15 Animal Documentaries You Can Find on Your Favorite Streaming Services Right Now
Animal documentaries are bigger and better than they've ever been. With new technology, documentarians are able to film wildlife in the dark, in brighter colors, and with impressive narration (cue Morgan Freeman). The storylines are as enthralling as any Oscar-nominated indie film, and you might actually learn something in the process.
It might even be considered a rest for your brain. With news of global warming pulsing on our phones every day, movies like "My Octopus Teacher" may be called a "meditative experience" for a reason. Watching nature on TV can actually boost your mood, reduce negative emotions, and "help alleviate the kind of boredom associated with being isolated indoors," according to research conducted by the University of Exeter. Learning about nature is thought to humble us and help us see the bigger picture rather than ruminate on petty stresses. In a different study, researchers found that there was a distinct uptick in "feelings of awe, curiosity, joy and amazement and reduced feelings of anger, stress, low energy and tiredness" from watching nature documentaries.
So if you're mindlessly scrolling through the streaming menu, try out one of the many wonderful animal documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. Keep reading for a list of 15 options that will transport you from the far reaches of the deep ocean to the drought of the desert.
— Additional reporting by Melanie Whyte
Mala has been born into a family of kangaroos. During the first 12 months of life, she'll learn everything she needs to survive. But during the journey, she'll face many obstacles — including a few run-ins with dingoes. Thankfully, her mom is there to protect her.
"Our Great National Parks"
Narrated by former President Barack Obama, this doc walks you through some of the most spectacular US National Parks, including the creatures and critters who've made a home in them.
"Surviving Paradise: A Family Tale"
Narrated by Regé-Jean Page, "Surviving Paradise: A Family Tale" explores the Okavango Delta, home to one of Africa's greatest concentrations of wildlife. The drama centers on the worsening dry season in the Kalahari Desert leaving prides, packs, and herds to rely on the power of family to survive.
"Life in Color With David Attenborough"
David Attenborough narrates "Life in Color" to reveal a world that's long been hidden by our eyes with colors so bold and brilliant, they dazzle the senses. Using innovative technology, we get to see the perspective of animals who use color to survive and thrive in the wild.
Is your dog your best friend? If so (or even if not), prepare to have your heart warmed by "Dogs," a two-season docuseries about the relationships between dogs and their owners.
Want to watch a humorous docuseries that introduces you to animals you probably haven't heard of before? "Absurd Planet" is the perfect fit. Learn about monkeys, frogs, penguins, and more — and all the wonderfully weird things they do.
"Animal Babies: First Year on Earth"
Baby animals are the only creatures cuter than adult animals. "Animal Babies: First Year on Earth" is about six baby animals as they take on the challenges of surviving in the wild.
"Night on Earth"
New technology allows us to see animals in a completely new light: after dark. In "Night on Earth," watch the world transform when the sun goes down, from lions on the hunt to bats on the wing.
"72 Cutest Animals"
A documentary specifically about the cutest animals?! Yes, please! Watch these precious animals and learn about how their attractiveness helps them survive in "72 Cutest Animals."
Narrated by Morgan Freeman, "Our Universe" is a six-part docuseries that tells the remarkable story of our universe over billions of years and its link to life on Earth.
We especially appreciate animal documentaries that talk about climate change, and "Our Planet" does just that. Covering a variety of environments from frozen worlds and jungles to the high seas, this docuseries talks about how climate change affects living creatures.
Thought-provoking "Seasons" explores European forest life after the last Ice Age. Using real animal footage, it explains how the lives of animals and humans have been connected for a very long time.