A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this show brings viewers eye to eye with frightened wild animals who are cornered in unfamiliar territory and -- drawing on their basic survival instincts -- will stop at nothing to escape their would-be captors. The animals often become aggressive to the point of chasing humans or attempting to bite them, which may scare young viewers and might require some explanation for older kids. Although the show focuses on humane animal control and relocation, some of the professionals' tactics (such as using tranquilizer guns or shooting a bear with rubber slugs to scare it away) may seem harsh to kids, again requiring explanation and assurance of the animal's well-being.
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What's the story?
Have you ever wondered what you'd do if a raccoon family took up residence in your attic or you opened your kitchen door to find a bear rearranging the décor? For wildlife professionals, using humane techniques to capture and relocate animals who've strayed into populated areas is all in a day's work, although there's nothing routine about their jobs. THE ANIMAL EXTRACTORS teaches viewers about tools and processes the experts use to safely remove pesky critters and take them to more-appropriate habitats. In just one episode, for example, a 9-foot alligator was removed from a waterway near a community, a rattlesnake cornered in a woman's backyard was rescued and relocated, and a frightened raccoon was captured and taken out of a doctor's office.
Is it any good?
The show offers plenty of animal-centric action, adventure, and suspense and could likely both entertain and educate tweens and older kids. But parents should preview the content before approving it for viewers younger than that, as the behavior of both the animals and their rescuers can be confusing -- and more than a little scary -- without ample background information. Expect to answer questions about animals' aggressive survival instincts, like scratching, clawing, and biting. You may also need to explain some of the experts' techniques that might seem cruel at first glance, including the use of tranquilizer guns, tagging and tattooing wildlife for tracking purposes, and using young animals' cries to draw their mothers into the open for capture. Take the opportunity to remind kids about the hazards of approaching any strange animal, and take note -- although the show's focus is on humane animal removal, the topic of euthanasia occasionally arises (in cases where state law allows it).
On the positive side, The Animal Extractors encourages kids to think about the negative effect that the ever-growing human population has on the environment and wildlife. The show touches on the hazards of urban sprawl and humans' careless lifestyles, as well as the dwindling natural wildlife habitats -- all of which is good fodder for family discussion.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how wildlife is affected by urban (and suburban) sprawl. What happens to animals when homes are built in their natural habitat? Is that fair? What kinds of things do humans do that draw wildlife near? This discussion can lead to talking about endangered species. What does it mean when an animal is endangered? Finally, parents can remind kids why they should never approach a strange animal.
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