Arts and Entertainment

Kratt Brothers bring creature adventures to Bainbridge Island

A chimp makes itself at home at Martin Kratt
A chimp makes itself at home at Martin Kratt's head on one of the brothers' patented Creature Adventures.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

Chris and Martin Kratt bring their animal adventure show to Bainbridge High School Nov. 7, to benefit the Kids Discovery Museum.

Chris and Martin Kratt have captured children’s hearts and attention since 1996 when they burst onto the entertainment scene with their TV show “Kratts’ Creatures.” The two, who have likely never met an animal or mudhole they didn’t love, have harnessed children’s imaginations to teach them about animals exotic and domestic from every pocket of the world.

Their secret, which they’ll bring to two performances at Bainbridge Island High School Nov. 7, is pretty basic.

“I think we just realize that kids are really smart and that they like to have fun,” Chris Kratt said in a phone interview Monday morning.

The performances, at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., will benefit the Kids Discovery Museum on Bainbridge Island. This is the brother’s second such perfomance on Bainbridge, their last visit was in 2006.

With their audience in mind, the Kratts travel the globe as creature adventurers — they immerse themselves for several weeks into the habitat of the creatures they introduce to their viewers in the aptly named “Be the Creature.” The ultimate goal is for the children to get to know the animals as they would a new friend: finding out their likes, dislikes, how they play and their favorite foods.

“We look at them as characters instead of objects,” Kratt said.

The Kratt Brothers also have starred in “Zoboomafoo,” and numerous specials for PBS, CBC and the Discovery Channel.

They never know where the creatures will lead them, but they willingly follow and behave as the animals do. And they aren’t afraid to get messy.

Their animal exploits have included taking mud baths with elephants in Kenya and relaxing in a hot spring with Japanese macaque snow monkeys.

They’ve even hung out in Africa with a pack of wild dogs.

Though most would balk at the idea of spending time with undomesticated animals in their own habitat, the Kratts “love what they do and are doing what they love,” Kratt said.

And yes, they do get frightened sometimes, but they can keep themselves out of danger by listening when the animals tell them to leave them alone. Animals will give visual clues, like when a horse pulls back his ears, Kratt said. Both Kratts understand animal behavior, as the older brother, Martin, has a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Duke University and Chris has a bachelor’s in biology from Carleton College, according to the Kratt Club Web site.

For brothers who spend six to seven months on the road — or out in wild, as is their case — they also have to understand each other, Chris Kratt said. Sibling rivalry is never an issue. If a disagreement pops up, it’s generally spirited discussion over a camera angle. When the two are getting to know their animal friends, they have a camera crew and share a camera.

While entertainment is certainly one of their goals, their work has a higher cause: They want to cultivate their viewers into creature adventurers so they, too, can learn about and respect animals.

“No matter where you live, there are creatures,” Kratt said. “Even in New York there are peregrine falcons on the bridges and coyotes in Central Park.”

MEET THE KRATTS at Bainbridge High, 9330 NE High School Road on Bainbridge. Two performances at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Nov. 7. Opening act: the Not-its. Info/tickets: (206) 855-4650 or www.kidimu.org.

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