For more than 50 years, Sir David Attenborough has been making amazing programs about the natural world starting with Zoo Quest in 1954. With his encyclopedic knowledge, calm voice and bags of enthusiasm, generations around the world grew up with his broadcasters and have learned lots of things along the way. Today I’m going to bring you some interesting facts about this amazing man.
# David Attenborough was born in the same year as Queen Elizabeth II
Sir David was born in 1926 in London. The queen was also born in the same year. He and his two brothers spent their childhood in Leicester on the campus of University College. Their father was the principal of that university.
# His brother is in Jurassic Park!
Lord Richard Attenborough is the older brother of Sir David Attenborough. He grew and became a successful film producer and actor. He starred in world-famous films such as the Jurassic Park film series!
# He studied Natural Sciences at University!
Instead of following his brother and becoming an actor, David went to Clare College in Cambridge, UK to study Natural Sciences. In 1947 he graduated and served national service in Royal Navy for two years.
# He didn’t have a TV when he got a job at the BBC!
The first job he applied in the BBC is the position of radio talk producer. But he was rejected. But he joined BBC Television in 1952 as a trainee. At there, he started the world-famous TV series which is known as Zoo Quest. It was a series that documented about the live animals living in zoos as well as in wild. When he joined BBC he didn’t have a TV set. In those days most of people didn’t have one.
# He has done lots of different jobs!
Throughout his lifetime, Sir David Attenborough has done many different jobs. He was at Royal Navy for two years, worked as a television presenter, director, author and a narrator. During his career, he created many award-winning books and programs.
# He is a Guinness World Record Holder!
Sir David Attenborough owns two Guinness World Records. One of them for having the longest career as a TV presenter. The other one is for the longest career as a television naturalist.
# He was knighted twice!
David Attenborough became a sir in 1985. Queen Elizabeth II knighted David for the services he has done to broadcasting. At the age of 94, he received his second knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 2020. In order of St Michael and St George, David was appointed a Knight Grand Cross. He was given this knighthood as a recognition of his contributions to television broadcasting and conservation.
# Once he came face to face with Mountain Gorillas in Africa!
In 1979 he was in Africa filming a documentary series called Life on Earth. In Rwanda, David Attenborough encountered a group of mountain gorillas. In natural documentary history, it was one of the most iconic scenes captured ever. The group of gorillas accepted Sir David as one of them and it ended up he was playing with baby gorillas!
# Sir David got 32 university degrees!
Sir David Attenborough holds 32 honorary degrees from famous universities all over the UK! He beats Olympians, Noble Prize Winners and world leaders! Universities like Oxford, Cambridge and Durham awarded those degrees to him. Most recently, Queens University awarded a degree to acknowledge his great contribution towards education and science. It didn’t require any coursework or exams!
# He has been to the bottom of the Great Barrier Reef!
After six decades from very first scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, Sir David Attenborough returned to have record-breaking diving into the deep of the world’s biggest living structure. He used a new type of submarine to go 1000 feet below the sea surface. According to him, the Great Barrier Reef covers an area the size of Italy and it provides shelter to over 600 coral species, 1500 fish species and 30 dolphin and whale species.
# Once he played peek-a-boo with a sloth!
In 2002, while creating the Life of Mammals program Sir David found a sloth. He climbed a tree in South American Rainforest and said “boo” to that sloth! But it didn’t seem to be impressive at all!
# When he was young, he earned pocket money by selling newts to scientists!
When Sir David was just 11 years old, he got a deal to supply newts to the zoology department of the University College at Leicester. The funny fact is he found those amphibians in a pond that is situated less than 20 feet away from the lab!
# Sir David is not an animal lover!
While the whole world knows Sir David for his love of the natural world, he says that he is not an animal lover! “I’m not an animal lover if it means you think. But I’m intoxicated by all the animals” he said.
# He really hates rats!
Sir David is really fascinated by all types of animals instead of Rats! He’ll do anything to avoid rats. Two incidents he experienced made him have this fear. One is being interrupted in an Indian bathroom when a rat jumped out of the toilet. The other one is waking in the middle of the night in a room full of rats in the Solomon Islands. “I have handled deadly snakes, spiders and scorpions without batting an eyelid. But I’ll be the first to run if I see a rat” he said.
# Sir David doesn’t drive!
The world-famous knight has never passed his driving test and so he doesn’t own a car!
# There are at least 18 flora and fauna named after him!
There are at least 18 extinct and living animals and plants that bear the name of this famous naturalist. Among them, there is a marine dinosaur called Attenborosaurus, a tiny yellow goblin spider, a Peruvian rubber frog and an extinct pygmy locust.
# He has won lots of BAFTA awards!
Throughout 8 decades, Sir David gave a massive contribution to broadcasting. He becomes the only person who has won BAFTA awards for black and white, color, HD and 3D television programs. Some of those most famous programs include Life in Cold Blood, Frozen Planet, Planet Earth and Life as well as Blue Planet 1& 2 series.
# He’s Like to be a Sloth if he could be any animal!
In a live Q&A program at BBC, one asked him this question. He answered that a sloth is the animal he would most like to be. It’s a hardly surprising answer. But sloths are pretty relaxed about everything!
# Sir David has had very unusual pets!
A number of wild animals lived at Attenborough’s house as their own. Some of them include Chimpanzees, snakes, chameleons, gibbons, and snakes. Most of them were temporary residents that were coming to become members of the London Zoo. The most unusual pets there were a couple of bush babies that the male one marks his territory by wiping urine all over the area!
# Sir David took less than 5 hours to have 1 million followers on Instagram!
When it comes to technology, Sir David is an old-fashioned person. For example, instead of using e-mail, he would rather send a fax or write a letter. But he joined Instagram in 2020 when he was 94 years old. It only took him 4 hours and 44 minutes to gain 1 million followers in there! But that social media experiment ended within five weeks when Sir David left Instagram for good.