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BIOGRAPHY & INFO

 

D.O.B                                     22 April 1973
Hair Colour                    Brown
Eye Colour                      Brown
Status                                      Married to Mireya Mayor
Height                            5'10"
Lives                              Dartmoor, England
Studied                           BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences at Exeter University (1993)


Nick Baker has been a presenter on The Really Wild Show since 1996. In his most  recent TV series, Nick Baker's Under the Skin on BBC Two, Nick literally attempted to get under the skin of animals such as grizzly bears, penguins, rattlesnakes and rhinos - examining their habitats and behaviour in his own unique way.

In 1999 Nick worked on two science series. He presented Twister and joined the presenting team of the BBC One science series Tomorrow's World. Other ventures have included co-presenting BBC Two's Watch Out with Simon King.

Nick is a regular contributor to Radio 4's The Natural History Programme and writes for an array of publications including: the BBC Wildlife Magazine, Wildlife Watch, RSPB's Bird and Birdlife Magazines, the Young Telegraph, The Bug Club Magazine, Wild About Animals, and FBX Magazine.

Nick lives on Dartmoor along with a growing menagerie of small animals including spiders, scorpions, stick insects, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies and moths. He keeps pet leeches in the fridge at home and often feeds them by attaching them to his leg! Among his favourites are cane toads and a collection of hissing cockroaches.

Nick graduated from the University of Exeter in 1993 with a degree in Biological Sciences, but has been a keen naturalist from an early age. He co-founded Exeter University's national Bug Club and was a member of the Royal Entomological Societyís Youth Development Committee.

As a field naturalist, he has been involved in research into the high brown Fritillary butterfly on Dartmoor and with badgers, also in Devon. He regularly tours schools with his animals to educate school children and often works with the RSPB.

Nick is a celebrated author, having written Baker's Bug Book and the Natural History Almanac for the UK. He has also been involved in Channel 5 and Discovery Channel productions and has worked for National Geographic.

But his talents are not limited to natural history. Nick also manages to fit in competitive cycling, and as a self-taught harmonica player, percussionist and singer, he regularly performs in jazz and blues bands.

Source: BBC Press Office


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Favourite animal
I don't really have one - but if I've got to narrow it down, anything with more than one pair of legs! Wasps and ants are probably as committed an answer as you're going to get!  

Favourite food
Squid! And chips!

Favourite colour
Black or blue.

Motto for life
If you're gonna do it - do it with passion!

Best moment on The Really Wild Show
Having sand flicked in my face by a nesting leatherback turtle.

Worst moment on The Really Wild Show
Being savaged by a squirrel! And eaten by 500 mosquitoes!  

Most exotic place you've been to
Michaela's kitchen! Besides that, I love South and Central America. It's stuffed with wildlife - beautiful, rare and just plain ugly.  

Most embarrassing moment
One of my long lost cockroaches crawling out of my suit collar during a dinner party! It was a wonderful moment for me, shame not everyone shares my love for the six-legged.  

Describe yourself in one sentence
An extroverted introvert.  

Distinguishing features
Missing ponytail.  

Football team you support
Oh come on, naturalists can't play football.  

Hobbies
Mountain biking, singing, playing my harmonica (badly), chasing wild animals on my own without a film crew. 

Greatest fear
That gorillas become extinct. If we can't let our nearest relative live on the planet with us then there's no hope for the rest!  

Previous jobs
Behind the till on a shop specialising in Winnie the Pooh, a labourer for a roofing company and chasing rare butterflies for English Nature. Oh, and a spot of gardening...  

Who would you most like to meet?
Gerald Durrell - he wrote my Bible "The Amateur Naturalist"
                            Nick Baker's Signature
BBC Web Chat - May 2005

Did you keep lots of pets when you were young?  
I kept them in a cage with one of my mum's old stockings stretched over the top of it. We went away on holiday and the stockings laddered.

Now that you are 'grown-up', a well known naturalist and broadcaster, do you still keep pets?
I've got 3 tanks of frogs ... a turtle in the kitchen ... a spare bedroom full of snakes ... plus about 80 tarantulas, various scorpions ... (and much more).

How did you become a wildlife presenter?
I was chasing butterflies around down here in Devon ... and at the same time I was setting up a club for kids called the 'Bug Club'.

What advice can you give the young adventurers before they face the cameras in the Amazon as reporters?
When you look at a camera you've got to forget about the fact that it could be broadcast to millions of people ... have a one-sided conversation with a pepperpot!

Having visited the Amazon rainforest, what is it that excites you about this part of the world?
There's this mind blowing diversity and it gives itself away at night, because that's when everything starts making noises ... sounds like a mobile phone factory going mad!

The children taking part in Serious Amazon will help the Pink River dolphins which you have seen. What are they like?
It's just phenomenal, it really is a magical experience ... pink river dolphins are bizarre, they're a weird shape, but on top of that they are pink, marshmallow pink.

From your own experience what tips can you give to survive in the tropical conditions?
Look after your feet ... take time to acclimatise ... because you will be hot and you do have to stay hydrated

What was your role in the selection process for Serious Jungle?
For example we'd push someone through a door into a room where I'm sitting with a big tarantula on my hand.


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BBC Web Chat - June 2003

Which animal you've worked with is your favourite and why?
For me it's got to be the wasps. I love them, they're brilliant! They come in loads of colours, their architecture and behaviour is fantastic!

What is the scariest thing you have ever come across?
It was when I had a bear checking me out in Alaska, and I couldn't defend myself. I didn't have as much as a twig on me to do anything with so I just had to accept the fact that I was being met by a bear on its terms!

How did you get into presenting nature shows?
It was a strange accident. I've been chasing animals for years. I started working for local wildlife trusts, then I was the local bug man on Radio Devon. One thing led to another! But you have to make your luck - I worked hard at it.

What do you still really wish to do?
There are two wishes for me. I definitely want to go into the mountains of Japan or China and meet a wild, giant salamander. The other creature is the pink fairy armadillo, the smallest armadillo in the world...

If there was one creature you could save from extinction above all others, what would it be?
It's difficult to answer. Often the animals that get support are the cute ones. I'd prefer to save whole ecosystems, like oceans or rainforests. So many are vanishing. We're overfishing species in the ocean we don't even know about - for example, the European eel, which we've never even seen laying eggs or mating.

What is the most serious injury you have ever sustained from an animal?
I got a nasty bite once from my mate's gerbil! I've been hurt by a few things - perhaps the most embarrassing was a squirrel that attacked me during the Really Wild Show. It bit my finger!

Do you have any pets?
We're on the road quite a lot so pets can become quite impractical. But I breed a lot of exotic animals. I have about 30 constrictor snakes - pythons, boas, things like that. Also several turtles - large ones that aren't wanted by other people. Snapping turtles, alligator snapping turtles, matamata. And cockroaches, stick insects, scorpions, and lots of tarantulas as well!

It's more a breeding project than anything else - I keep them in a barn!

 


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BBC Web Chat - 16.07.02
How long did u sleep 4 when u got home?
I didn't sleep much because my feet hurt so much. I was in quite a lot of pain for a while afterwards.  

Whatís the most embarrassing thing thatís happened to you on tv?
Nick says when I had to take my clothes off to dive into a river to swim with piranhas and I had an awful pair of trunks on which didnít do anything for my figure!  

When you were running the Marathon des Sables, what did you do to keep your mind occupied? Did you find yourself humming any irritating songs?!
I found myself developing 'head worms' - any songs stayed there. They played awful music at the start. I remember 'Many rivers to cross' in particular which was a good one.  

How did you get involved in the marathon?
A friend called and suggested what I thought was marathon in a saab which sounded fun - it was the marathon des sables [Baker in the Oven follows Nick's race
across the Sahara - webmistress]

Do you have any pets?
About 16 snakes, including pythons and boas, over 80 tarantulas, an axolotle, catfish, scorpions, alligator, snapping turtle and a common snapping turtle, a couple of geckos, giant centipedes, african landsnails, and a fridge full of leeches - and there's more...  

What does your mum think of you having a house full of creepy crawly, slithery slimy creatures?
She doesn't care any more it's not her house.

Now that you have marathoned in the Saharan extreme, would you consider the arctic?
Yes definitely. There's a big run in Canada that I'd like to try.  

What is your band called?
Blu Groove. It's a terrible name, not my idea.  

Where can we see basking sharks in the UK?
Hopefully where I'm going tomorrow - Cornwall.  


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BBC Web Chat - 13.02.01

What has been your most memorable moment whilst filming the show?
It has to be filming rhinos in Kenya - I'm quite nervous of rhinos now.  

Is there a particular place you've never been to that you'd like to visit?
I'd love to go to Madagascar - there's some reptiles there I'd love to see. I'd love to see an Aye-aye too. I used to have nightmares about them but I know they're not scarey now.

Are you ever scared of animals ?
When I go to exotic places it's often the people that make me feel more threatened.

Have you ever held a rattle snake?
Yes I have - I was in Texas and I found it under a rock. Beats the average woodlouse. A friend keeps them in this country but I haven't held them yet... 

Have you had any embarrassing moments with animals?
An otter whipped my swimming trunks off once! Could have been nasty.  

What is your fav band?
Offspring, because they had a cockroach on their album cover.  

Where do u see ur self in 10 years time?
Hopefully doing the same thing but with more bugs, fewer fluffy animals.  

Is there anything about your job that you don't like?
All the jabs you have to have when you go filming. And I hate flying - it's unnatural for humans!  

I've noticed that you wear two chains - one with a spider on, but what is on the other one?
It's a shark's tooth - it was given to me after filming great whites in South Africa.  

What was the bug you ate like?
It was an interesting experience. I'm into eating bugs - it was a beetle grub - bit like nutty flavoured shrimp.  

If u weren't a tv presenter, what do u think u would do?
I'd be doing the same thing off camera - I'm a naturalist and that's the only job for me.

What pets do you have at home?
I have a axolotle (salamander), a catfish, a giant snapping turtle, 80 tarantulas, 2 boa contrictors, a reticulated python and a plethora of cockroaches and creepy crawlies.  

If you had to describe yourself as an animal, which animal would you?
I would love to be a peregrine falcon. They live long and fast and they're protected in this country.  

What do you belive to be the most intelligent animal?
It's not us, because few animals mess up their own habitat so they can't live there any more. Has to be a gorilla or a chimp.  

Have u got hurt yet by an animal?
Yes, it usually involves being bitten, of all the toxic poisonous big-toothed animals I've worked with, a gerbil bite was the worst.  

Who looks after your animals when u are on holiday?
My neighbours and friends. They have to be good ones.  

In your life, what's been the most rewarding experience or something that you'll never forget?
Leather-backed turtles laying eggs on a beach in Costa Rica - that moment when the female swims off into the ocean. That's probably the last time she'll ever be seen by humans.

If you could turn your friend into a animal which one would it be and why?
I've got lots of friends that don't like spiders - I'd love to turn them into spiders so they know what it's like to be hated.  

What is your favorite food?
I'm a big fan of calamari and of course the occasional beetle grub.  

Who was ur idol when u was ickle?
There are several but Gerald Durrell inspired me more than most. Attenborough, of course, is God.

What famous woman would you most like to be deserted with on an island?
If she was real, it would be Lara Croft - otherwise Danni Minogue.  

Wots the weirdest thing you have ever done?
It has to be dangling out of a helicopter above 200,000 penguins - I hit my head on the way back up.  

What happened to your hair?
Someone actually told me it looked stupid. It ended up on the floor of a hair emporium.  

Are you a beer or a lager man?
Definitely beer.  

Do you have a Girlfriend?
Yes, I have. [Lucky Girl!- webmistress].

Do you have hassles with your contact lenses in hot/cold places?
Yes. I had one drop out in the middle of a rain forest in Australia and we had to drive the car in and turn on the lights to find it. I had to suck the dirt off and put it back in and my optician nearly murdered me [see Nick's Quest - Duck Billed Platypus]

What do you do in your spare time, if you have any?
I like to play harmonica in my band. I like reading and playing with my snakes.  

Were you a geek at school?
Yes, definitely.

What car do you drive?
I drive a Jeep Wrangler
[in black  - webmistress].

What is ur favourite film?
I like Bladerunner - favourite film of all time [mine too! - webmistress]. Although Microcosmos comes a close second.  

What was your first encounter with a wild animal?
The first memorable one was blue tits on my nut feeder when I was little. After that ants held my attention. My mum was pretty wild when she found out I was breeding silk moths in the wardrobe!  

What is your faviorite domestic animal?
My favourite domestic animal has to be a duck. I had one when I was little and he was quite a character.  

Are there any aspirations you would like to achieve in this life (...or the next!)?
I'd like to cut a record and to see mountain gorillas surviving.  

Have you got a nickname, if not did you have a nickname at school?
I've got several. The printable ones include noodle and mo because I used to sing a song particularly badly called 'Mojo Working'.  

What do you do with all your tarantula skins?
I keep the good ones. But if anyone is interested I'll certainly sell them for Children in Need.

How big was your camera crew in oz?
Three excluding me - sound man, camera man and researcher.

What is your favourite book on the natural world?
I really really like The Amateur Naturalist by Gerald Durrell. It was my bible as a kid and I still use it today.  

Whats your favorite tv show?
My favourite TV show is Trigger Happy TV - I'm a massive fan.  

Who do you most admire?
I admire David Bowie for still being cool at his age. I really admire my mother and brother as well.

What kind of music do you play?
I play blues, jazz and funk.

 

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