An iguana's nail-biting escape from a band of snakes has become one of the most memorable scenes from the first episode of Planet Earth II. Since it aired viewers have been discussing the chase online, with the Twitter hashtag #TeamIguana gaining momentum.
The footage of the marine iguana hatchlings was filmed on Fernandina Island in the Galapagos. Elizabeth White, the producer of the Islands episode, discussed the scene at a conference ahead of the release of the series.
"We knew snakes hunt hatchlings but filmed before it was a single snake ambushing a hatchling as it went to the sea," she said. "We were standing on the beach a few days after arriving and we'd seen a couple of hatchlings. We were watching as a hatchling popped his head out of the sand and it ran towards the rocks and we all turned – the rocks were 20m away – and the wall just turned into a wall of snakes. And the cameraman started filming."
In the scene, an iguana emerges from the sand to make its journey to the safety of the rocks on the coast of the island. As it begins to move, racer snakes begin their approach, with more and more making chase as other hatchlings crawl from their nests.
"As they make their journey they are hunted by Galapagos racer snakes that emerge from the rocks like a medusa's head – all slithering and racing to capture the hatchling. They catch it, wrap around it and swallow it whole. I've never seen anything like it. It's like something from a horror film.
"I don't have a phobia of snakes, but I spent half the shoot with my hands in front of my eyes, willing the poor hatchlings to escape. Thankfully some did make it to the sea," White said. And one iguana in particular had the luckiest escape, managing to squirm from the grips of the snake and reach the rocks.
While Hans Zimmer provided the original score, Twitter users have provided their own musical accompaniment. Watch below.