The Legendary Life of the Crocodile Hunter: Steve Irwin

Before Joe Exotic, there was Steve Irwin, who was known for his job working at a zoo. But other than the fact that both of them were featured on reality TV, there is a huge difference between the Tiger King and the Crocodile Hunter. Steve Irwin was born into an animal-loving family and worked as an Australian zookeeper. The animal expert loved all kinds of creatures and has never done anything to harm them. (We can’t exactly say that about Joe, can we?)

Steve Irwin
Photo by James D Morgan / Shutterstock

The Crocodile Hunter was born to parents who founded The Australia Zoo. It became a tourist attraction after it was featured on episodes of Irwin’s hit show, The Crocodile Hunter. To this day, the zoo is still operating, and fans there to pay tribute to the late Aussie. He passed away in 2006, leaving behind two young children. But they’re all grown up now and even followed in their father’s footsteps.

This is the life and legacy of the infamous Crocodile Hunter.

Little Aussie Boy

Most people take one look at this shaggy-haired Aussie and recognize him as the legendary crocodile hunter. The incredible man loved animals and dedicated his entire life to wildlife conservation. The world was shocked after his untimely death in 2006. Now, years later, his family is making sure that his legacy will live on.

A younger Steve Irwin
Source: Reddit

Since he was a youngster, little Steve was fascinated by animals and loved each and every kind. If you ever watched him on TV, you can see the special connection he has with wildlife, but he had a favorite. If you know anything about Irwin, you probably know which particular species held a special place in his heart.

A Crocodile Lover

You guessed it: crocodiles. Not only did Steve love crocodiles, but he was obsessed with the dangerous reptile. He had the proper training, which allowed him to spend time with them. Still, it was a risk each and every time. Crocodiles are extremely dangerous and known to kill humans.

Steve Irwin with a crocodile in a swamp
Photo by Moviestore Collection / Shutterstock

One evident quality about Steve is that he was fearless. Whenever he came on the screen, we would watch him jump headfirst into any dangerous situation. Sure, it’s scary, but living on the edge seemed to excite Steve. However, he owes his bravery and adventurous spirit to one particular person, his animal conservationist dad, Bob Irwin. I guess his destined career may partly be genetic.

Steve’s Perfect Match

As we mentioned, Bob Irwin was an animal conservationist and an esteemed herpetologist. Bob was also the founder of Australia’s Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park. Thanks to his father, Steve’s upbringing gave him the tools to become an expert on animals. Then, he met an amazing woman who shared the same passion as him.

Steve and Terri cutting the cake on their wedding day
Source: Twitter

Steve clearly had a ton of energy and enthusiasm, pretty much all the time. It’s hard to keep up with a man like that. The charming Aussie needed a lady who was totally on board with his lifestyle. He got lucky when he met Terri; she was his perfect match. They tied the knot and started to expand the fam jam.

Daddy’s Little Girl

Soon after they got married, the couple welcomed two little ones into their animal-loving world, Bindi and Robert. Steve and Terri spent a lot of time teaching their children about their dedication to protecting nature. That’s why it’s not surprising that they both took on the role of professionals.

Bindi Irwin as a young girl on stage with a snake
Bindi Irwin. Photo by Kristin Callahan / Shutterstock

When she was just a little girl, you could already see Bindi’s huge personality. She was just as charming as her daddy and loved the attention. She also followed in her dad’s TV footsteps and starred in her own show called Bindi the Jungle Girl. In the show, she teaches children about animals while singing and dancing, and it aired from June 2007 until October 2008.

Robert’s Path

Bindi isn’t the only one who got followed in her dad’s footsteps. That’s right. Her brother Robert also had a few television stints of his own, and he loved bringing the animals to set. The beloved Irwin family was admired by many, and their fan could even go visit their zoo.

Robert Irwin feeding crocodiles
Robert Irwin feeding the crocodiles. Photo by Ben Beaden / Australia Zoo / Shutterstock

The Crocodile Hunter frequently featured The Australia Zoo in Queensland in so many episodes. It didn’t take long for the zoo to become a massive tourist attraction. People liked to show off and tell their friends that they were in that action-filled zoo. In 2018, the series, “Crikey! It’s the Irwins” came out. The show followed the family and their challenges at the Zoo.

When Tragedy Struck

The Irwins are pretty respected, thanks to the Crocodile Hunter. The zoo even features a bronze statue of the entire family; it makes for wonderful pictures. Sadly, in 2006, a freak accident took place, and their entire world came crumbling down. The tragic incident happened underwater.

Steve Irwin under water with the stingrays
Source: Twitter

While he was filming a scene for a documentary, Steve got a bit too close to a huge stingray. Since he felt boxed in, the fish panicked and started stabbing his sharp point aggressively, piercing the Crocodile Hunter in the chest. He was immediately rushed to the emergency room, but the outcome was devastating. He passed away due to his injuries.

Missing Daddy

After news spread of Steve Irwin’s death, fans were stunned. No one could believe the Crocodile Hunter was gone. But there were two kids who were particularly affected by this fatal accident – Bindi and Robert. What were they going to do without their fearless leader? To them, he was much more than a crocodile hunter; he was their loving father.

Terri Irwin with Robert and Bindi celebrating Robert’s birthday at the zoo.
Terri, Robert, and Bindi celebrating Robert’s birthday at the zoo. Photo by Tess Peni / Shutterstock

The family received immense love and support, but it didn’t heal all the wounds. In one heartbreaking interview, Terri explained how she “felt lonely for Steve” and that she lost her soulmate. But then, 13 years after his passing, an incredible opportunity came up to fulfill one of his biggest dreams.

Making His Dreams Come True

Other than his obsession with crocodiles, Steve Irwin also had a love for Sumatran elephants – which were a critically endangered species. With no hospital for the animals, the situation kept getting worse. What led to the demise of the species was mainly due to deforestation, and stepping on live landmines.

Steve and Terri Irwin riding an elephant
Photo by BEI / Shutterstock

A worker at the Australian Zoo named Luke Reavley revealed, “Steve dreamed of opening an elephant hospital after witnessing first-hand the issues they were facing in the wild.” If anyone was going to make his dream come true, it was his dedicated family who loved the animal kingdom just as much as he does. They were ready to take on the exciting challenge.

Finishing What he Started

More than a decade later, Steve Irwin’s family made his dream a reality. The Sumatran elephants finally got the help they desperately needed. But the Irwin family didn’t stop there. After they helped make one of the crocodile hunter’s dreams come true, they started to do a little digging.

Robert, Terri, and Bindi on a talk show in 2018.
Photo by Steve Meddle / ITV / Shutterstock

That’s when they discovered that Steve had a full 10-year business plan that he started before his untimely death. Bindi explained that the family continues to check things off of his list: “We have projects all over the planet that he was so passionate about that we’ve continued.” She gets to keep doing what she loves while honoring her father’s memory.

The Crocodile Hunter Forever

Meanwhile, the Crocodile Hunter was honored with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. He had such an immense fan base that he easily fits in among Hollywood’s elite. Everyone knew who the Crocodile Hunter was, and they absolutely loved everything he stood for. His love for animals was nothing short of inspiring.

Terri, Bindi, and Robert Irwin holding a snake next to Steve’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Photo by Chelsea Lauren / Variety / Shutterstock

Even though Steve tragically passed away, his family won’t stop carrying on his legacy, but Steve’s influences extended beyond his loving family. He will live forever through his hit discovery channel show, The Crocodile Hunter, where his bravery and positivity are showcased. Many people have tried to match Irwin’s charisma and passion, but nobody measures up. He was definitely one of a kind.

His Humble Beginnings

As we know, Steve Irwin has been around animals for almost his entire life. When he turned six years old, his father gave him a python as a birthday present. By the time he was nine, the determined kid was already handling crocodiles… with his father’s supervision, of course. From a very young age, he knew what he wanted to do with his life.

Steve Irwin with a snake
Photo by James D Morgan / Shutterstock

In 1991, Irwin was just a regular guy running the Australia zoo. Less than one decade later, everyone in America knew his name. In the first-ever episode of The Crocodile Hunter, Steve and his wife were on their honeymoon trapping crocodiles. That sounds like fun, but not exactly how I envisioned my honeymoon.

Becoming a Movie Star

Steve Irwin’s show was getting extremely popular in the United States by 1998. The show was aired in more than 130 different countries all over the world. Not that many shows have so much global interest, but there was something about Irwin that made you want to tune in.

Steve Irwin with a dog jumping in the film ‘The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course’
Steve Irwin in ‘The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course.’ Photo by Frazer Bailey / Discovery Channel / Mgm / Kobal / Shutterstock

In 2002, Irwin’s popularity scored him a starring role in his only feature film, The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course. The movie went on to win a Young Artist Award for the Best Family Feature Film: Comedy. If you haven’t seen this movie, it’s a great one. I highly recommend it; especially, if you were a Steve Irwin fan like me.


Watching Irwin play with dangerous snakes and wrestle crocodiles all day, he appears to be one of the most fearless people out there. He is known for his remarkable bravery and doesn’t seem to be scared of anything. Well, as it turns out, everyone is scared of something… even the adrenaline junkie crocodile hunter.

Steve Irwin and a large bird
Photo by James D Morgan / Shutterstock

Rumor has it that Steve Irwin’s biggest fear was parrots and small birds. He once revealed in an interview, “The only animals I’m not comfortable with are parrots, but I’m learning as I go. I’m getting better at ‘em. I really am.” He went on to explain that parrots always try biting him and that he has gotten some pretty bad bites over the years.

Bindi’s Unique Name

Irwin’s daughter Bindi Sue got her name in a rather interesting way. Steve had a Staffordshire bull terrier named Sue and a Crocodile named Bindi. Since they were the crocodile hunter’s favorite animals, he decided to name his precious baby girl after them. She grew up to adore animals just as much as her father did.

Bindi Irwin holding the Mirror ball trophy after winning Dancing with The Stars season 21
Photo by Mediapunch / Shutterstock

When she was 17 years old, Bindi surprised the world when she returned to the spotlight. She appeared on Dancing with the Stars and looked all grown up. She is now 21 and has really become a wonderful young woman. Recently, in March 2020, Bindi got to walk down the aisle and marry the love of her life. Her wedding appropriately took place at her family’s Australia Zoo.

Needs to Stay Strong

Throughout his life and career, Irwin always made sure to stay healthy and work out. He was a huge fan of Australian football, and also trained in The Martial Arts System on Gaidojutsu. Irwin explained that it’s because of his physically demanding job; it was important for him to stay in shape.

Steve Irwin holding down a crocodile in a boat while his wife, Terri, steers from the back
Steve and Terri Irwin. Photo by Discovery Channel / Mgm / Kobal / Shutterstock

So if you ever want to try to wrestle crocodiles, you may want to hit the gym first. Steve was born into this kind of life. The Australia Zoo that he operated with his wife was founded by his parents. He grew up knowing what he wanted to do; working out and being strong is just part of the job.

Movie Star 2.0

Even though Irwin only starred in one feature film, he made a little cameo appearance. He certainly made himself noticeable when he appeared in Dr. Dolittle 2 starring Eddie Murphy. He didn’t take home an Oscar for his guest appearance, but you charmed the audience through the screen. His cameo lasted about one minute, and a memorable one at that.

Steve Irwin and Eddie Murphy in ‘Dr. Dolittle 2.’
Source: Twitter

In his appearance in the film, Irwin’s love and passion for animals was evident, and his trademark khaki outfit was perfect. Sadly, that was the wildlife expert’s last movie appearance. His on-screen charisma and lovable personality could have made the crocodile hunter a movie star. Unfortunately, we’ll never see it happen.

Hater’s Gonna Hate

Irwin was a beloved television personality, but when you’re in the spotlight, there are always going to be haters. One of his most controversial moments was when he once fed a crocodile while he was holding his newborn baby in his other hand. Many people went as far as to accuse Steve of child abuse.

Steve Irwin feeding a crocodile with his baby in his hands
Source: Twitter

To the naked eye, it looked as if Irwin put his baby in danger. But Irwin loved his children and denied all allegations. He was a professional and knew exactly what he was doing; he would never do anything to actually put his son’s life in jeopardy. The authorities sided with the crocodile hunter on this one – no charges were ever made.

Hometown Road

Irwin grew up in Beerwah, Australia. The area doesn’t have the biggest population, with only about 6,000 residents. Thanks to Irwin’s amazing accomplishment, he became a global icon. His hometown was happy to honor him by naming a street after him following his devastating passing. The road is called Steve Irwin Way.

Steve and Terri Irwin
Photo by BEI / Shutterstock

Similar to Irwin’s life, that particular road is pretty dangerous. Sadly, there have been various car accidents on it throughout the years. It’s the thought that counts. Plus, Irwin loved living life on the edge, so the street turned out to be eerily pretty fitting. However, one road isn’t the only thing that was named after the magnificent crocodile hunter.

MY Steve Irwin

If being important enough to have a street named after you isn’t impressive enough, Steve Irwin also had a significant ship named after him. The Sea Shephard Conservation Society named the 194-foot flagship, MY Steve Irwin. The boat is used when the organization goes off to fight against illegal fishery activities, such as whaling.

Steve Irwin with a tarantula on a log
Photo by Globe Photos / Mediapunch / Shutterstock

The group’s goal is to stand up for the well-being of aquatic creatures. Irwin would certainly appreciate their hard work in protecting Australia’s sea creatures. The ship was originally built in 1975 and was called MY Robert Hunter. However, they changed it to MY Steve Irwin in 2007, following the crocodile hunter’s death. A guy who has a ship dedicated to him must have been a pretty special person.

Bear Grylls is a name that has become synonymous with adventure, and the host of “Man vs. Wild” has achieved countless incredible feats in his life. Trained in martial arts from a young age, Grylls was a soldier in the British Special Forces, survived a free-fall parachuting accident in Africa, and recovered to become one of the youngest climbers to conquer Mount Everest. More recently, Grylls has become the host of several extreme adventure TV shows across several networks in multiple countries.

Bear Grylls

His Emmy Award-nominated “Man vs. Wild TV” series reached an estimated 1.2 billion viewers, being one of the most-watched TV shows in the history of television. Even though some of the show is staged, as it has transpired after the producers were caught faking survival situations, it is still one of the most-watched shows about survivalists in the world.

Who Is Bear Grylls?

Born Edward Michael Grylls in London, England, in 1974, Bear Grylls is often referred to as “the most intense man in the universe.” Synonymous with adventure, his image has become the subject of numerous memes on the internet, and there are few places in the world where he isn’t instantly recognized. However, there’s much more to the man than just being the host of the hit television show “Man vs. Wild.”

'Bear Grylls: Endeavour' show, Final Rehearsal, London, UK
Photo By Richard Isaac/Shutterstock

If you have ever wondered how the most famous survivalist in the world came to be known as “Bear,” you won’t be surprised to find out that that is not, in fact, his real name. While it would have certainly had been very cool for Grylls’ parents to give him a rugged name like “Bear,” that is not the case. “Bear” is actually a nickname his sister, Lara, gave to him when he was just a baby.

The Birth of a Legend

Grylls was born in 1974 to Sir Michael Grylls, a Conservative politician, and MP, and his wife, Lady Sarah Grylls. He has an elder sister, Lara, whom he has to thank for his very suitable nickname. The adventure was present in the life of little Bear Grylls from the very beginning, as his father taught him to climb and sail. Later he learned to skydive as a teenager and earned a black belt in karate.

Bear Grylls as a child with his father, Michael

Bear Grylls speaks several languages, including French and German, and is a devout Anglican, having mentioned more than once that his faith is a very important part of his life. In 2000, Grylls married Shara Cannings Knight, and they split their time between their houseboat on River Thames and a private island in Wales. They have three sons.

A Former Army Man

Grylls’ passion for adventure and exotic climates was going strong in his formative years, and it was the reason he actually considered signing up for the Indian Army. He let go of that idea, though, settling on a trek around West Bengal and the Himalayan Mountains instead. But once he was back in the UK, he decided not to go to university at once and signed up for the Territorial Army.

Bear Grylls in military uniform
Source: Pinterest

While being in the Territorial Army is not exactly the same thing as being in the Army, the duties you’re expected to perform are identical to those of full-time soldiers. Grylls was a 21 SAS Regiment (Artists Reserve) member, and his service was typically limited to approximately 27 days a year.

Building Character with Karate

Grylls was fascinated with karate as a kid and teenager, and as such, he earned his black belt in Shotokan karate even before he went on to get military training. He holds a 2nd Dan Black Belt in Shotokan Karate. This is a style of karate that dates back to the beginning of the 20th century.

Grylls in his karate gear

Shotokan training is often regarded as a dynamic style of martial arts, and its purpose is to develop speed together with powerful techniques. Progressing to the black belt that Grylls has develops a much more fluid martial arts style, which includes standing joint locking techniques, throwing, and grappling. Grylls is proud of his black belt, as he once claimed on his Twitter account.

Going Strong Despite Accidents

Bear Grylls survived so many accidents that Men’s Health Magazine had a feature piece in 2018 titled “A Brief History of Bear Grylls’ Most Memorable Injuries.” Nevertheless, injuries never stopped Grylls from his life of adventure. A parasailing accident when he was 21 left him with a broken back, but that didn’t stop Grylls from becoming the youngest Briton to stand on top of Mount Everest when he was just 23 years old.

Bear Grylls on Everest
Source: Pinterest

He would go on to recover from multiple types of injuries during his adventurous life, including a scorpion bite in Sahara when he was doing a sting with the French Foreign Legion in 2004, and getting his leg smashed by a camera and its metal rig that went free-falling from a mountain when filming “Man vs. Wild” in the Canadian Rockies.

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Mt. Ama Dablam, located in the Nepalese Himalayans, is a mountain that Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to reach the top in 1953 together with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, once described as “unclimbable.” That didn’t stop Bear Grylls from pushing himself to the limits to climb the mountain himself, at the tender age of 23.

Bear Grylls conquering Everest in his youth
Source: Twitter

According to his own words, Grylls “should have died several times on Mount Everest,” as the expedition was a harrowing one. He had dreamt of climbing on the top of the world since he was eight years old when he was looking at the poster of Mountain Everest his father put up in his room. He made it to the top without injuring himself, though.

Mount Everest Calls Again

It looks that conquering the peak at just 23 years old wasn’t the end of Grylls’ attraction for the highest mountain in the world. In 2007, he decided to return to Mount Everest, but not on foot. Instead, he decided to fly a powered paraglider higher than the peak itself.

Bear Grylls breaks parasailing height record

Together with a partner, he flew 460 feet higher than the peak of Mt. Everest, which stands at an impressive 29,035 feet. Because Chinese airspace regulations don’t allow flying directly over the peak, he didn’t go that route. However, he still reached an insane height circumventing the summit, in a legendary adventure that won’t be matched by any other human anytime soon.

Passing the Torch

If you look at Bear Grylls’ life, a wife and kids is not exactly the first thing that comes to mind. And you would be right — just imagine the hard times someone with this lifestyle would have to convince a woman to marry him. But Grylls can really do it all, and he eventually found the right girl to settle down.

Bear Grylls, OBE, and Shara Grylls
Bear Grylls, OBE, and Shara Grylls, after an Investiture at Buckingham Palace. Photo By Anthony Harvey/Shutterstock

In 2000, Grylls married Shara Cannings Knight, and together they have three boys. Needless to say, the children are already skilled in the outdoors and adept at survival, which means that their father does a great job when it comes to passing the torch to the next generation.

The Birth of the Number One Survivalist Show in the World

In 2006, Bear Grylls began to host a survival television series that would go on to become one of the most-watched programs in the world. The show is called “Man vs. Wild,” but it is also known across the world under different titles, including “Born Survivor: Bear Grylls,” “Ultimate Survival” or simply “Bear Grylls” in the United Kingdom.

Bear Grylls in
Source: IMDB

The series is produced by a British company called Diverse Productions, and the original network that was listed was Discovery Channel. The show lasted until 2012 when Discovery Channel canceled the series due to contract disputes with Bear Grylls. A total of 73 episodes and ten specials aired between 2006 and 2012.

A Show Like No Other

Most of the episodes of “Man vs. Wild” start with Grylls being left stranded in a region together with his film crew, so the viewers can watch their efforts to survive and their struggle to find a way back to civilization. In most of the episodes, Grylls and the crew need to find some sort of overnight shelter, and most of the action takes place in wild areas such as forests or jungles.

Bear Grylls and Jake Gyllenhaal
Source: Pinterest

However, some of the episodes and specials take place in industrial areas in the city. For most of the episode, the camera focuses on Grylls, who tells viewers about the particular area he’s in and gives an account of successful and fails survivals that happened in that particular place before him.

“Man vs. Wild” Hits the Consoles

A video game called “Man vs. Wild” hit the stores in 2011, being inspired by the television series. In the game, which is available for PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii, the player takes the role of Bear Grylls himself, going on an adventure to survive the hardships of various environments across the world, including dangerous jungles and escaping quicksand in the desert.

Man vs. Wild video game

The game was developed by Floor 84 Studio in collaboration with Scientifically Proven and was published by Crave Entertainment. At the time of its release, the game received positive reviews, and it is still played by “Man vs. Wild” aficionados from all around the world today.

A Close-Knit Filming Crew

Filming for “Man vs. Wild” is not your usual television series setting, which means that the entire crew needs to be close-knit and supportive. According to crew members, filming the show meant dealing with going in and out of helicopters, swinging on ropes on various mountains, and driving cool cars.


That’s all hard work, but also very fun, in the words of Paul “Mungo” Mungeam, the adventure cameraman who worked with Bear Grylls for ten years. The main crew used for “Man vs. Wild” usually comprised of two cameramen, a director, two sound engineers, and a safety team with the sole purpose of looking after everyone.

Is Bear Grylls Afraid of Anything?

The same cameraman disclosed that Bear Grylls is not particularly afraid of anything, maybe except for cocktail parties. You read that right. He is not afraid of wild animals, heights, or getting lost in the jungle, but he isn’t necessarily fond of making small talk. That’s understandable, but it’s still funny, nonetheless.

Grylls answering questions in a BBC interview
Source: BBC

Paul “Mungo” Mungeam also disclosed in an interview that Grylls whistles to distract himself when he’s afraid of something. He is human, after all, and that means he needs to handle coping mechanisms to overcome his fear in the most extreme of the situations. And when it comes to food, there are a few things that Grylls won’t try, including mouse soup. Yikes.

No Escape from the Critics

A show as successful as “Man vs. Wild” was bound to attract criticism from viewers and other people in the industry. A crew member admitted in 2006 that some scenes were staged, suggesting that Grylls wasn’t actually stranded in the wild alone, as the episode suggested. One of the experts who raised concerns about the scenes being manipulated was Mark Weinert, a survivalist consultant.

Bear Grylls stranded on an island

Some of the scenes that attracted criticism throughout the life of the show included the one in which Grylls tried to tame a wild mustang in the Sierra Nevada, which was in fact hired from a tracking station and was already tame, and the scene in which a crew member wore a bear suit to make up for the fact that they couldn’t find a real bear for the filming.

Other Episodes That Were Heavily Criticised

The above were not the only scenes in “Man vs. Wild” that attracted criticism. A famous episode showed Grylls stuck on a desert island like a real-life Robinson Crusoe, but it transpired that he wasn’t actually stuck. The desert island was a part of the Hawaiian Archipelago. According to critics, Grylls didn’t even spend the night in the outdoors but retired to a motel instead.

Grylls stuck on an island

In another episode, Grylls escapes from an active volcano by leaping across the lava, in a scene that is incredibly powerful and entertaining. However, it was then revealed that the entire scene was enhanced with the help of special effects, using smoke machines and hot coal.

Response to Criticism

The producers of the show didn’t deny the criticism brought upon “Man vs. Wild,” and they actually changed some of the episodes and aired re-edited versions. In these new episodes, some of the elements that work to plan were removed, and the voice-over was also changed to reveal Grylls is sometimes intentionally put in some of the situations to show viewers how to survive.

Grylls laying on an island

Nevertheless, some of the most controversial episodes from the first season were never re-edited or released again by Discovery Channel, and they are no longer available for purchase on DVD. In the UK, British Channel 4 suspended the show’s second season while promising clarification about the editing of the episodes.

What Did Grylls Have to Say About the Accusations?

Grylls himself posted a response to the critics on his blog in 2007. He addressed allegations of spending nights in local hotels instead of the shelters that were built on the episodes, and never quite admitted that he never spent any nights in the shelters. However, he did admit that he receives help from the crew on occasion.

Bear Grylls on a volcano in

In an interview for People magazine, he mentioned that because each episode takes up to 10 days the film, the crew sometimes spends the night in hotels, but all the night staff that is shown on camera was real. All-new episodes and DVDs after 2007 contain a notice that states that the crew provides safety equipment to Grylls to minimize risks and that he sometimes puts himself deliberately in dangerous situations to be able to demonstrate survival techniques.

Emmy Awards Nomination

Despite the controversy surrounding the methods used for filming the episodes for “Man vs. Wild,” the show went on to be regularly viewed by more than 1.2 billion people from all corners of the world. It received a nomination for an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Cinematography for Reality Programming” in 2010. The nominee was director of photography Simon Reay for the episode “Big Sky Country.”

Man vs. Wild: Season 1

Simon Reay did not win the award though, as that year’s Emmy Award for “Outstanding Cinematography for Reality Programming” went to CBS’ “Survivor” for the episode “Slay Everyone, Trust No One.” “Man vs. Wild” was also nominated for two Astra Awards in 2011 and 2012.

Every Episode Is Carefully Researched and Prepared

Despite the controversy surrounding the way “Man vs. Wild” is filmed, there is a lot of work going in each of the episodes, with each of them taking between seven and ten days to shoot. This is preceded by about a week of scouting the area and going a very extensive list of equipment and dozens of safety checks.

Bear Grylls and his crew preparing for filming

Grylls himself does a lot of the work that goes in the preparation of the episodes, which includes training and survival briefings with outside experts, who are generally locals with extensive knowledge of the terrain where the filming is going to take place.

How Does That Taste, Bear?

Bear Grylls has eaten some very strange things on camera over the years, with bear feces, camel intestinal fluid, yak eyeballs, and snakes being just some of them. In one famous episode, Grylls made a bowl of soup from a mouse and his own urine. In an interview with The Mirror in 2015, he admitted that the worst thing that he has Ethan ever was a raw goat’s member.

Bear Grylls having a taste of the wild

Grylls reminisced about the experience of eating that particular part of a goat on an interview with HuffPost Live. It just melted into my mouth, full of cold goat sperm. Then the worst bit, it wasn’t the sperm, it was that I then vomited and then had to swallow the vomit and the testicle together. It was a vomit-testicle cocktail. It killed me.”

Surviving on a Deserted Island

In Season 4, Episode 8 that aired on January 6, 2010, Grylls is deserted on an island in Panama, where here needs not only to survive but also to find a way to escape the island and get back to civilization. The episode was directed by Stephen Shearman and is one of the best rated in the history of the show.

Bear Grylls on a raft at sea

It showed Grylls using tribal fishing techniques and building himself a raft to escape from the island. The highlight of the episode, if you can call it that, is when Grylls gives himself an enema to stay hydrated at sea. Talk about doing anything to be the number one survivalist show in the world!

Not the Florida You Know and Love

In another very popular episode from Season 1, Grylls finds himself in the Florida Everglades, where he has to battle the swamps and escapes the alligators that would want nothing more than a piece of the world’s most famous survivalist. The waterlogged lands of Everglades are also chock full of alligators and even black bears.

Grylls at the Florida Everglades

The Florida Everglades is a place where more than 1 million alligators live, and no less than 60 tourists need to be rescued from every year. Grylls conquers this perilous destination by demonstrating how to keep alligators at bay while finding his way through some razor-sharp grass and surviving by eating some pretty gross stuff.

The Camel No One Will Forget

You never know when you’re going to be faced with the carcass of a camel, so Bear Grylls took care of the viewers’ education regarding what to do in that situation. Stumbling upon a dead camel in the Sahara desert, Grylls didn’t waste time and proceeded to skin it, evacuate the organs and feeding himself with the meat.

Bear Grylls fighting to get out of the Florida Everglades

But that was not all. After feasting on dead camel meat, Grylls made a blanket out of the skin and then crawled inside, said camel for shelter. He did all this while holding his breath because of the stench. A disgusting episode that simply proved that Grylls is not afraid to try anything once.

How’s the Water?

Swimming naked on a balmy -90 degrees Fahrenheit day? Not a problem for Bear Grylls, it’s just another day at work for him. Grylls crossed a Siberian river swimming naked, because, in his words, it’s very important to keep your clothes dry. If you don’t, they will freeze instantly when you get out of the water.

Grylls preparing to jump into freezing water
Source: YouTube

So swimming naked it was. It’s a pity Grylls’ new contracts say that he can’t get naked on the TV screen anymore. That was his decision, as he doesn’t feel comfortable getting stark naked in front of an audience of billions. We guess that aging does make you more modest.

Life After “Man vs. Wild”

The adventure was surely not over for Bear Grylls after Discover Channel decided not to renew his show. In 2012, he launched the Bear Grylls Survival Academy in the UK. This is essentially a course that consists of a 24-hour full-immersion event to teach you surviving skills.

Training kids at the Bear Grylls Survival Academy
Source: Bear Grylls Survival Academy

The course was also made available for the American market in 2014 and offered variations such as 5-day courses located in various locations of the country, including the Yosemite National Park. Enrolling in the Bear Grylls Survival Academy is certainly not cheap, with the 24-hour course starting from $579, but it’s sure worth it to learn skills from the best.

Still Getting TV Gigs

Bear’s television career did not end with “Man vs. Wild.” In 2013, he hosted “Bear Grylls: Escape from Hell,” a six-part miniseries featuring ordinary people who become trapped in extraordinal situations where they are forced to use their survival skills. The show premiered on the Discovery Channel in October 2013 in the UK and a month later in the US.

Bear Grylls in
Source: Amazon

In 2014, Grylls had a new show on NBC called “The Island With Bear Grylls,” a reality TV show that has since aired six seasons. Grylls narrates the program that focuses on participants who test their survival skills on a remote uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean. The series will return for the seventh season in 2020.

Chief Scout Nomination

The Scouts Association appointed Grylls as Chief Scout in 2009. He was the youngest person to be appointed Chief Scout. He was selected because of this lifelong passion for the outdoors and his commitment to sharing his skills with the young generation. The Scouts Association mentioned that Grylls was an outstanding figure for scouting.

Bear Grylls appointed as first Chief Ambassador of World Scouting

Grylls is due to pass the torch to another Chief Scout in 2020. In the words of Tim Kidd, UK Chief Commissioner, “By championing our values, improving public perception and inspiring our members, Bear has helped Scouting go from strength to strength, valued by parents and respected by the public at large, attracting more young people and adult volunteers.

Get Out Alive

In 2013, Bear Grylls hosted the show “Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls,” which was an eight-episode series on NBC. Filmed in New Zealand, the show pitched ten teams of two contestants against each other to survive in the wilderness. Grylls was the guide of the ten teams, and each week he would eliminate one of them.

Grylls in his TV show
Source: Bear Grylls Ventures/Electus/Kobal/Shutterstock

The last remaining team was set to win $500,000. The participants in the contest were either couples, friends, or mother/daughter or father/son teams. Tasks varied from making fire for the whole group to providing shelter and making sure the entire group was fed. The show only lasted for one season, but it went on to be broadcast in 218 countries.

Surviving With Celebrities

In 2014, Grylls started to host “Running Wild with Bear Grylls,” a TV show on NBC and later National Geographic. Unlike his past shows that were mostly reality television featuring either Grylls himself or regular people as contestants, this is a show where Grylls brings along a different celebrity on each episode.

Taking celebrities on an adventure in

And we’re not talking about B-class stars, either. Grylls has managed to lure the likes of Kate Winslet, Kate Hudson, Michael Jordan, and then sitting President Barack Obama into the wild. The show started on NBC, but in 2019 it was announced it would move on National Geographic.

Cooking Worms and Eggs with Zac Efron

In the pilot episode of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls,” the host takes Zach Efron along on a journey in the Northeast Appalachian Mountains. The two parachutes themselves into the woods, discover and smell a rabbit carcass, and then prepare a meal consisting of eggs and worms, all while getting to know each other better.

Bear Grylls and Zac Efron in the first episode of

After spending the night in the woods, Grylls and Efron ventured into a canyon with the help of a rope. After managing to dive into a river, they swam to shore and made it back to safety. The episode was filmed in the Catskill Mountains and amassed 4.43 million viewers the night it aired.

Taming Scotland with Ben Stiller

Ben Stiller may be Hollywood’s funny guy, but he also demonstrated he got what it takes to survive in the woods with Bear Grylls. The two traveled to the Isle of Skye in Scotland and dived into the wilderness. Surrounded by rocks and slippery terrain, they talked about their backgrounds and even managed to gather some food on the shore.

Bear Grylls and Ben Stiller in

Stiller and Grylls spent the night in a cave, and while Stiller looked to beat the next morning, the two still got to swim into a river to get back to the plane that was waiting to take them back to safety. Not quite a “Night at the Museum,” but still very entertaining.

Not Just a Guys’ Game

In season 2 of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls,” Kate Winslet showed everyone that being a survivalist is not only for boys. She trekked with Grylls through Snowdonia, keeping his pace and impressing him with her stamina. Grylls said at one point that Winslet was just like “Mary Poppins on steroids.”

Bear Grylls and Kate Winslet in

As in many other Bear Grylls adventures, there was scary food involved in the Kate Winslet episode of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls,” specifically fried earthworms. Winslet talked about her career and set up camp with Grylls in some very windy conditions, before getting to swim in the icy ocean.

A Man of Charity as Well

Besides being a celebrity and survivalist, Bear Grylls is also very involved in charitable activities. He is an ambassador for Prince’s Trust, a well-known organization that provides financial, training, and practical support to British young people. He’s also involved with Global Angels, another British charity that helps children around the world.

The Prince's Trust Celebrate Success Awards, London, Britain
The Prince’s Trust Celebrate Success Awards, London, Britain. Prince Charles chats to The Vamps and Bear Grylls. Source: Shutterstock

Care for Children is another charity he supports, and his attempt to para-motor over the South American Angel Falls was a fundraiser for the Hope and Homes for Children charity. Grylls was given an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to the media, young people, and charity.

Dinner with a View

In 2005, Grylls accompanied Lieutenant Commander Alan Veal, leader of the Royal Navy Freefall Parachute Display Team and balloonist and mountaineer David Hempleman-Adams, as they beat the world record for a formal dinner party at high altitude. They dined with oxygen masks on under a hot air balloon, and they were dressed in full mess dress.

Grylls enjoying his dinner at altitude
Source: Pinterest

The altitude was 7,600 meters, and Bear Grylls took more than 200 parachute jumps to train for the event. The entire dinner party adventure was also in aid of charity, with the proceedings going to The Prince’s Trust and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

Antarctica Is Calling

In 2008, Bear Grylls decided to raise funds for the Global Angels charity by climbing one of the most remote peaks in Antarctica that was not actually climbed before. The team started by exploring the coast of Antarctica by jet skis and an inflatable boat and then traveled across the ice with an electric-powered paramotor.

Global Angels charity

Grylls broke his shoulder during the expedition and had to be medically evacuated, which brought the expedition to an end. The accident happened when he was kite skiing across a stretch of ice, and he was launched in the air. He landed on his shoulder and required immediate medical assistance.

The Internet Loves Bear Grylls

It’s absolutely impossible to be on the Internet and not see a Bear Grylls meme at one point or another. The good thing is that Grylls loves to have a laugh, which means that he always funnily responds to memes. For example, he laughed on Twitter at the meme showing him drinking from a cup with a disgusted expression on his face.

One of the many memes featuring Bear Grylls

Other memes featuring Bear Grylls show him full of blood on his face or pointing at the camera with the text “Improvise, Adapt, Overcome” below the image. In another meme, he says, “Oh, you went camping for the weekend? That’s cute.” However, many of the memes featuring Grylls are about him drinking his own urine.

Grylls Likes to Rough It Privately, Too

If you thought that living in rough conditions was just an act for Grylls, think again. The survivalist and his wife actually own a private island, which they use as a vacation home. Grylls often refers to his little corner of paradise off the coast of Wales as his favorite place on the planet.

Bear Grylls and his wife on their private island

In an interview for Vanity Fair in 2012, Grylls mentioned that the island is 5 miles offshore and has no electricity or running water. The couple spends weekends and vacations on the island, where they have a rigid inflatable boat on which they tackle the sea together with their children and dogs.

Where Does He Get the Time?

As if life as a full-time survivalist and adventurer was not enough, Bear Grylls also found the time to write no less than 11 books, including four teenage fiction books. One of the most popular of his titles is “How to Stay Alive: The Ultimate Survival Guide for Any Situation,” published in 2019. In the book, Grylls teaches his readers to survive a bear attack, fly a plane in an emergency, and generally survive in the most extreme conditions.

A selection of Bear Grylls' books

“The Bear Grylls Adventure” series is a popular collectible series for young readers who can learn how to build a shelter, use a compass, and read about many other skills that come in handy in the outdoors.

Walking In His Father’s Shoes

As we have already mentioned, Grylls has three sons, and all of them are already skilled in the art of surviving. They have been training for a life of adventure since they were tots, so it’s no wonder that Jesse, Bear’s eldest son, has already saved a life.

Bear Grylls with his two oldest sons
Bear Grylls with His Sons. Photo By Alan Davidson/Shutterstock

While playing with some friends by a creek when he was seven years old, little Jesse kept his cool when one of the girls fell in. Putting his skills to good use, he dragged his friend out of the water and saved the day. Now we bet that his dad was pretty proud of how his boy used the skills he had instilled in him since he came out of the womb.