Lucy Cooke National Geographic

Lucy Cooke, a PUMA Creative Winner and good friend of Working Films has an upcoming National Geographic series titled “Freaks and Creeps” set to air on Tuesday July 17 at 10pm ET. Read her blog post below to learn more about the production and her adventures:

Tasmania is like a time machine. Its primeval forests team with living fossils that have followed a different evolutionary branch to most mammals. So for freak lovers like me it’s like hitting the jackpot.

My number one quarry is the echidna – an ancient termite-eating hedgehog with what can only be described as the world’s weirdest wedding tackle. Echidnas, along with the duck-billed platypus, are the last surviving monotremes – an early branch of mammals that still lay eggs like reptiles. But despite such ancestral behaviour these oddballs are remarkably successful and have been waddling the planet since the time of the dinosaurs.

To find one I’m hooking up with Dr. Stuart Rose who has devoted the last 25 years of his life to studying the sex life of this peculiar creature. We rendezvous on a farm in the north of Tasmania on a bright but blowy morning. Stuart is accompanied by a quartet of windswept young female research students all equipped with a great Australian sense of humour. I ask them whether it was the echidna’s extraordinary penis that attracted them to their work and they all nod. Apparently I will not be disappointed.

The Echidna’s on this farm have been radio-tagged to make them easier to study. They live for up to 45 years and Stuart has been following some individuals for over a decade. We first locate a female. It’s the breeding season right now and lady echidnas are rarely alone. The competition for sex is fierce and it’s not uncommon to witness the somewhat comical sight of a solitary female being stalked by a conga line of up to ten ardent suitors.

Click here to read the full blog post.

For more information and videos on the new series, visit their page on the National Geographic site.

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