Snakes don’t get a fair shake in this world, Jeff Corwin, the host of The Jeff Corwin Experience on Animal Planet laments about his favorite animal deemed by him “the pinnacle of evolution”. Corwin has seen many of these spectacularly slithery reptiles, and thousands of other contenders for his top spot over the years he has traveled near and far to educate viewers. After rattling off some of the most spectacular corners of the world he has been to, like Tasmania, Borneo, Paraguay, and Ecuador, Corwin pauses emphatically. “Bigger than all of them, though, I love exploring the US, and I’m reminded of that every time we do a show in Louisiana, Florida or Alaska.” Corwin calls himself a naturalist, “what I consider an interpreter of the natural world,” working to “build a bridge between people and the environment around them.”
His unyielding taste for the wild ever-evident, Corwin reflects excitedly, “there’s nothing like being in a piro canoeing down to a swamp covered by duck weed with Spanish moss and cypress, and a 14 ft gater head disappears somewhere beneath your 11 foot canoe.” Yikes.
Traveling over 10 months a year for the show, Corwin has been just about everywhere, except, he says the Congo and Russia. Corwin laughs as he adds to the ‘never been’ list Italy and France, joking, “unfortunately no one is paying me to go to Rome or Paris to find the urban wildlife.”
When not traveling, Corwin relaxes close to home, admitting, “my vacation is at my house. The best summer for me is to be at home in a boat in the water or digging for clams.” At any one time, the Corwin household is bolstered by at least eight snakes, turtles, lizards and a fox, but Corwin warns that “exotic animals are not pets.” Rather, Corwin uses the ‘exotics’ (defined by him as “anything that isn’t dependant on a human being for survival”) as ‘ambassadors’ for his wildlife lectures.
Always working to teach people about their environment and the wild, the Massachusetts native recently opened an interactive exhibit, Eco-Zone, at the South Shore National Science Center. The exhibit replicates the quaking bogs, marshes and animals found in America’s Northeast. With pride and excitement, Corwin explains, “basically, I want people to say, ‘This happens in my backyard?’ And it does.”