEAD kicks off the new WILD WEDNESDAYS block on July 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, as Smithsonian Channel heads to Bimini in the Bahamas for the large and elusive predator, the great hammerhead shark, which rises from the depths en masse during certain months each year to hunt its favorite prey: venomous stingrays. Smithsonian Channel joins shark expert and sensory biologist Dr. Craig O’Connell on a mission to understand the mysterious creature’s killer tactics and capture this unique feeding event on film by deploying his revolutionary “RoboRay,” a remote controlled stingray, complete with on-board camera.
Go wild with four additional premieres on WILD WEDNESDAYS in July and August:
Premieres Wednesday, July 20th at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Deep in the remote basin of the Pacific Ocean, dragons still roam in a Jurassic type underworld located in “The Ring of Fire,” where a string of 452 volcanoes erupt from the ocean bed. The ruthless environment helped to forge the Komodo Dragons, the largest living lizards on the planet, with 34 million years of survival in their DNA. Armored in claws and scales, these stealthy reptiles are ancient gladiators with deadly venom in every bite. On the hunt, they can run up to 23 miles per hour. But this apex warrior is also clinging to survival: only about 5,000 Komodo Dragons still exist. DRAGON ISLAND takes viewers onto Komodo Island for a glimpse of a mighty young creature, Drogo, who has overthrown the old king and must fight to hold onto his supremacy throughout the brawling season. Cameras capture Drogo as he feeds, breeds and fights for survival.
Premieres Wednesday, July 27th at 8 p.m. ET/PT
From the stark American Wild West, to steamy jungles in the heart of Africa, old and new world orders of vipers have merged to create a super-family of snakes. Within their ranks, some have adapted specific skills. VIPER QUEENS travels the world to present an intimate look at three different forms of these iconic, coldblooded killers in extreme, contrasting landscapes. Velvet, an African Gaboon viper, or adder, can wait motionless for months at a time, and then unleash a sudden, powerful attack. Armed with fangs that grow up to two inches long, Gaboon vipers not only have the longest snake fangs in the world, they’re also the largest and heaviest viper species. Therma, a Western Diamondback rattler, displays a familiar rattle warning as her first line of defense. She’s a new-world pit viper, equipped with an early warning system and thermal imaging abilities. Aries, the Puff adder, belongs to a group of formidable killers who are adaptable and hardy, able to spread themselves throughout Africa and Arabia, occupying one of the widest distributions of all viper species. Masters of disguise, their skin comes in a range of color variations, sometimes making them hard to identify, except for one distinguishable feature: the chevron markings on their backs.
KILLER HORNET SWARM
Premieres Wednesday, August 3rd at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Summer is here…and with it comes a deadly invasion. These super-sized Samurais called Japanese Giant Killer Hornets are the size of a human thumb and they are packed with a cytotoxic venom that can cause anaphylactic shock – and even death. Their stinger is a quarter the size of their body and packs a punch like a Black Mamba. For Golden-Yellow Hornets, a species much smaller in size, the invasion of giants is a mortal threat. It takes 10 of them to take on a single giant, but they’ve evolved surprising strategies to help even the odds.
DESERT WARRIORS: LIONS OF THE NAMIB
Premieres Wednesday, August 10th at 8 p.m. ET/PT
In a merciless, desolate furnace, an unexpected predator endures. Equipped with exceptional survival skills, desert lions roam the Namib. But with so few remaining adult males, the small population is on the brink of extinction. A brotherhood of five youngsters, known as the “Musketeers,” holds the key to the future of their kind. Two years ago, an old female and her two daughters gave birth to a cohort of five male cubs and, despite the hardships of the desert, they have managed to raise them successfully. But soon the time will come for the five Musketeers to continue their lives independently when their mothers begin their search for one of the last remaining adult males. Faced with many unexpected challenges, the five young males need to conquer the oldest desert on Earth on their truly epic journey to adulthood.