The Adventures of Dexter and Axel Blog

Working with Wildlife - An Interview with Nick Baker

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An interview with.....


This is a new series of blogs, of interviews with some wonderful people who work within the animal industry, from zoo keepers, to museum curators and everything in between and those that are on the path to working in these positions too. Be inspired for a future where you can combine your love of animals with your day job. I hope you enjoy these interviews, that you can learn something from them and they can inspire you


Since its National Insect Week right now I wanted to bring you someone that loves bugs for this weeks blog, so let me introduce you to Nick...


Nick Baker




Dartmoor, Devon 

What do you do? 

I’m a multi hyphenate of a Naturalist

How did you get into it? 

Followed my childhood obsession with anything living, mainly animals but occasionally plants - especially those eaten by my caterpillars. 

What made you want to do what you do? 

I guess I’m a biophile, which means I relate to the natural world directly. It is all I see and that coupled with a curious mind means I naturally taught myself. Later showing the world as seen through my lens to other people gave me great pleasure, their reactions to things they had never even thought about or noticed was what drove me and the natural progression of this informal immersive kind of education has led me onto a self-made career as a broadcaster, field naturalist, author, teacher and wildlife guide. There was an element of self-made luck mixed in as well!

What does it involve? 

The only thing any of these facets have in common in natural history and passing on information. It really is as simple as that.

Did you need and particular qualifications? 

While formal internationally recognised qualifications are no doubt helpful they are not everything! Experience counts for an awful lot as well, in fact it makes you stand out in the In-box of any potential employer. It’s the most time consuming and hard work - but it also the most enjoyable bit. It was always may experience and my passion that carried me through in place where the qualifications let me down. 

Any tips for a young person that wants to do what you do? 

I guess I have two mantras that anyone who knows me, knows too well. “If you’re going to do it - do it with passion” and “Only dead fish go with the flow”. Follow your heart and passion it will not let you down.

Whats the best part of what you do? 

Never ending learning. You are never an expert. The moment you consider yourself one, you put yourself on a pedestal in some way and the process stops. Learning something first hand, having a self-motivated adventure is what makes me carry on doing what I do. New discoveries and new experiences, listening to the lessons the other life-forms we share the planet with have to teach us. Meeting and conversing with other like-minded folk are all part of this.

What’s your favourite animal?

I guess this is the most often asked question and the hardest to answer. It has to be the wasps - the social wasps get such an unwarranted hard time from everyone. “What is the point of a Wasp” is the sort of statement I hear too often. But get to know them and you have the inventors of paper, pest control, pollination, potential cure for cancer and many more hidden talents.

What was the first animal that you fell in love with? 

A stick insect. I was always around regular socially acceptable animals as a kid - I grew up on a bit of a small holding. Ducks. Chickens, Goats, Pheasants - so while I loved these, they were normal. I wanted something Wild and exotic and that came in the form of a tub of Indian Stick Insects being given away by a local museum. 

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

I like my bikes, I’m a massive fan of bicycles and cycle sport, so yes I am a bit of a M.A.M.I.L However, I’ve been Donnie lycra since my teens and so I object a little with this phrase! I love my music, listening to it and trying to make it - Blues and Roots probably cover my main tastes and I play Blues Harp and Sing (sometimes with a band and sometimes with a little melody) I’m also learning failing Banjo - I’ve not gone public yet, but its something I love - that sound is so… banjo! It’s like nothing else.

If you werent doing what you do now what else would you love to do? 

I would love to be a forensic entomologist or a Blues Musician.

Who inspires you? 

Lots of folk inspire me. That’s a difficult question as you’re probably expecting a name. Kid’s are always wonderful and they stop me stagnating in the way I see the world. There are many artists and photographers that do the same. E.O Wilson is a name I guess that fits the bill.

Where can people find you? 

Other than nodding about in ponds, rock pools or hedgerows you can find me on:

Instagram: @nick_bug_baker

Twitter: @bugboybaker

Facebook: @nickbaker

And my website is:


If you work within the wildlife industry and would like to be featured as part of this blog series please pop me an email to [email protected]

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