Top 10 Bloodiest Moments From Planet Earth



Top 10 Bloodiest Moments From Planet Earth

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Michael Wynands.

It was the world's first nature documentary to be filmed in HD, and possibly the goriest. Welcome to, and today we'll be counting down the Top 10 Bloodiest Moments From Planet Earth.

For this list, we're looking at the goriest moments this 11-episode series had to offer. These moments might not always be explicitly “bloody”, but they are guaranteed to be shocking, graphic, and of a violent nature. Unfortunately, we have to say that animals were harmed in the making of this series.

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Script written by Michael Wynands.

Top 10 Bloodiest Moments in Planet Earth

It was the world’s first nature documentary to be filmed in HD, and possibly the goriest. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Bloodiest Moments from “Planet Earth.”

For this list, we’re looking at the goriest moments this 11-episode series had to offer. These moments might not always be explicitly “bloody”, but they are guaranteed to be shocking, graphic, and of a violent nature. Unfortunately, we have to say that animals were harmed in the making of this series.

#10: African Hunting Dogs Catch An Impala
“From Pole to Pole”

So, who’s hungry? These African hunting dogs certainly are. But if you’ve got a rare steak dinner in your near future, you might want to bookmark this video for later. Thanks to some dynamic camera work and David Attenborough’s masterful narration, this already tense hunt is transformed into a compelling tale of survival. And like many other great stories, it ends with a twist. Just when the central impala seems to have earned itself a stay of execution, we discover that one of its kin has fallen, off-camera. An overhead shot shows us the dead impala, with its gut torn open for all to see. The dogs gather around their fallen prey and rip into their impala tartare with gusto. It’s a bittersweet ending that doesn’t shy away from the gory details.

#9: Piranha Feeding Frenzy
“Fresh Water”

River tigers, spectacled caimans and piranhas… oh my! Forget about the forests of Oz… it’s the animal menagerie of the Pantanal wetland in Brazil you should really be worried about. During the wet season, these waters become a veritable hotbed of carnivorous aquatic life. The dorado, or “river tiger” snatches other fish with explosive bursts of speed, while caimans cruise the shores for larger prey. They’re both fearsome predators in their own right, but piranhas – swarming as a group – bloody the waters like few other species can. They create a cornucopia of carnage. Piranhas have received particularly outlandish treatment thanks to the Piranha film franchise, but as this Planet Earth moment shows us, exaggeration is totally unnecessary – piranhas are plenty terrifying already.

#8: Grizzly Bears Catching Salmon
“Fresh Water”

Most people have seen a fish being gutted before. It’s pretty gross, but it’s a quick procedure – especially compared to other forms of animal butchery out there. However, while grizzly bears have undeniably sharp claws, they don’t typically use them to make a clean incision, remove the guts, and then fry up the salmon with lemon and dill; they eat the fish whole. And while their fishing methods are quite captivating, their preferred method of preparing salmon ¬– whole, raw, and live – is nauseatingly reminiscent of dining with Gollum. Every aspect of this scene is fascinating, and the bears are honestly pretty cute. But when they finally dig in, it can be pretty stomach churning and gag inducing.

#7: A Lion Pride Attacks An Elephant At Night
“Great Plains”

You know what’s nice about the Lion King? We hear about “the circle of life”, but mostly get to skip over the part where Mufasa and company actually act it out. Because really, it would be pretty traumatizing to see Simba’s entire family chasing a terrified elephant through the bush at night. The fact that this particular scene was filmed in darkness, using night vision, just adds that perfect “Blair Witch” vibe; taking the entire scene from the run-of-the-mill “wildlife program” type of grisly, to downright nightmarish. The blackened eyes of these lions as they chow down on their prey – in a lightning storm, no less – makes for some seriously ghoulish imagery, and makes the gore all the more hard to swallow. Well, not for them obviously.

#6: Wolves Hunt Caribou
“Great Plains”

It’s never easy to watch animals hunt. It’s fascinating, but in today’s world, where we’ve done everything possible to distance the meat we consume from the cute creatures we see in cartoons and recreate as stuffed animals, it’s easy to trick ourselves into believing animals live in harmony. In the very real world of Planet Earth, however, interspecies hunting isn’t sugarcoated – it’s captured via breathtaking overhead camera shots, in all its Darwinian honesty. Animals don’t just hunt one another; they target the weakest and most vulnerable type of prey, which often means the young. As a mercy to viewers, the camera cuts away before blood is drawn. But as soon as the wolf catches this young caribou, the violence is implied.

#5: Fur Seals Go After King Penguins
“Shallow Seas”

Speaking of animals we often think of as cute and cuddly: if you haven’t seen Planet Earth in a few years, you’ve likely forgotten about this particular segment. Sure, seals eat fish – everyone knows that. If animated films have taught us anything, it’s that unless fish are the heroes of the story, you never anthropomorphize them or get attached to them – because they’re going to get eaten. But penguins?! One super cute animal brutally attacking another super cute animal? Talk about traumatizing. We don’t see blood, but there’s enough violence to make up for it. Can we switch back to videos of seals climbing into boats and making puppy dog eyes now? Awww… that’s better. Wait, NO! Why?!?!?!?!

#4: Nile Crocodiles Ambushing Wildebeest
“Fresh Water”

Life is hard for a wildebeest. Evil, power-hungry lions are always manipulating you and your herd, making you an accessory to murder in the process. Every time you try to get a drink of water, it could be your last. The force behind a crocodile’s jaws is tremendous, which, paired with the speed of its strike, makes for a truly devastating combination. A peaceful moment of refreshment at the watering hole can give way to sheer chaos in a matter of seconds. The flailing of limbs, the snapping of razor sharp teeth, the frantic scramble to safety – Planet Earth lets you soak in this picturesque whirlwind of panic; a moving painting in stunning slow-motion.

#3: Polar Bear Attacks Walrus Colony
“Ice Worlds”

It’s rare to feel sympathy for the predator while watching a hunt take place. But as a hungry polar bear makes a desperate move against a colony of walruses, your heart goes out to this particular carnivore in need. Maybe it’s the bleak picture of a polar bear’s existence as explored throughout the series. Maybe it’s seeing this polar bear slowly curl into a ball and give up, despite still being within reach of his prey. Whatever the reason, you feel for him: he just doesn’t seem capable of breaking through that thick skin. In the end, the blood that’s shed is his own – a devastating result of the sharp tusks with which his prey defended themselves.

#2: Cannibal Chimps

Planet of the Apes: it’s inspired fear of a coordinated chimp attack across the globe for decades, as cinemagoers have witnessed one monkey-dominated world after another with each franchise reboot. But nothing is more unnerving than discovering that chimps are already partaking in coordinated hunts – not against humans, but their own kind. It’s bad enough to see just how vicious and determined a group of monkeys can be when armed with fatal intent, but watching them eat a fellow chimp is truly chill inducing. Clearly, cannibalism is no less shocking in chimps than in humans. The lesson? Chimps might like to monkey around, but when it comes to figs, they’re all business. And those who stand between them and territorial expansion, pay in pounds of flesh – literally.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Puma “Digging In”

- Arctic Foxes Eat Baby Snow Geese
“Great Plains”

#1: Great White Shark
“Shallow Seas”

If there’s one scene from Planet Earth with lasting cultural significance, it’s this one. Even people involved in making the series have called it their most memorable moment. What wildlife program before this one could make carnage appear so breathtakingly beautiful? Slowed down 40 times, this great white shark leaping out of the water to catch a seal is nature’s equivalent to a car wreck – terrifying to behold, but impossible to look away from. This unforgettable scene has inspired countless imitators through similar scenes in shark-centric documentaries. It’s a true testament to the monumental influence Planet Earth has had on the world of animal videography, and the potential for wildlife documentaries to push the limits – even if it means getting bloody.

Do you agree with our list? Which scene of carnage from Planet Earth was your most memorable one? For more “grisly but cool” top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to