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September 05, 2006

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A Not-So-Sad Farewell to the "Crocodile Hunter"

On September 2, Steve Irwin, the self-styled “crocodile hunter” (“crocodile annoyer” would have been more like it) was killed when a stingray barb pierced his heart. Oddly, Mr. Irwin was not pestering the ray when it killed him. I heard on the radio that since Europeans came to Australia, only 10 people have been killed by stingrays. For Mr. Irwin to meet his end like this is rather like an astronomer stepping outside his observatory and getting beaned by a meteorite.

What I disliked about Mr. Irwin (beside the fact that he was an anti-hunter) was that his antics were mostly about him, and not the animals. As was said about the demented Timothy Treadwell, he didn’t accord them any respect. Yanking a snake off the ground by its tail might have entertained him and his audience, but I doubt if the snake appreciated the honor. Snakes, and other dangerous animals, are to be let alone. Unless you want to hunt them, and it’s legal. But they are not stooges for someone who is starved for attention.

There was also a certain amount of b.s. to Mr. Irwin. According to a quote of his: “I’ve worked with more dangerous snakes than anyone in the world and I’ve never been bitten. It’s a gift.”

Well crikey, mate, I don’t think so. From 1947 to 1985, a quiet, self-effacing Floridian named Bill Haas operated the Miami Serpentarium where he milked deadly snakes (more than 60 species) 70 to 100 times a day, every day. He was bitten 170 times. There is no way of knowing how many lives he saved. And he never had a television show.


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Yep....lets NOT mourn the loss of Mr. Irwin.........he died doin what he loved. What better way to go. Heck, should i be killed by a frigid river chasing trout/salmon or die hunting or filming deer(as if i could get so lucky)....i expect those that know me to throw a wild party and NOT mourn my passing.

All this besides the fact Mr. Irwin was a wildlife "antogonist" and Anti- hunter

Mike Diehl

I think any reasonable person would be sad to see a fellow die under these circumstances, even if one didn't know the guy at all or like his "style" or agree with his political views.

He was a voice for conservation especially habitat preservation, and so while I don't agree with his position on hunting IMO he did alot more good than harm. If I had to choose between him and many of the slob hunters I've seen -- guys who leave a trail of crap behind them as they stumble around the bush -- I'd take Irwin any day.

Matt in MN

I'm surprised to hear he was an anti. I could have swore I saw a show where he chased down and stabbed a pig to use for crock bait, with the help of his little dog.

That was quite a few years ago now, before he got really popular. Of course I was drinking more in those days, maybe it was someone else. Any one else remember seeing this?

Ralph the Rifleman

Well, sad to see a family man die, as such, but I agree his antics with wild animals were sometimes foolish for the sake of TV interest.I had hear his 2004 interview with Larry King,and his efforts for conservation seemed genuine, but HUNTING IS PART OF CONSERVATION..which seems to get lost in emotion. Unlike Mr.Treadwell, that was really off the deep end of sanity. By the way, I remember seeing an episode of Mr Irwin being bit by a snake once--it was hanging from his hand as he smilingly said,"wow that hurts!"


Ralph you are correct sir....i seen once where he got bit on the end of his nose....also seen him take a shot in the forearm from a venemous critter.

ray joplin

Never cared for his show.


It's sad to see another human being die regardless of political positions. I think Mr Irwin was over the top and his arrogance finally caught up with him. May his family find peace.

Matt Oursbourn

Petzal, I'm rather disgusted with you right now – "A Not-So-Sad Farewell to the 'Crocodile Hunter'" (head shaking). Perhaps a more fitting title would be "A Not-So-Sad Farewell to My Respect for Dave Petzal." Your degree of apathy towards the death of another human being is astonishing.
Maybe you don't agree with all of Irwin's ideas, but have some respect. You pobably don't give half a damn about what I think, but it needed to be said.


Isn't it kinda ironic this happened just when The Discovery Channel has started plugging the new OPEN SEASON movie? Gotta wonder if the producers think they're funny now.


Sorry, make that Animal Planet.


What do you expect from a person who exploits animals for a living? In the old days plenty of farmers were maimed and killed by horses and cattle. A few still are today. And those are "domesticated" critters. To paraphrase the late Peter Hathaway Capstick; Remember, everytime you go outdoors you are a piece of protein that represents a meal to something else, it could be an insect, or a bear but you are a potentional meal.


I saw Erwin’s show trailers a couple of times leaving me with the thought the guy tempted Fate in a big way fiddling with the critters he did. It’s like sticking part of your body in a meat grinder expecting nothing will ever turn the handle. Nature is very unforgiving to such foolishness. Now he leaves a widow and small family to fend for themselves. Pity.


Much like Timothy Treadwell, Irwin's approach in interacting with wild animals was for the most part irresponsible and outright dangerous.

With that said, he did raise awareness of core conservation issues and got millions of children and some adults thinking about the environment and what we can do to protect it for future generations.

While many people mourn his loss, and I do feel bad for his wife and children, I feel that his luck just ran out. When you play with fire - you'll eventually get burned.

Just a proof point supporting the park signs throughout the world - admire wildlife from a distance.

JA Demko

I didn't care for his show too much; my background in biology made me consider him to be little better than a carnival geek. None the less, it's not in me to enjoy his death.


I love the 1st Admendment, DON'T YOU?

"I may not believe in what you say, but I will die for your right to do so."


Dave Petzal

To everyone: I don't think that anyone, including myself, took pleasure in his death. You can't help but feel for the wife and kids he left behind, and wonder why, since he had no need to do so, he kept risking his life.

To Concerned Soldier: My goodness, a member of the armed forces quoting Voltaire? Are you enlisted or commissioned? What in the world is going on?

Mike Diehl

"Much like Timothy Treadwell, Irwin's approach in interacting with wild animals was for the most part irresponsible and outright dangerous."

That's nonsense. I've seen plenty of Irwin's shows and seen the Treadwell tapes. The two were light years apart. Irwin *knew* how to read animal behavior from visual and vocal cues. Far better I suspect than *any* of the snarks dissing on him now that he's dead.

Comparing Irwin to Treadwell is shallow sophistry at best.

Rod M.

I'm sorry Dave, but I must agree with Matt Oursbourn. Of the times I watched the show, I never thought he was disrespectful to any of the animals he encountered. I am sure he knew the risk involved, but I am sure he would have been doing the same things even if the camera were not shoved in his face. I'm OK with the non-hunter issue; we all have our convictions. I am personally opposed to all war, but I do not gloat or feel like soldiers "get what they deserve" if they die in the line of duty, because they wanted to serve their county. A human life has been lost, where is your heart? Perhaps recoil does more damage than we thought. It's time you take the rafter out of your eye before you bash someone for the splinter in theirs.

Dave Petzal

To Rod M. Without getting into my many personal failings, I can't help but think of the natufalist Jim Fowler, who has educated who knows how many people on wildlife of all sorts, in person and on tv, and done it with his dignity and that of the animals' intact. No leaping through swamps, no putting headlocks on salt water crocs, no wearing his gonads on the outside of his pants. No one will offer him a state funeral, but he has done a lot more for wild critters than Mr. Irwin.

Dave Petzal

Pardon my lack of spelling. It should read naturalist in the second line.

craig curtis

wow i guess your big bore blog paled in comparison to this one big d . crikey i liked the guy and you guys had to tell me hes an anti. shoot hate it when that happens. still if i had to choose between rosie o or the crock antagonizer guess it would have to be irwin , and i hope his wife doesnt read your blog david come on lets get back to your specialty . i hate antis with every fiber of my being but the lord just doesnt let me jump on this band wagon R.I.P.

Mike Diehl

It's not like showing respect for Irwin's accomplishments demeans or diminishes the accomplishments of Jim Fowler or any other naturalist be they famous .. like Louis Agassiz or Jane Goodall or Jack Hanna... or relatively unknown. There's plenty of room for honoring decent people who have done alot for wildlife in each their own way.


How easy it is to bash a man with bigger balls than all the rest of us. For me I shall miss Mr. Irwin and his antics.


David E. Petzal,

Congratulations!!! You just lost a subscriber. FOREVER!!! Whether or not you agree with all of his environmental views, how can you celebrate anyones death? As an avid fisherman and hunter, I'll share the woods and water with Steve, way before I would share anything with you. Even if I can't hunt it. You self conceded pompous A$$. You obviously think anyone that apposes any of your opinions deserves death. To bad there aren't more Steves and less Davids in this world. There would be a lot more Love and less hate. And way more natural beauty!! Do you think that snake would prefer a tail tug or death? What about that last animal you watched on TV getting shot. A tug on the tail or getting shot? Don't get me wrong, I harvest animals too, but I haven't lost sight of the beauty of conservation that surrounds me everytime I do so. And the beauty of every animal species as well as the individual animal I harvest. For the TABLE!!! Not to hang on the wall. 0 on the wall, and a freezer full.

Richard A. Smith

Steve Irwin was a showman, above all. Perhaps he was a fine naturalist and did some good while he harassed the animals, but it was irresponsible of him to continue placing himself in danger with a wife and 2 kids at home. It's unfortunate that he died (and kind of ironic, the way it happened), but it is profoundly sad that a lovely lady and her beautiful children are now without the man they loved.

Petzal, you're unkind and insensitive.

Having said that, however, the flip side is that there's one less anti-hunter in the world.

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