Brady Barr

Brady Barr

Herpetologist

National Geographic reptile expert Dr. Brady Barr has dedicated his life to informing the public about the wonders of the natural world. His hands-on style and engaging personality, combined with his breadth of scientific knowledge, allow him to bring the most exciting animals on the planet straight into people’s living rooms.

 

He has journeyed to five continents and over 70 countries and interacted with a menagerie of creatures from the Humboldt squid to the Japanese giant salamander. Underpinning his work is a deep commitment to conservation. His deepest passion is reserved for animals that most people view as terrifying monsters; crocodiles and alligators. He is the only person in history to capture and study all 23 species – a feat unlikely to ever be repeated, and one he uses to raise awareness for the plight of crocodilians everywhere.

 

Barr frequently teams up with other researchers and features cutting edge science in his programs. In 2009 together with a team of experts, he attached an untethered camera to a Humboldt squid for the first time ever, revealing never before seen behaviour of these cannibalistic deep-sea creatures.  Other recent achievements include filming a feeding frenzy of rarely-seen six gill sharks 1/3 of a mile down, taking DNA samples from an eight-foot electric eel armed with 600 volts of zap, and using state of the art high speed cinematography to time the strike speed of the fastest ambush predators on the planet. He also developed full-size crocodile and hippo disguises in an effort to approach these dangerous animals and take scientific samples in a non-invasive way. In the name of science he applied a field toxicity test to various salamander species – he licked them; pronouncing the North American hellbender hands down the most disgusting.  Most recently, Barr captured the second largest man-eating crocodile in the country of Uganda, where the beast had killed 21 people.

 

But there’s a reason we call it Dangerous Encounters. In addition to many many trips to the hospital for various work related ailments, Barr has lost a finger, broken an arm, wrist, leg and back, and been bitten by animals ranging from crocodiles to giant snakes.

 

Prior to working on Dangerous Encounters, Barr filmed the series Croc Chronicles, teaming up with scientists to learn more about some of the more unusual reptiles of our planet. Expeditions for the series took him to Cambodia, French Guiana, Brazil, Africa, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. In Cambodia, he made history in the scientific community by capturing a rare Siamese crocodile, a species thought to be functionally extinct in the wild.

 

In 2001, Barr collaborated with renowned palaeontologist and former National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, Dr. Paul Sereno, in his effort to recreate “SuperCroc,” a prehistoric fossil discovery that at ten tons and 12 metres was among the largest crocodiles ever to roam the planet.  They travelled the globe to study the anatomy and behaviour of modern crocodilian species, looking for clues to put flesh on bone and create a life-size reconstruction of this ancient beast.

 

Barr has been with National Geographic since 1997, when he became National Geographic’s resident herpetologist, and has since appeared in more than 100 National Geographic films.

 

Barr was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and raised in Bloomington, Indiana. He received a Bachelor of Science in science education from Indiana University in 1987 and, shortly thereafter, began his teaching career at Indianapolis’ North Central High School. Barr taught such subjects as zoology, biology, and earth and life sciences, championing an interactive classroom style by encouraging his students to “touch, see, and feel the animals first-hand.”

 

Moving to Florida to pursue graduate degrees at the University of Miami, Barr began extensive diet studies on alligators in Everglades National Park. The results of his ambitious research project provided important data for scientists seeking to preserve this unique ecosystem. Barr received a Master of Science (1994) and a Ph.D. (1997) in Biology from the University of Miami.  He currently resides in Maryland with his wife and two children.

 

Barr is currently a member of the Endangered Species Coalition of the Council of State Governments, the International Crocodilian Specialist Group, and serves as a scientific expert for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature

Highlights & Accomplishments
Barr survived an attack by a 12-foot reticulated python while working in waist-deep bat guano, inside a cave in Indonesia—an attack that made headlines worldwide.
Barr once wore a hippo suit in order to get close enough to a live hippo to get the first-ever recording of its bite strength.
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Brady Barr

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