The Untold Truth Of Steve Irwin's Son, Robert

All across the world, Steve Irwin was a household name through the '90s and early 2000s. He was the champion of all animals thought to be mean, ugly, slimy, and dangerous, working his conservation efforts through his TV show "The Crocodile Hunter." He taught children and curious adults that even the most dangerous animals were nothing to fear if you treated them with respect. He showed them in a new light meant to educate away our worry and convince us to care about even the lowliest of creatures, to save them and their natural environments. Irwin, in an unfortunately ironic turn of events, died when one of the animals he cared so dearly about, a massive stingray, attacked the Crocodile Hunter, piercing his heart with a barbed stinger. But Irwin didn't exit this world without leaving a few gems behind, namely his Australia Zoo, a legacy of conservation efforts, and his children.

His second child, Robert Irwin, has become quite the interesting young person in his own right. With a father like Steve, it would be hard not to. Being born and raised in a world full of dangerous, beautiful, and interesting animals has led Robert to follow in Steve's footsteps in some ways while accomplishing other feats his father probably never imagined. Granted, like with all lives, not every aspect of Robert's was a shining pearl (though the majority seems to have been), but nearly all of it is fascinating.

A stunt his father used him in changed Australian law

In 2005, a new law entered the Queensland books. It states that neither children nor adults who haven't been properly trained are to be allowed in the enclosures of crocodiles, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. Seems like something that should've been in the guidelines to begin with, but nobody must've thought it would be an issue until a famous stunt was pulled by Steve Irwin, using the then-infant Robert.

The incident involved Steve feeding one of his favorite crocs, what the Independent says was a 13-ft creature by the name of Murray. Irwin kept the animal at arm's length while feeding it raw chicken. Robert was tucked in his other arm, facing partially away. Things got a bit dicey after the croc slipped back in the water and Steve began to dance infant Robert near the water's edge, the Crocodile Hunter's eyes locked on the water for any sign of the creature reemerging.

Though some have definitely deemed the act "irresponsible behavior," Steve, the man who had more practical knowledge of crocodiles than probably anyone else alive, thought otherwise. In an interview following the incident, he explains Robert was never in any danger and that the "stunt" had become a tradition meant to acclimatize the Irwin children to dangerous animals from a young age. It must have worked, too, seeing how comfortable Robert is around the beasts these days.

Robert Irwin was raised to be a conservationist

It's not to be totally unexpected that Robert Irwin was raised in a way that aligned with his father's work. After all, Steve expanded the work his own father did in conservation and with the Australia Zoo. It started with Robert's upbringing, which was a little unique. The child was homeschooled ... at the zoo. Obviously, this provided him with all the tools a young mind would need if it wanted to mold itself to conservation work, and according to an interview he did with The West Australian back in 2013, the kid really dug the curriculum. He and his sister, Bindi, each had a private teacher of their own as well as a special teacher who would travel with them when they were on the road filming. Sure, the kids underwent a regular curriculum, too, but with the added benefit of hands-on training in wildlife conservation. How could Robert, who resembles his father in so many ways, not move forward with the specific educational path before him?

Of course, as of now, the young Irwin has followed this conservation path, deviating only here and there for other endeavors. Guinness World Records points out that Robert has been working with Wildlife Warriors, a conservation organization started by the Irwin family. He's not currently listed on the organization's website on the board of directors like his sister, who's already the Australia Zoo's CEO, but we wouldn't be surprised if that changed soon.

He's an impressive photographer

You can't talk about Robert Irwin without also talking about his skills with a camera. From just about the time he was able to hold one, as he and his family discuss with Guinness World Records, the kid was snapping pictures of animals at every turn, and the encounters were ample, as he had access to more animals at the zoo than most of us will see in our lifetimes. You'll notice Robert's wildlife photography, also a part of his work in conservation, is the only aspect of his art anyone seems to discuss, and his website lists the awards he's won for his nature and wildlife photography. But the teen conservationist has so much more to offer with a lens.

Flipping through the galleries on the site, you'll find landscape and architecture photography next to his wildlife work. Robert's camera captures the way the sunset reflects off giant rock plateaus and the beauty of looking up a tree with a fisheye lens. He likewise amplifies the wonder in man-made structures and the humanity in people he photographs. While he's still young, his work is already making a splash. Of course, most of his published stuff has to do with animals, and he's the primary photographer for the Australia Zoo's magazine Crickey. That's a serious feat.

He spends plenty of time in front of the camera, too

With a photography résumé as long as Robert Irwin's, it's easy to think he spends all of his time behind the working end of his camera, but we assure you, he spends plenty of time on both sides of the lens. In fact, his list of TV appearances is probably longer than the one of his photographs, and it's equally diversified.

The listings on his IMDb page indicate that he's appeared on just about every talk show known to man. "Entertainment Tonight," "The Kelly Clarkson Show," "Larry King Now," "Good Morning America," you name it. He's also competed alongside his sister in "Celebrity Family Feud." Then, of course, he's grown up on camera in all of the Irwin family TV shows, such as "Irwin Family Adventures" and more documentaries than you could likely count if you used both your fingers and your toes. And those aren't even the more astonishing credits the kid has to his name.

In 2010, Robert appeared in the film "Free Willy: Escape from Pirate's Cove" as a pirate boy, giving Irwin his first acting credit. And he's also credited twice as a producer: once on "Irwin Family Adventures" and again on "Crikey It's the Irwins: Robert to the Rescue." Both credits came in 2021, making the teenager a producer at age 17.

He doesn't want to be just another Steve Irwin

Coming from a family that was already famous when you got there definitely can't be easy for a number of reasons. You grow up in the limelight and don't really get a choice in the matter. Then, when you try to make a name for yourself, your accomplishments are endlessly compared to those of your famous relatives. In this case, Robert Irwin has an added hurdle in that he's following a similar career path as his late, world-renowned father. For Robert to make his own name in the field of conservation, he has a giant shadow to navigate beyond, and he wants the world to know that's exactly what he's trying to do.

You can't find information on the younger Irwin without seeing comments like "He's growing up to be just like his dad," and it's this sort of thing that prompted the teen conservationist to make a few comments of his own to the Courier Mail (via the Daily Mail). "I don't want be exactly like Dad, I don't want to be Dad," a 13-year-old Robert told the publication, "but I do want to continue his legacy."

Robert goes on to say he wants to make his father proud, and part of doing that is caring less about fame and fortune and more about the wildlife and environment he's trying to protect.

He created a book series at age 9

Kids are full of stories that are almost as entertaining as when an unexpected swear word rolls off their tongue. They're a few years from having all of that childlike creativity squashed out of them by the 9-to-5 world of adulthood. Steve Irwin's son, however, had the means to get his young mind's creativity into print. This is yet another wild accomplishment of Robert's, especially when you consider that he was only 9 years old at the time.

According to the Australia Zoo's bio of Robert, he co-created and did some of the illustrations for the "Robert Irwin: Dinosaur Hunter" series. Some sources claim the young Irwin either wrote the books or provided all the illustrations for the series, but if you check out the book's info on the Penguin website, you'll see Robert worked alongside illustrator Lachlan Creagh, who worked on both his own book series and other authors' popular titles.

So what if Robert's stories were helped along or not? The fact that his ideas are now in print is more of an accomplishment than most adults could ever hope to pull off.

He helped his brother-in-law propose

Steve Irwin's children seem to be as close as any brother and sister can be. It may be a natural bond or a product of circumstance. They grew up spending much of their time working at the Australia Zoo or on the road, where it's easier to bond with the people around you than with complete strangers. For Robert Irwin, one of the people around him was Bindi.

Here's a bit of a cute story that really drives home the closeness Robert has for his sister: Country Rebel details how the younger Irwin sibling helped his brother-in-law propose to his sister. Apparently, being the talented photographer Robert is left him in charge of taking the proposal pictures, but Robert wanted to do it right. He set up his camera in the bushes on a timer and rehearsed the proposal with Chandler Powell, his sister's husband. Who was Robert in this scenario? Well, he was a stand-in for Bindi. The image he snapped to pinpoint the location highlights just how into the idea the teenager was, as Robert feigns surprise at Powell's open ring box while the man is down on one knee. Then came the actual proposal, for which Robert hid in the bushes to capture the perfect candid shot of the couple.

After Bindi said "yes" and the wedding rolled around, Robert had another important part to play. With Steve watching from whatever glorious personal heaven conservationists are blessed with, Robert walked his sister down the aisle.

Robert is named after the Irwin who started it all

As individuals, we grow into our names as we develop our personalities, attaching to them everything that we are, and sometimes, those names can appear to have near-mystical properties. Take Robert Irwin, whose name seems to be entangled in the strings of fate's vast and unpredictable web. Robert is named after Steve Irwin's father, Bob Irwin, which, given the two's shared passions, could easily lead one to believe he was destined to enter conservation work from the get-go.

Bob Irwin is the one who started it all. Well, everything the Irwin family is known for, at least. From humble roots as a plumber, according to his book "The Last Crocodile Hunter," Bob Irwin would follow a driving passion that would raise him to great heights within the world of wildlife conservation. Besides being a well-respected herpetologist who created conservation strategies that were years ahead of his time, he also started the Australia Zoo, which he later gave to his son before it came to reside under the ownership and care of Steve Irwin's wife and children. Of course, back then, the zoo was known by the name Beerwah Reptile Park.

From what Steve said in an interview with Reptile Magazine, it was his father and mother who ingrained a love for wildlife in him "from the womb" that would only grow until their son shared his passion with millions of viewers from all over the world.

Robert Irwin has an astonishing net worth

Yes, Robert Irwin is a celebrity, and yes, Steve Irwin was an even bigger celebrity, so you'd expect him to have some money. That doesn't mean you might not be shocked when you discover the 17-year-old is worth literal millions. What might shock you even further is to know that Robert makes money from several different areas, not all of which have to do with his family's fame (though many of them do). 

If you know the Irwins, you know they have the Australia Zoo and the numerous shows and documentaries that have supported them since Steve passed away, but the young Irwin also has money coming in from book sales and his photography career, as well.

Now, to the numbers. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Robert is worth a whopping $3 million, but Wealthy Persons puts his worth around $4 million. Either way you look at it, $3-4 million is a giant amount of money for a teenager, and both sources (Celebrity Net Worth and Wealthy Persons) give the same numbers for Robert's sister Bindi. It looks like having skills and a father who's loved by an entire generation can have some serious perks.

He graduated from high school when he was only 15 years old

Growing up in front of the camera changes the type of upbringing you have, and according to Robert Irwin in his comments to the New York Post, both he and his sister have been on film quite literally since birth. Everything you do when you're a child of fame is scrutinized by the public. Even things as simple as going to school can become an odd activity. Add in a healthy dash of traveling so your parents can film, and you end up with a hectic school life. For Robert and Bindi Irwin, that type of schooling translated into personal teachers and, apparently, an exceptionally speedy education.

According to Yahoo! Lifestyle, Robert managed to graduate high school at 15 years old while also earning two TAFE certificates that certify his knowledge in particular areas of a job field. Graduating that early isn't easy to pull off — it would take years of condensed coursework to do so — but it's made that much harder when you're juggling all the projects Robert had going on in his life. Between his photography, work at the zoo, and his life in television, much of Robert's learning would've had to have been accomplished on the move. Well done, dude.

He's had more serious injuries from mountain biking than the animals he works with

With a life in wildlife conservation similar to his father, Steve Irwin, you'd expect Robert to take the occasional bite, thwap, or sting from the dangerous animals he works with. You'd even expect the teen to get a serious injury every now and then, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Since he's a celebrity, the media jumps on just about any injury Robert sustains, but when it comes to work with wild animals, the worst he's gotten is a bite to the face that's strikingly similar to a famous image of his father (via "Today Show Australia"). Of course, Robert has had a serious injury. Just not from teeth or claws.

In 2020, the teenage conservationist was having a go at one of his favorite pastimes, mountain biking, when, according to Honey Celebrity, he was tossed from his bike. You know, the one thing you don't want to happen while flying down the side of a mountain. Robert was then rushed to the hospital. The world learned of his injuries when he posted a photo to his Instagram. In his sling, covered with scrapes and small droplets of blood, Robert admitted to separating his shoulder. It's not an injury likely to cause much long-lasting harm, but it's far beyond anything he's ever received from any of the creatures he works with every day.

He shocked fans after a close call with a 12-foot crocodile

Back in February 2022, the Irwin family's show, "Crikey! It's the Irwins," aired a divisive season finale. In it, Robert Irwin goes inside the enclosure of a freshly moved male crocodile named Casper and attempts to feed him. Talking to ET, Irwin confessed he had no idea how Casper would react. Once in the enclosure, Casper began chasing Irwin, and the latter had no choice but to abort the feeding mission.

While Irwin admitted the moment was scary, he also commented that he enjoyed the experience: "For me, it's a really exciting adrenaline rush. For me, crocodiles have been my specialty and what I love to do is to work with these incredible animals because of my dad, he instilled that passion." But not all "Crikey!" viewers appreciated the episode. As Distractify reports, several people have called for Irwin to be canceled, accusing him of taking advantage of animals for entertainment. One comment said that Irwin is "Just like his dad, taunting and bothering animals for amusement." And another comment went on to accuse the whole Irwin family of making money from exploiting animals. However, a quick look at any of Robert Irwin's social media profiles or TV appearances demonstrates his deep love of animals and hard conservation work.

He is just as popular in the U.S. as he is in Australia

Since the mid-2010s, Robert Irwin has been growing in popularity in the United States. He has appeared on numerous TV shows, including an episode of "Family Feud" (where, as Hit reports, presenter Steve Harvey had trouble understanding his accent) and "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon. In 2017 alone, Irwin made four appearances on Fallon's show, allowing the excited (and at times, scared) talk show host to cuddle baby bears, hold snakes, and feed a baby kangaroo named Hazel, as well as blow in her face as a way of saying hello.

In this "Tonight Show" episode, Fallon confesses that the previous episode featuring Irwin had amassed an amazing 54 million views, earning the audience's heartfelt applause. Indeed, America seems to appreciate Robert Irwin's passion for animals just as much as his Aussie fans. Fallon himself asked Irwin if he's been getting good feedback from his TV appearances, to which Irwin replied, "Absolutely, everyone's been so nice, so thank you very much, it's been a great experience." Of course, Irwin's regular appearances on "The Tonight Show" are not without regular comic relief (such as the moment Kevin Hart curses at a baby ostrich), which helps Irwin stand out as a young, passionate conservationist who also makes learning about animals fun.

Robert Irwin dabbles in NFTs

In June 2022, Robert Irwin launched Australia Zoo's very first NFT (non-fungible token) series in an effort to raise money for more conservation efforts, as Sunrise reports. The series contains pictures of crocodiles designed as members of the Irwin family. Irwin confessed, "I never thought we would be at the forefront of NFTs but here we are, it's an exciting time." He admitted he felt cool for doing this.

Ever since he started appearing on television, Irwin has been adamant that he loves nothing more than helping animals. And this time, it's no different: "I'm so passionate about wildlife conservation, so any way we can support that we welcome with open arms." According to Sunrise, 2,000 versions of the "Warrior Croc" are available — that is the NFT inspired by the late Steve Irwin himself.