Steve Irwin, popular as ‘The Crocodile Hunter’ was a zookeeper at Australia by profession but an exceptional animal lover at heart. His passion for wildlife conservation made him an expert in flora and fauna. Till his unfortunate demise, Steve worked relentlessly to educate masses about the importance of wildlife and nature conservation. His life was dedicated to making people understand that we need to co-exist with wildlife.
Here are 40+ facts about him that would make you respect him even more.
42. Early Bird
Steve had been around animals almost all of his life. As a present on his sixth birthday, he was given a scrub python. By age nine, he was handling crocodiles under the supervision of his father.
41. Wild About Animals
Steve began running the Australia Zoo in 1991. That was the same year he made his first appearance in a television special about reptiles and wildlife. Humble beginnings for someone who would be world famous in less than ten years time.
40. No Rest
The first episode of The Crocodile Hunter was of Steve and new bride Terri trapping crocodiles on their honeymoon. Not what most couples dream of when they think honeymoon.
39. Super Star
By 1999, Steve’ show The Crocodile Hunter had become ridiculously popular in the United States and was being broadcast in over 130 different countries around the world. How many other shows can claim that kind of global appeal?
38. Movie Star
In 2002, Steve starred in his only feature film, The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course. The film won a Young Artist Award for the Best Family Feature Film – Comedy. If you haven’t seen it, go check it out, fans of Steve will particularly enjoy it.
Steve was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal in 2001. The medal honored Steve for his service to global conservation and Australian tourism. Steve is the only zookeeper to ever earn that honor.
Despite working with dangerous animal like crocodiles and snakes, Steve’s greatest fear was of parrots. Of course, the man that hangs out with apex predators is afraid of a small bird.
35. Daddy’s Little Girl
His daughter, Bindi Sue, got her name from Steve’s Staffordshire bull terrier (named Sue) and his favorite crocodile (named Bindi).
34. Active Dad
He was a big fan of Australian rules football and also trained in the martial arts system of Gaidojutsu. Steve liked to stay in shape because his job was very physically demanding… Apparently, you need to be in shape if you want to wrestle crocs all day and live to tell about it.
Steve has a species of snapping turtle named in his honor – Elseya Irwini. Steve found the new species of turtle while working on his show. Don’t get too close though, they’re not as friendly as Steve was.
32. Irwin Week
During the “Australia Week” celebrations in January 2006, Irwin appeared at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, California. This was at the height of his fame and audiences were thrilled to see their hero in person.
The avid conservationist was awarded a ‘Queensland Museum Medalist’ in 2002 and was named a winner of ‘Brisbane’s Best Export Award’. Each of these honors was bestowed on Irwin as a direct result of his commitment to rescuing animals. There’s no denying Steve loved animals.
30. Croc Hunter Indeed
He worked as a volunteer for Queensland’s East Coast Crocodile Management program and captured over 100 crocodiles. That’s a lot of crocs!
Irwin described his father as a wildlife expert interested in herpetology, while his mother Lyn was a wildlife rehabilitator. After moving to Queensland, Bob and Lyn Irwin started the small Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park, where Steve grew up around crocodiles and other reptiles.
Steve Irwin and his wife Terri also owned and operated The Australia Zoo, founded by Irwin’s parents in Beerwah, about 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of the Queensland state capital city of Brisbane. The zoo is still operating to this day.
27. Put In The Work
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 renamed it ‘The Australia Zoo.’ His surviving family members still manage the zoo.
26. Hometown Glory
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.
25. Making Waves
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.
24. International Love
In 1991, future wife 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.
23. Big Fan
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
22. Movie Star Part II
Steve Irwin made a cameo appearance in Dr. Dolittle 2, and did not disappoint. While Irwin wasn’t going to be taking home any Oscar for his performance, 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.
Of all the aggressive, dangerous animals that Irwin has dealt with, the creature that ended up taking his life was the normally docile stingray. 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.
20. Negative Press
Steve once fed a crocodile at his zoo while holding his newborn son in the other hand. 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 whatsoever. The authorities agreed with Irwin, and no charges were laid on him from the incident.
Steve purchased large pieces of land in Australia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the United States to preserve endangered species and wildlife with the money he earned from his show. Truly a selfless human being.
The CEO of RSPCA called Irwin the “modern-day Noah.”
17. Not What Steve Would Have Wanted
After his death, a number of stingrays were found dead with their tails cut off. It was assumed to be revenge of fans.
Irwin’s funeral ceremony and burial was in at the Australia Zoo, and not accessible to the public. Probably for the best, given the last fact.
15. Best Mates
Steve’s best friend Wes is the Director of The Australia Zoo. He keeps things on track when Steve and Terri were away from the Zoo. Steve saved Wes’ life when he was attacked by Graeme the croc during a flood at Australia Zoo. Good thing Steve was there to the rescue!
14. Cold Feet
Steve said his scariest moment was getting married. He was sweating bullets in front of the priest.
13. Water Wings
When Steve wasn’t out catching crocs, he loved jet skiing. Steve was also a dry suit certified diver and would dive recreationally often.
12. Home Movies
Steve’s dad gave him a video camera so that he could film himself catching crocs when he was in North Queensland. It was these films that inspired producer John Stainton to start The Crocodile Hunter series.
11. Martial Artist
Steve Irwin loved mixed martial arts competitions and trained with Greg Jackson at Jackson Wink MMA Academy before his death. Greg Jackson’s gym as produced some of the best MMA fighters of the last 20 years, so Steve was in good hands.
Steve Irwin appeared in a 2006 ESPN television commercial in their This is SportsCenter series. In the commercial, he wrestled the Gator mascot of the University of Florida to the ground in an ESPN studio hallway.
9. Party City
Steve Irwin’s popularity has led to him becoming a popular character at costume parties in Australia and the United States.
8. Legal Battle
In June of 2004, he was sued by an Australian court, accused of changing the lives of animals such as penguins and whales during a documentary on Antarctica, but was acquitted. They probably realized he changed their lives for the better.
At the young age of 6, Irwin caught his first venomous snake, a Common Brown and was known to be late for school on many an occasion, as he’d stop his mother on the way to school to stop and rescue various animals.
6. Instant Classic
The first episode of The Crocodile Hunter hit the air in 1996. It quickly became an international favorite, eventually reaching over 500 million fans worldwide.
In 2002, he founded the ‘Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation’, which was later renamed the ‘Wildlife Warriors’. The foundation was formed as an effort to educate people on the importance of protecting injured, threatened, and endangered wildlife.
In July 2006, he established a ten-year plan for the zoo to solidify the future of The Australia Zoo. This plan also guaranteed a continuation of his conservation efforts – an important step as he passed just 2 months later.
As Irwin’s television popularity grew, it also sparked growth in his “at home” work. The once meager ‘Australia Zoo’ grew to over 16 acres with 550 animals in 2000 to over 80 acres with more than 1,000 animals, in 2007.
American satellite and cable television channel Animal Planet ended The Crocodile Hunter with a series finale titled “Steve’s Last Adventure” after Steve was killed by a stingray. His last words were “I’m dying,” according to his cameraman.
1. Value Added
Steve Irwin is one of the most significant personalities in wildlife preservation today, and had a networth of $10 million at the time of his passing in 2006. He is respected for his renowned commitment to wildlife preservation and conservation.