They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and it couldn’t be more accurate in the case of Robert Irwin. The 13-year-old son of the late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin made on appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where he presented many wild animals and talked to the show host, all while dressed in the same khaki get-up that his father made famous.
However, this was not the first time Robert Irwin has been seen on television. In fact, Robert co-hosts a show for children on Discovery Kids called ‘Wild But True’, where he and his co-host Isabel Yamazaki break down the relationship between science and nature.
Fans of the show ‘The Crocodile Hunter’ will remember towards the latter years occasionally seeing Robert on the show when he was just a baby. Now seeing him grown up and following in the footsteps of his nature-enthused father, one can’t help but reminisce on how adventurous and entertaining Steve Irwin was. The man constantly put on a show, and his likability was part of the reason he had so much international success.
Whether he was yelling ‘CRIKEY’ into the camera, or holding an animal telling the audience to ‘take a look at this beauty,’ Irwin was always passionate about what he did. While most of his life he was in the public eye, there are still many things the public may not know about the Australian animal lover. Without further ado, here is a list of 15 things you may not have known about Steve Irwin.
15. Steve Irwin Grew Up At A Zoo
While some develop a love for animals later in life, Irwin’s passion for wildlife was developed early. At a young age Irwin’s family moved from Essendon, a suburb of Melbourne, to Beerwah, which is about 80 kilometers from Queensland, Australia. Irwin’s parents, Bob and Lyn, worked as a plumber and nurse, but always had a passion for wildlife. It was in Beerwah where they turned their passion into a business and opened Beerwah Reptile Park.
As a child, Irwin would take part in the feeding of the animals, as well as helping with the general maintenance of both the park and the animals. The park would go on to change names a few times before Irwin was given the business to him by his parents. It was then when he renamed it ‘The Australian Zoo.’
14. For His 6th Birthday, Irwin Received A Python
While most six-year-olds in the late 1960s would want a toy of some sort for their birthday, Irwin was not like most children though. Instead, for his sixth birthday, Irwin received a non-venomous 3.6-meter long scrub python for his birthday, which he named ‘Fred.’
Fred was the first of many animals that Irwin would hold close to his heart, and definitely kick-started his love for nurturing and rehabilitating animals. Even as a child, Irwin was different. Irwin’s childhood neighbor, Tony Piscitelli, went on to say the following about Irwin:
“Steve had an old pool out in the backyard. He had taken all the water out of it and filled it with sand and had reptiles living in there. [My] Dad thought he was always a little crazy. He was, I suppose.” By the sounds of it, that former pool gave Fred had a pretty nice home.
13. Steve Irwin’s Show Was Broadcasted In Over 130 Countries
While he was definitely famous in his native Australia, Irwin had a major following in the United States as well. However, what many people do not know is that Irwin was so popular that his show was broadcasted in over 130 countries worldwide.
If you think about it, really, it makes sense. Every country in the world is filled with wildlife of some sort, and Irwin made people realize that these animals are not our enemies, but a species that we must share the earth with.
12. In 2002, He Starred In A Film Called Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course
Let’s start by saying the poster alone for this movie is absolutely phenomenal (as seen above). The plot line, however, adds a whole new level to the word corny.
Basically, Steve and his wife, Terri, save a crocodile from two poachers. Nothing new for those two, right? Wrong. The two “poachers” just happen to be two American CIA agents that were after the crocodile. Why were they after the crocodile, you ask? Well, because it swallowed an important satellite-tracking beacon that they had to get back from the croc’s belly.
However, as corny as this movie may sound, it was really a lot of fun. In fact, the 2002 action-comedy won the Best Family Feature Film in the comedy genre at the 24th Young Artist Awards, beating out Big Fat Liar, Like Mike, Little Secrets, Maid in Manhattan and My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
11. A Street And A Ship Were Named After Him
As noted earlier, Irwin grew up in Beerwah, Australia. The area is not all that big in terms of population, as the number hovers around the 6,000 mark. Due to Irwin’s accomplishments, he became a national icon, and was honored in his hometown by having a street named after him. Ironically, much like his life was, this specific road is quite dangerous, and there have been many accidents over the years.
To go along with the road being named after Irwin, he also had an important ship named after him. The MY Steve Irwin is the 194-foot flagship of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and is used when the organization takes direct action against whaling and other illegal fishery activities. This group stands up for the well-being of aquatic wildlife, and Irwin would be proud of their efforts to protect Australia’s sea creatures.
10. Steve Met His Wife Terri When She Was Visiting The Australia Zoo
Many great love stories have a cute origin behind them. The romance between Steve and Terri’s romance was no different.
Theresa Penelope Raines, an American who was born in Eugene, Oregon, had a facility called ‘Cougar Country’ where she rehabilitated predator animals such as foxes, raccoons, bears, bobcats and cougars back to health. Once they were healthy, she would release them back into the wild.
In 1991, Terri went on a tour of Australia and visited Steve’s zoo. It was there that they met, and Steve went on to say that “it was love at first sight.” The two were engaged after just four months, and went on to get married and live a happy life doing what they both loved to do. If this wasn’t a match made in heaven, I don’t know what is.
9. Steve’s Daughter, Bindi Sue Irwin, Was Named After His Favourite Animals
To start with, Bindi is a unique, yet beautiful name. The name, however, stems from an animal that lived in the zoo. Bindi was a female crocodile that Steve held very close to his heart, as it was his favourite of all the crocodiles at the zoo. According to Steve, Bindi is an Australian Aboriginal word that means “young girl.”
Where her middle name Sue, comes from the family dog. As many fans of the show know, Steve had a dog named Sui that he loved dearly. Below is a quote from Steve on his love for his beloved pup:
“My sweet little Sue was born on Christmas Day, 1988. I brought her home when she was just six weeks old and we became inseparable friends. She was supposed to be a purebred Staffordshire Bull Terrier, but she never quite looked the part. I always called her my Staffordshire Bull Scrub Yowie! She was the runt of the litter, but she definitely had the most heart.”
8. Steve Irwin Also Had A Passion For Athletics
Irwin was always on his feet, and due to this, he was in good physical shape. However, what many people do not know is that Irwin was a huge fan of athletics, must notably mixed martial arts, cricket, Australian rules football and rugby.
Irwin trained in Gaidojutsu, a form of mixed martial arts, and took his passion for the sport seriously. To go along with his love for competition-based fighting, Irwin was known to be a passionate Brisbane Broncos fan, a rugby team based out of the Queensland capital. One time in particular, Irwin showed up to the team’s training camp and asked to tackle the largest player on the team, Shane Webcke. Irwin was destroyed by Webcke, but despite being crushed, was happy as could be. Irwin was passionate about a lot of things in life, but very few knew he loved his athletics so much.
7. Steve Irwin Made A Cameo Appearance In Dr. Dolittle 2
As many people know, Eddie Murphy starred as a doctor who could communicate with animals in the movie Dr. Dolittle. While the movie was not all that great, there was a sequel that was even worse.
However, in that sequel, Steve Irwin made a cameo appearance, and did not disappoint. While Irwin wasn’t going to be taking home any Oscar for his performance (or even a Young Artist Award, for that matter), his likability still shined. When Irwin appeared on screen, his passion for animals was clear, and one couldn’t help but smile when they saw him in his trademarked khaki outfit.
6. Irwin Was Killed By A Stingray
The fact that Steve Irwin died via a stingray stabbing while shooting a scene for the documentary series Ocean’s Deadliest is no secret. However, what many do not know is that stingrays are not that dangerous to humans.
Although they do have a barbed tail that is coated with venom, stingrays are considered docile creatures. However, it was deemed that this particular stingray was scared after being boxed in, and stabbed Irwin in the heart, ultimately killing the Australian icon.
Of all the aggressive, dangerous animals that Irwin has dealt with, this creature that ended up taking his life. In fact, Irwin’s death was said to be only the third known fatal stingray attack in Australia, and the 17th in the entire world. At least it can be said that Irwin died doing what he loved – interacting with wildlife.
5. He Once Fed A Crocodile While Holding His Infant Son
While many people across the globe loved Irwin, there were some who did not consider themselves fans of the Australian nature expert, as they felt negative towards the way he treated animals. One instance that drove the Irwin haters mad was when he fed a crocodile while holding his infant son, Robert.
Some people went as far as claiming that Irwin was in fact guilty of child abuse, as he put his baby’s life in jeopardy. However, Irwin denied the allegations that he was harming his child, stating that Robert was never in any danger what so ever. The authorities agreed with Irwin, and no charges were laid on him from the incident.
4. Steve Irwin Went Crocodile Catching For The First Time When He Was Nine
Growing up living on the grounds of a zoo, Irwin was around animals his whole life. With a well-documented passion for reptiles — especially crocodiles, Irwin craved the action of capturing one at a young age. So, at the age of nine, with the supervision of Steve’s father, Bob, Irwin caught his first crocodile.
An experience that stuck with him for the rest of his life, Irwin spoke about the day he became a ‘Crocodile Hunter’:
“When I was nine, Dad took me capturing crocodiles,” Irwin told Tessa Cunningham of the London Mirror. “We had five in the boat when my flashlight picked out a sixth. ‘This one’s yours, son,’ Dad said. He was a whopper—3ft. I got my legs around his neck and he was thrashing about. It was like being tossed around in a washing machine… It was an out-of-body experience. I knew then that catching crocs was the only life I wanted.”
3. The First Episode Of ‘The Crocodile Hunter’ Was Shot On Steve & Terri’s Honeymoon
While most couples dream of going to a tropical resort for their honeymoon, Steve and Terri Irwin were different. For their honeymoon, they decided to stay in Australia. What cute honeymoon activities did they partake in, do you ask? Exactly what you would expect from two newlyweds – they camped and trapped crocodiles for relocation.
Through the work of one of Steve’s old friends, producer John Stainton, a film of their honeymoon became the pilot episode for what went on to be Steve’s hit television show, ‘The Crocodile Hunter’.
2. Steve Has A Species Of Snapping Turtle & Snail Named After Him
When you dedicate your life to nature on the scale that Irwin did, you are bound to discover a new animal species or have one named after you. Deservingly for Irwin, he had both happen to him.
Elseya Irwini, also known as Irwin’s turtle, was discovered after being caught on a fishing line by Steve’s father Bob during a camping trip in 1997. The turtle did not look like anything either of the two men had seen before, and Steve decided to take pictures. After sending them to turtle expert John Cann, it was verified that the turtle was a newly discovered species. The turtle was then named after the Irwin family.
Perhaps the greatest animal species name of all time, the Crikey steveirwini snail was discovered and named in honor of both Steve Irwin himself and his famous ‘crikey’ outbursts. To date it has only been found in very few areas of the Wet Tropics in Queensland, Australia.
1. Steve Irwin’s Greatest Fear Was Parrots
Steve Irwin was a man who seemed to fear nothing, as he dealt with dangerous and venomous predators out of pure passion. However there was one animal that he feared, and it is one that you would not expect – parrots.
You would think after wrestling crocodiles for a living Irwin would be able to deal with parrots, but that simply was not the case. When asked about parrots, this is what Irwin had to say:
“Yeah, for some reason parrots have to bite me. That’s their job. I don’t know why that is. They’ve nearly torn my nose off. I’ve had some really bad parrot bites.” I guess you can’t blame the guy.