At the peak of his career in the early 2000s, everyone knew who Australian zoo-keeper Steve Irwin was, famously known as ‘The Crocodile Hunter.’ He rose to fame as a conservationist-TV personality, entertaining us with his lovable Ozzie smile, endearing passion for nature, and his unbelievable dare-devil nerve when interacting with the razor-tooth species that is the crocodile. His TV programs and live shows at his Australian Zoo were often watched squeamishly behind covered eyes.
Unfortunately, Steve Irwin passed away in September 2006, after being stung by a stingray while filming for his TV show. Since, his life and legacy have lived on, and he’s still remembered as one of the most beloved personalities in TV and environmentalism. Here are some interesting facts you may not have known about him.
His honeymoon was pretty wild
Steve and wife Terri were not quite the ordinary couple. They spent their honeymoon travelling Australia, helping crocodiles relocate to safer areas. It just happened to be that a cameraman was following Steve around filming his escapades, and so some of the honeymoon footage was used in the first episode of Animal Planet’s ‘The Crocodile Hunter.’
He was far more than a TV personality
Although he charmed audiences for years with his larger than life personality and out of this world courage, Steve was far more than just a man on TV nearly getting eaten by a croc. He devoted his life to educate the public about the world and its animals, bringing awareness to the conversation needed to protect the wonders of the world and the endangered species needing help.
He once caused a huge controversy
At his Australian Zoo, he often performed at his ‘crocoseum’ in which he would interact with his zoo’s crocodiles and educate all those watching on their species. In 2004, during one of these live shows, he hit international news causing a media stir when he was filmed holding his one-month-old son Bob in one hand and feeding a chicken carcass to the croc standing just feet away with the other. He commented on the ordeal, saying “I apologize for scaring people. I never intended to do so, I would never endanger my boy like any good father”.
He had one strange phobia
It was no secret how confident he was when it came to reptiles and other dangerous animals. He was seemingly fearless. However, there was one thing he was scared of – parrots. Yep, that’s right, apparently parrots were the one animal he was uncomfortable around because for some reason this bird always seemed to attack and bite Steve. He got some nasty bites over the years, and his nose was nearly torn off once!
He discovered a new species
During a fishing trip with his father, Steve once caught a strange-looking turtle on his line that neither he or his dad had ever seen before. They took some photographs of it and sent them to an expert herpetologist, only for it to come back as a species never discovered before! In honor, the species was named Elseya Irwini (or informally as Irwin’s snapping turtle).
There’s a species named after him
In 2009, three years after Steve’s passing, a scientist at the Queensland Museum discovered a new type of tree snail and decided to name it after Steve himself. According to the scientist, it was a snail with a khaki-like color on the appearance of its shell, and this immediately made him think of the crocodile hunter. He called it ‘crikey steveirwini’, named after Steve’s famous catchphrase – ‘Crikey!”
Who knew there was so much left to be discovered about Steve Irwin?