Interview with Jeff Corwin

Finally. After nearly a week of unsuccessfully fiddling around with this video in various editors, failed upload attempts, and many frustrating moments of giving up… I got the following video of my interview with Jeff Corwin (given to me by the PR folks) converted and uploaded in its entirety (albeit in two parts though due to its size). Who knew that trying to convert a file from .mov to .avi/.wmv would be so incredibly difficult? I am so glad all of these video editing issues are behind me and I finally get to share the video that all of you have been asking me about.

Interview with Jeff Corwin: Part 1


Have you heard of Twitter and are you on there?

I am on Twitter. and I am unfortunate because everyone else got on twitter with my name before I got to. That’s the problem, there is either the Jeff Corwin from Animal Planet and Discovery or the Jeff Corwin who lives in Oman, Jordan. And I think I’m the real one. But it’s iamjeffcorwin at twitter.com.

What do you think about the whole Twitter Phenomenon?

I’m trying to get into it. You know you kind of get into it and then I forget about it for two weeks. But uh, it’s interesting. I kind of waited late to get on it. And now I’m actually in the process of collating that stuff and I’m actually creating a website called “Corwin Connect” and ultimately the mission of the website is to be sort of an omni-multimedia presence that allows people to connect to anything to do with nature wildlife and natural resources. Whether its what can I do with my kids this weekend to I want to greenify my house to I’m working on a report on this to I want to help this endangered species. So I’m a baby, I’m just getting my baby steps in. It’s a very exciting, overwhelming world.

Can you tell us more about the Lunch, Roar, and Score campaign? What is it and how can we get involved?

Sure. It’s a really fun contest. (Jeff then proceeds to tell me that my earbuds fell out of my ears- yeah, thanks Jeff you weren’t supposed to call me out like that ^_^) If you go to the Lunchables.com website um and you click on the Animal Planet Jeff Corwin icon you find your pathway into Lunchables Lunch, Roar, and Score. Basically it’s a fun contest. It’s accesible to families with their contestants their kids ages 6-17 and they can try to get in. Ten lucky winners. You have till May to qualify and win. And the ten winners and their families will join me this Fall where we will explore and visit the places that really helped inspired me and helped put me on the path to, to allow me to have the career that I have today. We’ll have a wonderful dinner, were one day we are going to go to a wonderful zoo called the Franklin Park Zoo and we will see the creatures that inspired me as a kid, we are going to go to the New England Aquarium and actually see the Sea Turtle that is still alive…this was when I was 8 years old and I’m now 18 (LOL Jeff, good try you can’t pull off the 18 look sorry dude). Oh no. So we are talking like 30 ya know how old so I’m 42, 42 minus 8 is what? Ya know so many years ago from my Dad being a police officers dropping me off at the New England Aquarium and seeing this incredible Sea Turtle who is still there but ultimately I feel animals have been a big part of my life so to be able to partner and team up and work with Lunchables to provide opportunities for these folks is really special.

What is your favorite animal and why?

Well I’ve always been a snake guy. I did my graduate work in bats. I’ve worked with all sorts of animals but I remember being a little kid being six years old this little city kid in a rural environment in a relatives backyard rolling over this log and seeing a snake for the first time. I didn’t even know what a snake was. But it was amazing, it was bizarre, it excited me, it terrified me, and I was just enthralled by it. And I knew that I would spend the rest of my time studying animals, learning about them, and having a career enveloped around them. And it was that snake as a little kid that I think inspired that journey.

What is an ideal first pet for a child?

I think pets are incredible responsibilities. I think a pet and I would like to think, I don’t even know if the word pet is right. I think this non-human, family member for however long it lives for a healthy long natural life with what it is as a species. You know, I think its a partnership. This “pet” gives you companionship and you have to give it safety and nurturment. I think its hard, I don’t think that’s something that is appropriate for me to tell others what to do. I believe pets should mostly be limited to domesticated animals. And I think that if your family is considering taking on that, the very BIG responsibility of a pet you should look at adoption. Cats or dogs or other animals that have had a bad situation and have you give them a chance for a new lease on life. I think for me is the best way. My daughter asks me everyday for a dog and we, my wife and I, decided not to. She’s not ready. Our families not ready. So we tell her to come back when she’s fifteen and she’s six.

Interview with Jeff Corwin: Part 2



Ok now I have some Twitter questions…

@lilylanecakes her 7 year old son, Alex, wants to know: Are there any carnivorous snakes?

All snakes are carnivorous. There are no vegetarian snakes, herbiferous snakes. All snakes are predators and they eat living or dead things. Animals that they hunt or fish, stuff like that. They are all flesh eaters.

@techpr wants to know: Do have animals have emotions or rather just states like excited, anxious, etc.?

Well those ARE emotions aren’t they? To be excited is an emotional response. It’s an interesting question and one that I get asked a lot. And I think, try not to be too philosophical and heavy here, we often look at human beings as what makes us unique is that we have emotions but few of us would doubt that when your dog looks happy to see you that he is indeed happy to see you. He’s not being a robot. When you see a cat with his hair raised up on the back of his head, back, and all that you know that that
animal is feeling fear. Emotions are a natural chemical response exhibited through behavior that we use for survival. Emotion of love to start families, defense to protect your family, territoriality, all these things. Emotions manifest themselves in different ways in different species. But I think human beings have their own unique lens for emotion but I do not think that emotions are unique to human beings. Does that make sense?
(yes, thanks Jeff!)

@designcoyote asks: What is your favorite bat experience? And what is your favorite bat?

My favorite bad experience? Jeff asked. I thought he said “bat” so I just ran with it but I really said “bat…b-a-t”. “Bat” and “Bad” sound too much alike apparently, especially with my thick southern accent ^_^
My favorite “bad” experience? Oh I don’t know. I have had moments that were very, very scary or nervous. Probably to me what was my most scary moment in my career was probably watching my hotel being burnt down by a Malakoff cocktail (sp?) in Cambodia during a riot and we realized we better get out of this hotel. Or being in an airplane, making an emergency landing in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in a C-130 because all of our hydrolic fluid had been lost. I wouldn’t say that those were my favorite moments but they certainly were bad and scary moments that ended up working out. But anyone that wins this contest I promise you that will not happen. There will be lots of fun and discovery.

What is your favorite bat? B-A-T?
My favorite bat would probably be Noctilio Leporinus, “the Bulldog Bat” from Central America. It can actually ellocate, it can find with its own sonar fish. It can predict when those fish are going to come up for a gulp of air. And it has these like harpoons for nails, it harpoons its prey and pulls it up into its wing. It’s just amazing. It’s a fish hunting bat.
Probably the Glossophagan Bats are these wonderful bats that are like hummingbirds. They drink nectar from flowers, and actually 50% of all the rain forest trees are pollinated by bats. Which is amazing. You think of bats in your hair and Halloween. Bats are incredibly important to agriculture and to ecology. In fact, at the Franklin Park zoo when we go there we are going to see a behind the scenes of a great bat exhibit.
And the other bat that I love is Dismodus Rotundus, he is THE bat that feeds off of mammals. He actually sneaks in, and he has sharp teeth that are razor-sharp and he’ll actually prick your skin. Painlessly because his saliva has an antiseptic so there is no pain. And it is also an anticoagulant. He is the true vampire and actually drinks mammalian blood. And if you actually look behind you on your pillow there is one crawling right towards you
(ha ha ha, very funny Jeff).

What are some fun activities that kids can do to get involved with animals?

Excellent question. I think we need to look at that question. I think kids and families, these are moments of discovery. The adult that you are today are based on that very special or not so special moment when you were a kid. I think when kids, animals are a natural implementation that when in the right environment create wonderful, well rounded adults. And really makes us really open our eyes up to the big world around us. I think when you can go in your backyard, whether you go to a zoo, or you take your kids on a safari, when you go in your backyard with your kid in your environment you take the time with a magnify glass and field guide and the sense of awe and respect for nature, allow yourself to become the kid as well, and make those moments of discovery. Whether its a lion on a safari or a rollie-pollie under a rock, learn about that world. I think those are magical moments that inspire the better parts of us.

So you’ve partnered with Lunchables, we want to know what your favorite Lunch Meat is?

My favorite lunch meat is probably honey smoked turkey. And I’ve had it once and when we are in the field and I’m like, because I like to eat lean and mean in the field so I usually say get me a pickle and some honey smoked turkey. And people come back and say that they have smoked turkey or honey glazed turkey and I’m like I’ve had it once. Everyone once in a while someone will come back and say “Oh I’ve got the honey smoked turkey”. For me that is my favorite. With pickles. I fill it will pickels, onions, and lots of mustard without any bread and I just roll it up and eat it. You’ll definitely want to engage me afterward with a mint and maybe stay down wind.

My last question comes from my husband: Letterman or Leno?

To be on? The show? I’ve never been on David Letterman’s show but I’ve been on Jay Leno’s show quite a lot.
What was that like?
It was pretty good. It was fun, ya know it’s great your on the Tonight Show plugging your work it’s pretty good you think how many people get to go on the Tonight Show. Yeah it’s been fun. I would love to do David Letterman. I love his humor, I think he’s really funny. But you know what was really fun? I’ve been on Conan like 2 or 3 times and no one will ever get to say that again. Who knows? Unless he goes somewhere else. I really liked being on his show it was a lot of fun as well.

Thank you, Jeff Corwin, for taking the time to talk to me (us). We have learned a lot and look forward to your many adventures!

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Disclosure: I was not paid to conduct this interview with Jeff Corwin. I was asked, amongst other bloggers, if I would like to participate which I was more than happy to do.