And the answer: Galapagos Islands.
Steve Irwin’s favorite tortoise, Harriet, likely knew Charles Darwin when she hatched in approximately 1831 on the Galapagos Islands. In 2006, she passed away at the age of 175, a few months before Irwin’s fatal accident. Although her date of birth is technically unknown, they shared a birthday on November 15th, which is now known as Steve Irwin Day. Irwin’s legacy lives on in his family’s continued care of the Australia Zoo and their shared love of khaki.
Crikey! For someone to love crocodiles as much as Steve Irwin did, you’d think they’d have to grow up in a swamp. Yet, that’s not far off from the origins of wildlife master Irwin, who grew up in the next closest place: a zoo. Irwin’s father was a herpetologist, meaning he studied reptiles for a living, near Queensland, Australia. There, his family opened the Beerwah Reptile Park, where Irwin helped run daily operations and feed the animals. Eventually, Beerwah Reptile Park would expand to become the Australia Zoo, and be taken over by none other than Irwin himself.
It was also at the zoo that Irwin met his future wife, Terri. In 1991, Terri took a trip to Australia and visited the Australia Zoo, where she first laid eyes on Irwin during one of his crocodile shows. It must have been love at first bite, because the couple went on to get engaged just four months later. Irwin’s legendary show The Crocodile Hunter followed promptly after—in fact, so promptly, that Terri and Irwin had to cut their honeymoon short to shoot the first episode of the show. In a 2001 interview, Terri describes:
“We dropped our honeymoon, we went to north Queensland, and we helped this crocodile and filmed a documentary on the premise that the cameraman just chases Steve around. Steve hadn't been to acting school, he had no preconceived notions. His background was exactly what you see on television, he's done that all his life. We thought we'd do one show. What happened was, it did really well, so we did a part two. And from then on, we found that Steve's natural behavior in the wild happens to be fascinating!”
Irwin’s personality was so enigmatic that The Crocodile Hunter got instantly picked up as a regular series on Animal planet. The show was a huge hit in America as well as in Irwin’s native Australia, but its popularity reached far beyond those two countries. The series was seen and beloved by more than 500 million people in 130 countries around the world.
Did you know?
Yesterday, November 15th, was Steve Irwin day! The legendary Irwin left a larger-than-life impact on conservation across the world, and lives on in the legacy of enthusiasm, passion, and care put forward in wildlife protection movements. And, in khaki. In fact, in 2009, a scientist at the Queensland Museum discovered a new type of tree snail and named it crikey steveirwini. Apparently, the creature was "a colorful snail, with swirling bands of creamy yellow, orange-brown and chocolate giving the shell an overall khaki appearance” and that “it was the khaki color that immediately drew the connection to the late Crocodile Hunter." Crikey indeed.
Learn more about the late, great Irwin here.