This morning I accidentally can across the following video on YouTube that was made by a young Australian, Andrew Ucles, who epitomizes the modern day sideshow freak. After watching this video, I would describe Andrew Ucles as a young, wilder version of Steve Irwin mixed with a little bit of Johnny Knoxville and Michael Jackson. Take a look at the video – what do you think?
Catching Wild Rabbits using Snakes
I find his whole concept of using deadly poisonous snakes to catch rabbits as a survival technique to be more than a bit crazy. If you are going to catch venomous snakes as a survival foraging strategy why not just cut off their heads and eat the snakes. Why risk your life by putting the snakes down a rabbit’s burrow simple to get the rabbit to run out. The risk-reward equation is all wrong here.
However, after seeing this video I had to find out more about this guy, Andrew Ucles. Who is he? Why would he do this? And of course that was the real point of the video – to get your attention – and it works. Like a train wreck that you cannot turn away from, Andrew Ucles and his work has that quality that compels you to want to see and know more. Andrew, himself, is actual quite a good showman. He is likeable and confident and he has a boldness that I believe most people will find appealing. So who is this guy, anyway?
On his website, Andrew describes himself as a passionate, unique and eccentric 25 year old Australian wildlife adventurer with an insatiable curiosity for catching wild animals. He claims to be inspired by the likes of Steve Irwin, Donald Schutlz, Sir David Attenborough and Bear Grylls. Andrew has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science, is currently studying for his master’s in Environmental Science and Animal Management and has indicated an interest in pursuing a doctorate in the near future.
Andrew describes his upbringing as middle class, and where family conversations revolved around financial gains and the importance of sustainability through one’s career. His parents had encouraged him to become an engineer or a miner as these were considered to be good stable careers. However, Andrew says that he was quick to develop a dislike for this line of thinking. Andrew recalls, “From a young age I perceived life differently; whilst other kids would be collecting basketball cards and hanging out at the skate park, I would be in the bush collecting venomous snakes and spiders, watching and studying animals to develop techniques to capture them.” He describes the story of his life as “one big close call with death”. Apparently, he has been bitten by venomous snakes that he would capture as a child, and more recently he was stung by venomous scorpions in the Australia outback. Andrew goes on to say “but the risks I have taken have paid off.”
I guess by that he is referring to the success that his 35 videos have found on YouTube. His YouTube channel has an audience of over 4 million and climbing rapidly. In August 2012, Andrew Ucles set off to Zambia, Africa to
walk the Zambezi River and document his journey. He journeyed across Zambia interacting with dangerous animals and indigenous people. On his unforgettable, three month journey, Andrew covered more than 350 kilometers. More recently Andrew returned to Africa and spent 10 weeks in Kenya. The footage from his African experience was compelling enough for Discovery International (i.e. The Discovery Channel) to cut a deal with Andrew that could have his documentary segment viewed by over 1.6 billion people later this year. Not one to miss an opportunity Andrew has created Ucles Entertainment Productions and is even developing a tour package for adventure travelers who want to “Experience a part of his passion, skill and love for wildlife and embark on a camping trip unlike any other.”
Andrew says “I was born a dreamer, I am different.” And it is clear that Andrew is different and that he is following his dream and his passion. We wish him much success and admire Andrew Ucles for having the courage to take the road less traveled, a true sideshow freak on the stage of life, entertaining and inspiring the rest of us who have simply followed each other down the common path.
Andrew Ucles Website