SOUTH African lions, venomous coral snakes and giant pacific octopuses found in California are just some of the formidable creatures CBBC presenter Naomi Wilkinson has encountered throughout her career.
But now, for the first time, Naomi is bringing a batch of some of the world’s most fearsome creatures out on the road with her.
Catching up with The Gazette before she brings Naomi’s Wild & Scary to life at The Anvil, the former Butlins red coat turned animal explorer talked about her love of wildlife as well as the scariest encounters of her life.
“They always say don’t work with children or animals in live situations, but I love it,” Naomi, who’s Naomi’s Nightmares of Nature has enthralled a generation of children to look at even the most fearsome of animals in a different way, told The Gazette.
“I’ll be helped with expert ‘Animal Mark’ and what he doesn’t know about animals is not worth knowing.
“There’s going to be lots of creepy crawlies, things that might get some people squirming or closing their eyes but hopefully we can encourage people to get over those fears.”
She added: “I fully appreciate phobias and understand when your terrified. I know from experience about how to open your eyes and look at an animal and its behaviour... then you start realise how brilliant it is.”
Its this passion to understand wildlife and share these experiences with children on her shows that drives Naomi to meet the world’s scariest animals.
This thirst is only mirrored by her mission to “inspire a young mind to work with animals.”
But sometimes, it doesn’t always go to plan on set – especially a fleeting encounter in deep South Africa.
“The production team always test me when we’re filming the show,”
Naomi said. “They always find something I’m genuinely afraid of and they often like to throw me in the deep end – quite literally.
“One of the most terrifying was when I went out to watch a pride of lions at night when they become hunters. We were sat in this open Jeep and as they got up, the lions began to think about dinner and we were so close to them. I’m just glad we turned the engine off.” She added:
“There’s still loads of places and loads of animals to cover, so who knows where we’ll be next.”
Naomi’s Wild & Scary heads to The Anvil on Thursday April 20.
For more visit anvilarts.org.uk/whats-on/naomis-wild-scary