Saving the Sabretooth
ToxodonTwo Toxodon seen swimming in the episode
Episode information
Episode no. : 4
Broadcast : 12 August 2006
Chronological information
Preceding episode
Following episode
The Bug House
User reviews
Your opinion : Saving the Sabretooth/User Reviews
Saving the Sabretooth is the fourth episode of Prehistoric Park. On the DVD, it is the first episode on Disk 2. It is also only episode to be set in the Southern Hemisphere, although others were filmed there. The episode originally aired on 12 August 2006.

Summary Edit

In this episode, Nigel travels back to Pleistocene South America to rescue the infamous Smilodon as well as a Terror bird. He will encounter strange creatures and determine why the most famous prehistoric mammal predator went extinct.

Complete Synopsis Edit

Nigel is shown walking with a captive cheetah. He comments that specialization has threatened the cheetah, and later that it may have wiped out the Smilodon. In the park, the titanosaurs break their fence and have to be let wander around the park. They go towards the park's main gates. Bob follows one in a tractor. During this, he shouts at a titanosaur "Get back, you great lummox!" To his disgust it discharges runny smelly feces in front of him: its gut clearly does not like some of the modern vegetation. At the same time, Nigel radios to Bob that he will need a birdcage for a bird standing 10 feet high, but due to tractor engine noise and Titanosaur noise, Bob only hears part of the message, and provides an ordinary parakeet-sized birdcage. Nigel explains to Bob what is needed.

Nigel goes through the time portal to South America 1 million years ago when the sabre-tooth species known as Smilodon were in their prime (they recently entered South America after the Panama land bridge formed), but the terror birds (Phorusrhacids) were dying out; before that South America had been cut off from the other continents for 30 million years. He drives through a moving herd of Toxodon; he follows them to find where they were going, and he sees that they were going to water to swim or wallow in: he sees that they lived like hippopotamuses, and thus may be dangerous like hippos. A huge male Toxodon chases Nigel's Jeep, and he has to drive fast and far before it gives up the chase.

In the park the female Ornithomimus had laid more eggs. Two of them have rolled out of the nest and she leaves them there, so Susanne must rescue them for artificial incubation, as all those eggs are precious. Susanne stalks up to them and picks them up; the Ornithomimus does not chase but demonstrates. Bob puts the 2 eggs in an incubator at 33 °C, as this is best temperature for crocodile and ostrich eggs.

On site, Nigel sees a female Smilodon stalk a Toxodon. It lunges forward, jumping on the head of the Toxodon and biting its throat to kill it. More Smilodon come, including some six to eight week old cubs. While waiting, Nigel has a coffee and the Smilodon eat their fill before leaving. A Phorusrhacos starts to eat from the carcass. Another Smilodon appears and chases it away, forcing it to drop a lump of meat which it had pulled off. That sort of pressure is why the Phorusrhacos were dying out. Nigel stalks up to that dropped piece of meat and picks it up. The Smilodon on the kill growls at him but does not charge. Nigel tows the piece of meat behind his Jeep, enticing the Phorusrhacos to chase it through the time portal and into the park.

In the park, the eggs incubated by the Ornithomimus hatch and the resulting young run about (the first baby dinosaurs for 65 million years), but the two eggs in the incubator do not hatch. The young Ornithomimus are covered in downy feathers.

Accompanied by big cat expert Saba Douglas-Hamilton, Nigel goes through the time portal to South America in 10,000 BC when the sabertooth species were dying out. They find a drier climate and no big game. Nigel and Saba separate, on foot. Saba hears animals' alarm cries, but Nigel finds nothing.

Saba finds a deposit of fresh Smilodon faeces. She pulls it apart with a knife and fork and finds that it is full of hair and bone and bits of animal hide, as if hunger had forced the Smilodon to scavenge old remains of carcasses.

Nigel hears vegetation noise from an animal near him. He finds, catches and releases an ordinary modern-type armadillo and remarks that a million years earlier there were giant armadillos about.

Saba later finds something in the grass; sadly, it is a dead Smilodon cub. Nigel cannot find any signs of ill health and realises that the cub must have died from starvation. This has at least given them a hint. A female Smilodon cannot be far away. However, she must be in very poor condition.

Nigel has a video camera with a movement detector: he leaves it overnight watching over a trail. In the morning he plays it back and finds that a male Smilodon had investigated it and knocked it over, urinated on it and left a musky mammal smell.

Saba watches the female Smilodon hunting. It sees her and confronts her. She backs off. Nigel meets Saba. Due to lack of prey the female Smilodon is hunting unsuitably light fast prey, a deer : when she charges, the deer runs away easily. Later they see her suckling a live cub, but she is making little or no milk for it. A male Smilodon turns up: there is risk that it will kill the cub to bring its mother into oestrus sooner. In the Jeep they anesthetic-dart the male Smilodon and start to wait 10 minutes while the dart drug works. The Smilodon charges out of bushes and jumps on the front of the Jeep; they back off.

In the park the men have finished building a partition across the Tyrannosaurus enclosure, and put a Tyrannosaurus on each side. Matilda keeps threatening Terence but now cannot reach him.

Sabrina the Smilodon in South America 10,000 years ago

On site, they find the male Smilodon and load it up on the back of the Jeep. Then they go for the female, planning to anaesthetic-dart her and load her and her cub. When they reach her, the cub has starved to death. The female Smilodon is badly underweight from trying to lactate on too little food, and is dying as well, so Saba anaesthetic darts the female Smilodon. A little while later, Nigel and Saba load the female into the Jeep, but both are upset that the cub could not be saved.

The two Ornithomimus eggs in the incubator hatch, late but successfully: Bob guesses that the incubator's temperature had been set a little too low. The two resulting hatchlings see Bob and imprint on him, thinking that he is their mother and follow him about. They eat food pellets out of his hand.

With good food and no need to lactate, the two Smilodon and the Phorusrhacos recover from their hunger over the next fortnight. However, tensions remain high, as Matilda's increasingly aggressive behaviour could spell danger for the Park.

Species Seen:

  1. Smilodon
  2. Phorusrhacos
  3. Toxodon
  4. Red Brocket
  5. Nine Banded Armadillo
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