For 20 years, brothers Chris and Martin Kratt have been taking kids on adventures around the world through their TV shows, including Wild Kratts, Zoboomafoo, and Kratts' Creatures. They spent many childhood summers exploring the wilds of Vermont. In this special episode, we are sharing a Vermont Edition interview Jane did with the Kratts for her other radio show.
On their childhood adventures:
Martin Kratt: We grew up in New Jersey. So we had some wildlife but it was box turtles in the backyard, frogs and stuff. Our parents ended up getting some property in the Northeast Kingdom and we would go up there as soon as school let out and camp out all summer long. So it was getting water from the old farm well and being out in nature. So we’d see porcupines, raptors. We really got to go wild and just run around and experience nature.
Chris Kratt: There was no building whatsoever. So we had a pop-up trailer and a bunch of tents. We had a potty tent with a little portable potty in it. And a screen tent. And we lived there for two months.
MK: We learned a lot of things. Like, if you left your tent open during the day, by nightfall there’d be a lot of snakes inside. It was an easier way to find snakes. And I think also we got a lot of good training for our creature adventures by camping out because when we were developing our ideas for children’s wildlife films for our first series, Kratt’s Creatures, we would spend six months camping out in the Peruvian Amazon. So our early training in the Northeast Kingdom prepared us for that.
On learning new things every time they do an episode:
MK: In every episode we do, every animal, even a familiar animal, we learn something new. One great example is walrus, which was one of our first episodes of Wild Kratts. I was amazed when I was working on the script and research that walrus have this thing called a pharyngeal throat sac that they can blow up and it's like a built-in life preserver that allows them to float on stormy arctic seas and take naps! I didn't know that. And I knew a lot about walruses, I thought. So every episode we're learning something new and it's so exciting and then we can to share that with kids. And we really try to find information that you won't find in the general texts.
Have they ever been attacked by an animal?
MK: Chris was once attacked by a Komodo dragon. It was really funny.
CK: That's true. I turned to run away from this Komodo dragon and I tripped. And before I knew it he was climbing on top of me. Fortunately I got my foot under his chest so I was able to give him a little shove to the side and skiddle out of there. But the amazing thing was that afterwards I looked over at Martin and he was standing there with his mouth wide open in surprise and he hadn't moved an inch to help me.
MK: Well, it kind of happened fast!