The Crocodile Moment That Had Steve Irwin Fans Seeing Red

Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin had a different sensibility about deadly animals than most people. For one, he liked them. He even admired them and saw beauty and awe where most people saw sharp teeth and cold, beady eyes. 

Irwin came by his love of animals — which transcended rational fear — naturally. According to Australia Zoo, ever since he was a kid, Irwin liked to catch animals. It didn't hurt that his family owned a reptile park where Irwin had more than usual access to crocodiles and was able to observe and learn about them up close, eventually leading to him catching problem crocs for the Queensland Government in Australia. 

All that crocodile lovin' eventually led to Irwin making a documentary with his wife, Terri, when they went together to trap and relocate a problem croc, and according to Australia Zoo, that documentary was the catalyst that led to the TV series that would see Irwin become a household name as "The Crocodile Hunter."  

The show ran in the U.S. on Animal Planet from 1996 to 2004. Its success can largely be attributed to Irwin's infectious passion for the animals he presented and his happy-go-lucky demeanor, but also for his daredevil antics. Irwin entertained, educated, and fascinated his audiences by doing things like picking up venomous snakes, wrestling crocodiles, and getting up close and personal with all manner of creatures that could potentially do him great harm, and we loved him for it until he took it too far. 


As previously mentioned, Irwin, who was killed in 2006 by a large stingray while filming a series called "Oceans Deadliest," had a different sensibility about dangerous animals than most people. It seems the public generally accepted him putting himself in harm's way for our entertainment but Irwin drew the ire of the public at large when video surfaced of him holding his 1-month-old son, Bob, in one arm while feeding a 13-foot crocodile with the other for the entertainment of the audience at his zoo in 2004, according to CNN

Australia's ABC News reported that Irwin apologized for the incident, saying he had a "safe working distance with that crocodile when that took place." He went on to defend the questionable move by saying, "I would be considered a bad parent if I didn't teach my children to be crocodile savvy because they live here — they live in crocodile territory."

Per ABC News, the whole thing was pre-planned and called "Bob's Croc Feeding Debut." In the video on YouTube you can see Irwin's wife, Terri, handing the baby over to Irwin for the stunt. While it may have been just a day at work for the Irwins, complaints flooded into both police and the Queensland Family Department, who investigated but did not press charges calling the incident "an error of judgment," CNN reported.