10 Ways to Be Like Steve Irwin
Written by Sellmark summer 2019 intern Jullian Bassetto.
For an entire generation, no one else completely personifies wildlife and nature than Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter. Steve made learning and appreciating wildlife and their habitat enjoyable. He connected on a deep level with so many people, myself included. The first thing I did when I got home from elementary school was turn the TV to Animal Planet to watch an episode or two of The Crocodile Hunter. His crew captured incredible footage of amazing animals in their natural habitat. What Steve managed to do was bring the wonders of nature into our homes.
While not all of us can travel the world to watch wildlife, we can do it in our own backyards; we can still share the same enthusiasm that Steve had for nature in our local environments. All it takes is understanding what animals live in your area and what their habits are.
Once you educate yourself on the animals in your area, there are ten things that will help you be like Steve.
Obviously, to see certain animals, you have to go to their natural habitat. You could go to the zoo but that’s cheating and not near as exciting as seeing animals in the wild. Steve preferred to go in nature to see them in their most natural state. If you need guidance, local guides, wildlife conservation organizations, or state park rangers can help.
Many species of animals change their behaviors throughout the year. At certain times of the year, animals are breeding, sometimes they are migrating and for others, it can be hibernation. How tragic would it be if you went in the middle of a slumber? You should understand the animal’s patterns so you know when the best time to go.
Let’s be honest, you wouldn’t go to your local forest and expect to find a lion roaming around, so why would you expect that with any other animal? If you ever watched Steve Irwin, you’d know that he sometimes had to go way out of his way to find the animal he was looking for. It truly depends. Just know where the animal’s natural habitat is so you don’t waste time looking in the wrong places.
Time of Day
The next step is finding out the animals’ daily habits—meaning the time of day they are most active. When I walk my dog around my neighborhood late in the afternoon, I always see rabbits hanging around. Earlier throughout the day, this is not the case. This is just one example of one animal’s habit. Rabbits, where I live, are more active at night so they can evade predators like coyotes and hawks.
Watching Steve Irwin, you would see the same thing; sometimes he would be filming late at night, other times early in the morning or in the middle of the day. One thing for certain, he didn’t go looking at just any time of the day.
Be Quiet and Listen
Many animals are very keen observers of their surroundings. They can see, hear and smell you from a distance in order to get away from you. Keeping quiet is key to not spooking them. I remember so many times on Steve’s show where they would be filming with night vision or they would be whispering to the camera or even just staying low to the ground. These kinds of actions matter when you go out to nature watch.
Wind Direction and Smell
I mentioned how animals can smell you from a distance. This is just one of their defenses to avoid danger. With that said, you need to be careful of the perfumes and scents your clothes may have. Also, you should be very aware of wind direction.
You can’t completely eliminate your smell, especially if you’re outside for some time but with that, you should be cognizant of what direction the wind is blowing. Your scent will travel with the wind, thereby extending the distance animals can smell you. It’s a bit annoying but it comes with the territory.
Be as Camouflaged as Possible
Just like you can see animals from a distance, they can also see you, and in some cases, they can see you long before you see them. In nature, it is kill or be killed and only the strong survive. With that thought, animals have to be aware of their surroundings and seeing a predator is one way of evading danger. Like I said earlier, Steve would be crouched and hidden when he was out looking for certain animals. It is such a simple thing but is very important.
Watch Your Distance and be Still
Imagine trying to run up on a deer in the woods. It ends only one of two ways—either the deer runs off or the deer may charge. Let’s be honest, without being a skilled wildlife expert, it would be extremely difficult to get close to an animal anyways. Not only that but how can you watch the wildlife in their natural habitat if you run them off? Staying your distance is best and so is staying still, so as to not draw attention to yourself
There are two ways to go watch wildlife: either by filming and capturing them on camera or by just watching them with optics like binoculars or spotting scopes. It depends on what your individual preferences are. Not only that, but equipment, in general, can be expensive so you should be aware of that as well.
Local guides can help give you the best chance of spotting an animal but it comes with a cost. Even Steve had to use a local guide sometimes. Trusting their knowledge will, more than likely, get you the best results. However, sometimes going out on your own can be rewarding, as long as you are careful not getting lost.
Some of these steps go back to educating yourself on these animals, but if you want to be like Steve, this is how you do it. Steve left an enormous impact on all of us for a reason. He inspired us all. His legacy is what we do with that inspiration and how we enjoy nature. This is just one way of doing that.
Jullian is from Sao Paulo, Brasil and moved to Texas when he was young. He now lives in Grand Prairie and attends the University of Texas at Arlington where he will be graduating with his bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Management in August 2019. In his off time, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends and taking his dogs on hikes. Some of his hobbies include hiking, rock climbing and fishing.