Steve's Herpetological Blog

An insight into the life of Steve, his research and the many books he reads


#SteveReviews: Into The Forest

First off, apologies for the patchy frequency of blog posts recently. I have only just returned to the field and I had a mad period of getting ready to get back out and chase snakes. I’ll tell you more about this come Friday for this week’s #SciFri so keep an eye out. Something a number of you may have noticed is that my reviews have been heavily Netflix biased, despite the fact other streaming services are out there. So, I recently checked out what was on Amazon Prime Video and was I in for a surprise! I’ve never really got on with Prime Video as I’d have expected Amazon to have produced a dedicated front-end but instead it’s a bit clunky and hard to navigate. Ignore that for the moment as I finally found a herpetological documentary!

Into The Forest: Reptiles and Amphibians is the kind of nature documentary I’ve always wanted to make. Find an area of habitat that’s protected and managed for wildlife, showcase the amphibians and reptiles in that habitat and finally display the interconnectedness of the ecosystem. In this case, the habitat used is a forest in southern Germany giving you the ability to feature a number of additional amphibian and reptile species not found in the UK. Into The Forest: Reptiles and Amphibians takes place throughout the year following the life-cycles of a number of species, focussing mainly on amphibians such as fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra), common toads (Bufo bufo) and alpine newts (Ichthyosaura alpestris).

There is some very impressive macro photography within the documentary and promotes a positive attitude towards snakes, something which made me smile. It’s great to see that they aren’t being sensationalised. There is no doubt that some of this is has been undertaken in a photographic aquarium, but the number of in-situ shots heavily outnumber them. The cinematography, the score and the narration all tie this together to make Into The Forest: Reptiles and Amphibians a highly enjoyable documentary for everyone (especially if you have an affinity for reptiles and amphibians.

Finally, towards the end of the documentary there is a very stark reminder of the potential effects of Bsal (the salamander chytrid fungus) in Europe and the rest of the world. It’s great to see a conservation message alongside some factual filmography which is something that is often missing from larger productions. As you can probably tell, I’d very much recommend Bryan Maltais’s masterpiece and I’m jealous that I wasn’t the one to bring it all together.

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