14 Best Animal Documentaries on Netflix (April 2024)

Exploring the natural world through captivating storytelling and breathtaking cinematography, Netflix offers a treasure trove of animal documentaries that both educate and inspire. From the depths of the ocean to the heart of the savannah, these documentaries provide an intimate glimpse into the lives of Earth’s most fascinating creatures. Whether you’re a wildlife enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a mesmerizing escape into the wild, this curated selection of the best animal documentaries on Netflix is your passport to a world of untamed beauty and awe-inspiring wildlife encounters. Join us on this virtual safari as we embark on a journey of discovery and appreciation for our planet’s incredible biodiversity.

14. Night on Earth (2020)

This 6-part limited nature documentary explores nature at night. Using cutting-edge low-light camera technology, the makers take us on a visually stunning exploration of the different forms of life against the starry skies. As we travel among forests, deserts, and seas, we see how animals, fishes, insects, and other organisms reveal a different side of them as the sun sets and join them in their respective expeditions. Narrated by Samira Wiley (English), ‘Night on Earth’ can be streamed here.

13. Wild Babies (2022)

This cuddly docuseries features baby animals from across the world born in different environments and have to learn their respective ways of life. Narrated by Academy Award nominee Helena Bonham Carter, ‘Wild Babies’ has eight episodes, each of around 30 minutes, and features a baby fur seal named Tabo, who hails from Namibia, a female lion cub named Kaya, who hails from South Africa; we have Mina, a baby Orangutan from Indonesia, Quito, a baby mongoose and Silver, an Arctic fox, among others. You can stream ‘Wild Babies’ here.

12. Life in Colour (2021)

This mini-series is directed by Adam Geiger and narrated by world-renowned biologist and natural historian David Attenborough. The 3-episode show delves deep into the colors present in nature as seen and perceived by animals. Using special cameras, we get to see different habits and the plant and animal life that inhabit them, along with their survival strategies. A nature documentary that won’t take much of your time, ‘Life in Colour’ is a must-watch. You can stream it here.

11. Life on Our Planet (2023)

Executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, ‘Life on Our Planet’ is an 8-episode docuseries that showcases the evolution of life since it first appeared on Earth till today. Spanning across all the geologic periods, it explores the numerous life forms, ranging from Tyrannosaurus and caterpillars to snow leopards and baboons. Each episode shows jumps to-and-fro between the past (CGI) and present (live footage videography). The narration has been done by Morgan Freeman. You can watch the series here.

10. The Elephant Whisperers (2022)

Under the directorial lens of Kartiki Gonsalves, ‘The Elephant Whisperers‘ unfolds the compelling tale of Bomman and Bellie, an indigenous couple entrusted with the care of an orphaned Indian elephant calf named Raghu. Faced with the daunting challenge of nurturing this fragile, injured infant to robust juvenility, the couple’s unwavering dedication is nothing short of remarkable. As they pour their hearts into Raghu’s well-being, a profound and unbreakable bond blossoms between them and the young elephant, revealing the extraordinary power of love and understanding in the realm of human-animal relationships. You may watch the film here.

9. Inside the Mind of a Cat (2022)

In the intriguing documentary ‘Inside the Mind of a Cat,’ cat experts embark on a fascinating exploration of feline cognition, unveiling the true abilities of our beloved pouncing pets. Directed by the talented Andy Mitchell, the film features Neil Wilson’s engaging narration. This captivating and cuddly journey delves into the intricate workings of a cat’s mind, offering viewers a profound understanding of their intelligence, instincts, and unique behaviors. Through insightful analysis and heartwarming moments, the documentary unveils the remarkable world of these enigmatic creatures, providing a delightful and enlightening experience for cat enthusiasts and curious minds alike. You can stream ‘Inside the Mind of a Cat’ here.

8. 72 Dangerous Animals: Latin America (2017)

’72 Dangerous Animals: Latin America’ is a thrilling wildlife documentary series that plunges into the perilous creatures inhabiting the diverse landscapes of Latin America. Narrated by dynamic wildlife enthusiast Bob Brisbane, the show takes viewers on an exhilarating journey through this vibrant region. Each episode is an adrenaline-pumping exploration of the continent’s most venomous, cunning, and formidable animals.

From the Amazon rainforest to the Andes Mountains, the series uncovers the dangerous predators and survival strategies that make Latin America’s wildlife so captivating and, at times, deadly. With stunning cinematography and expert insights, it’s a riveting look at the untamed creatures of this fascinating continent. You can stream the series here.

7. Chimp Empire (2023)

Under the direction of James Reed, ‘Chimp Empire‘ unfolds as a captivating Netflix television series featuring the mellifluous narration of Mahershala Ali. Set amidst the lush Ngogo rainforest, the series offers an intimate portrayal of rival chimpanzee groups. Specifically, ‘Chimp Empire’ focuses on the Ngogo chimpanzees, a record-breaking assemblage of these remarkable primates.

Throughout the series, viewers gain insight into the intricate social tapestry of the chimpanzee community, delving into their complex relationships, including the dynamics between males and females, parents and offspring, and the ever-present rivalries. Furthermore, the series delves into the challenges these chimpanzees confront, from competition for limited resources to the looming threat of poaching. You can check out the documentary series here.

6. The Hidden Lives of Pets (2022)

‘The Hidden Lives of Pets’ is an enlightening documentary that offers a captivating glimpse into the intriguing world of pets. Alongside these beloved animals are their human companions, who possess a remarkable ability to communicate and connect with them, fostering their well-being. From the viral dance moves of parrots that have garnered academic interest to rats mastering tiny cars in a laboratory, all while indulging in cereal treats, the documentary reveals the astonishing talents and behaviors of these domesticated creatures. Dogs showcase their empathetic nature, while bunnies and cats demonstrate their cleverness. This engaging narrative is brought to life by the soothing narration of Hugh Bonneville, known for his role as the patriarch in Downton Abbey. You may watch the film here.

5. The Ivory Game (2016)

‘The Ivory Game’ is an eye-opening wildlife documentary that exposes the dark underbelly of the illegal ivory trade, threatening the very existence of elephants. Directed by Richard Ladkani and Kief Davidson, the film takes viewers deep into the heart of Africa and China, unraveling a complex web of corruption, crime, and international intrigue. As brave activists and undercover intelligence operatives fight against poachers and trafficking syndicates, the documentary sheds light on the devastating impact of the ivory trade on elephant populations. Through intense investigative storytelling, ‘The Ivory Game’ highlights the urgent need for global awareness and collective action to save these majestic animals from extinction. You can stream it here.

4. Virunga (2014)

‘Virunga,’ directed by Orlando von Einsiedel, stands as a testament to the power of resilience and compassion in the face of adversity. Set against the stunning backdrop of Virunga National Park in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, this documentary unveils the courageous efforts of park rangers risking their lives to protect the last remaining mountain gorillas.

Through its gripping storytelling and breathtaking visuals, the film not only sheds light on the intricate lives of these majestic creatures but also exposes the harsh realities of conservation amid political conflict and corporate greed. ‘Virunga’ is more than a documentary; it’s a heart-wrenching journey that ignites empathy, making it a remarkable animal documentary that transcends the screen, leaving a profound impact on its viewers. You can stream the film here.

3. Our Great National Parks (2022)

‘Our Great National Parks’ is a captivating five-part Netflix documentary series that delves into the world’s renowned national parks and their diverse wildlife. Presented by former U.S. President Barack Obama, the series offers a mesmerizing exploration of these natural wonders. With stunning visuals and insightful narration, the show provides a deep understanding of the beauty, biodiversity, and significance of these parks, making it a must-watch for nature enthusiasts and conservation advocates. Feel free to check out the series here.

2. Absurd Planet (2020)

Absurd Planet Season 2

‘Absurd Planet’ is a whimsical science series created by Paul E. Raff, offering a delightful glimpse into the lives of the world’s most fascinating creatures. Narration is provided by a cast of quirky animal characters, as well as Mother Nature herself. With a humorous twist, the show sheds light on the peculiar behaviors and survival strategies of Earth’s remarkable wildlife. ‘Absurd Planet’ is an entertaining and educational take on the animal kingdom, providing both laughs and insights for viewers of all ages. You may watch the series here.

1. Our Planet (2019)

‘Our Planet,’ an awe-inspiring Netflix documentary series, stands as a testament to nature’s grandeur and fragility. Created by the renowned team behind ‘Planet Earth,’ including creators Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey, this visually breathtaking series is narrated by the iconic Sir David Attenborough. It offers a profound exploration of Earth’s diverse habitats, showcasing rare wildlife moments with unparalleled cinematography.

What sets it apart is its poignant focus on conservation, addressing climate change, and the urgent need to preserve these habitats. This documentary’s brilliance lies in its ability to captivate, educate, and ignite a global call to protect our planet’s invaluable ecosystems. You can watch the series here.

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