Dave Salmoni is a Canadian animal trainer, entertainer and television producer. He has his own production company, Triosphere, which is based in South Africa and specializes in wildlife films.
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Hey guys! I'm excited to be back on reddit. Coming up this Sunday is MONSTER WEEK on Animal Planet - from Sunday, May 17-Monday, May 25. MONSTER WEEK is just celebrating the creepiness within - enjoying the feeling of fear and the excitement that comes with what those creatures might do!
You can check it out here: http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/monster-week/
And for a fun sneak peek, check out the tarantula cam:
Victoria's helping out today. AMA!
Update: I would say... thanks for everybody who tuned in and asked questions, I love hearing from everybody! I think everybody should tune into MONSTER WEEK - definitely "Serial Killer Tiger at Large" i just watched and LOVED that show! I just watched it today! And KILLER HORNETS FROM HELL, you have to tune in for, and "Monster Island" and NEVER FORGET dear old Jeremy Wade will wrap up the week with a 2 hour episode of RIVER MONSTERS!
Hello Dave, thanks for the AMA. How do you respond to groups like Panthera who criticize your interactions with animals, claiming that you are being bombastic for television?
Generally I try not to respond to those types of things. Typically those people are trying to generate press of their own by putting things on the internet and attaching my name to them. If someone googles Lions & me, their name will pop up as a result of that. If you watch any of the shows I've done, you'll se that I try to leave the animals in a better condition or position than I've found them - specifically, that article was generated after INTO THE PRIDE, a show that we did on Animal Planet, and I have a hard time understanding why a cat conservation group has a problem with me trying to conserve a pride of lions.
Hey Dave! Thanks for doing the AMA.
You've probably been asked this many times before, but seeing how comfortable you are with all animals, I was wondering - is there any animal you aren't a fan of? Or you can totally approach and hang out with all of them and there's never any problem?
And btw, (since I don't have cable) I'm glad I get to see your feature on Jimmy Kimmel! It's always enjoyable and and a beneficial learning experience.
Generally speaking, i feel animals are always on the calmer side than humans are. There's not a particular species that I feel in a natural state is unsafe to approach in some degree. It's just about understanding which individuals are comfortable with you being around.
Hi Dave, I have 2 questions for you: when will born your baby? and What do you like to do in your free time? Thanks 😀
August 25th is when my baby is due. And what I do in my free time is what you see me doing on camera - I spend a lot of time outdoors, I spend a lot of time with animals, and I spend a lot of time in the gym, so that I can spend a lot of time outdoors and with animals.
Hi Dave! What do you think is the most misunderstood animal? Like it has worse reputation than it actually deserves.
And are there any common misconseptions about certain animals you would like to correct?
I would say great white sharks are on that list of misunderstood animals. They're big, they hardly hurt people very often. I would also say the fact that a "Killer whale" is called "Killer" shows it's misunderstood. Even the black mamba - the black mamba was thought to be a ticking time bomb of a snake if you came across one. But as long as you don't try to catch or bother a black mamba in the wild, they'll typically leave you alone.
But they're fairly peaceful.
And these are some of the ones with the worst reputation.
And what common misconceptions would I like to correct? That's a tough question. I think most of the misconceptions revolve around things like when we focus on the scary side of creatures. Most scientists hate it when we vilify animals after an attack, and most of the general population hates it when scientists tell them that animals never attack, because the truth is - and you'll learn this on MONSTER WEEK - it's both.
Animals are cute and cuddly and awesome, and sometimes the big scary ones do big scary things.
And I think depending on what side of the fence you're on, the one side hates the other.
I'd say both are true.
What is the one animal most people are afraid of that you think is actually pretty cute?
I'd say most of the "Monsters" that we think about typically are pretty cute.
You think of something like a great white shark, or a lion, or a big tiger - all of them in my opinion are super-cute, super interesting, and pretty calm generally.
Even though people think of great white sharks as predators - they're the only predators you could swim right nearby, 1 meter away from, and they won't necessarily do anything. They're pretty fascinating. They're fun to be around.
But I would say any one of those guys in a bad mood is pretty terrifying.
There's one monster that I just started watching - about KILLER HORNETS FROM HELL - if you're thinking MONSTER WEEK, you might not be thinking hornets, but Wednesday, the 20th, at 8 PM - don't miss KILLER HORNETS FROM HELL.
They're not cute. There's nothing cute about a hornet in my opinion.
I would say the cutest animal that might be a monster would be a slow loris.
Because they have venomous fangs. And if you make them angry, they'll envenomate you. But they're about the cutest animals you've ever seen.
Lion vs Gorilla, which one would win?
Lions only have to do one thing to procreate - and that's learn to fight. All the big male lions out there that exist are only existing because their dad was a tough fighter. Genetically speaking, lions are some of the toughest creatures on the planet. And although a gorilla LOOKS like it should be a monster, it's one of the most docile animals on the planet.
So I think the lion would win. 100%. No doubt.
Mike (Fenix) here, I am a Huge fan and have always really enjoyed your work. My question is What has been your favorite project or most fulfilling project you have worked on?
Usually, my favorite project is the last project. So whatever I've done most recently is the ones I like the most, because they're more fresh in my mind. So that one was called DEADLY ISLAND.
And then, obviously, my very very first one, called LIVING WITH TIGERS, because it was my first and it took me the longest (5 years in the making). So those are probably the most meaningful and significant in my life.
Hey Dave! I just completed my zoology degree at Laurentian last month (did my literature review with Dr. Mallory on the slow nature of sloths and the advantage it provides) and was wondering what kind of projects we can look forward to from you (aside from Monster Week). Any books or more documentaries/shows in the works?
I loved Deadly Islands (some amazing shots your team got), and just wanted to say it is great to see a fellow Canadian doing some good by promoting the conservation of species and preservation of their natural habitats. Hoping to be able to do some amazing things like you have some day!
Wow! That's a lot!
So Dr. Mallory is my 4th year honors thesis professor. And he and I - he was my professor when I did my very first black bear project - my first thesis when I graduated from Laurentian was on timing of hibernation, and den site selection. So that brings me WAY back, those names. But I spend a lot of time in that area, because we have a family cottage there.
But I spend a lot of time on my next project. If I'm not doing a project, I'm working on the next one. I've launched a nonprofit with the goal of helping solve the conflicts between people and animals, called the Dave Salmoni Fund, and we're in the preliminary stages of that, so exciting working on that for launch. But I'm still working on my production company, with Animal Planet, looking for the next big project. My hope is always for big adventures.
And congratulations on your graduation!
What's the weirdest MONSTER animal mating that you've witnessed?
What's your ideal breakfast consist of too?
Oooh. Weirdest Monster animal mating? I'd say of all of them, the weirdest monster is a big Bull Elephant. Because... both animals involved are SO huge. And in fact the male elephant is so big that he can't see where things need to go, so his genitalia have dexterity - so he can move it around to move it where it's supposed to go. Which looks really, really weird.
Oh, I eat the same thing every morning. A cup and a half of oats. 8 egg whites, a sweet potato, and a piece of chicken. That's my breakfast every morning.
What's the most unruly animal you've dealt with?
Unruly animals are usually individually based. I'd say most animals are very sweet. The odd time you run into one individual of any particular species that's just in a bad mood that day- I'd say the grumpiest of any animals I've worked with in the past are chimpanzees, angry elephants, or an angry male lion.
They're the ones that when they go off - they go way, WAY off. They become real monsters!
Hi Dave, big fan here. I have two questions for you.
1.) How can your average guy get involved in big cat conservation?
2.) Could you give us an update on what ever came of Brutus, Otis, Winnie, and Cleo?
1.) I would say generally speaking, try to find out which cat you want to help conserve, find out the problems that they're faced with, and see if there's a skill YOU have that could apply to that problem as a solution. That's very vague. But if you want to bring it down to a basic level, most wildlife today need financial assistance. So something as simple as going on safari, and paying to see a leopard or a lion - that pays for the conservation of the space where you're viewing. Or sponsoring an animal. Do some research and find what nonprofits you believe are doing good work - you can apply for jobs there, or offer them financial support - any of those things are great ways to get involved.
2.) Well, I would say that pride itself - based on the work that we did there as a team - became happy and healthy and all those youngsters grew up to take on their own prides after we left. Unfortunately, the adults, like Cleo, like Brutus, like Otis - they were nearing the end of their days back in 2008, when we were there - so they've all passed since then. But their progeny are living fast and free, up in Erindi.
Welcome! I completely enjoy your guest appearances on Jimmy Kimmel and other various talk shows.
I was wondering who or what inspired you to pursue a career with animals?
I would say I was born with a love of animals, and a curiosity towards animals, and as cliche as that sounds, I grew up not wanting to be told what to do. Up until my late 20s, I was doing what I felt like I wanted to do - and that meant hanging out with animals. And that's how my television career evolved.
Are you in plans to have kids?. I think it's not easy because your job requires travel.
Funny you should say! I'm due August 25th for my first son, or my fiancé is, for my first son - Thomas John.
Dave, big fan of you when your on the Kimmel show (and other stuff too). I am just curious what animals if any you have at home?
First of all, love going on Jimmy's show, I love teaching him about animals and trying to get him more comfortable with them!
I have a dog named Moseby. And that's all i have. I travel too much for animals to have any of my own!
Hi Dave, have you ever been badly injured by an animal that you've handled or come into contact with?
I've been badly injured by quite a few.
I've had my forearm torn off by a lion. I've had a tiger force me into back surgery. I've had my scalp bitten by a bear. I've had every kind of claw and every kind of tooth sunk into me at some point. It's part of my job.
Thank you so much! Just waiting on the confirmation email to let me know I have all the required credits! Your thesis work sounds super interesting, learned quite a bit about hibernation in my Winter Ecology class this year! Also got to do a project on the thermal environment of beaver lodges during winter for the class (Sudbury was a great place to find some lodges). I'll stay tuned for updates on the Dave Salmoni fund as well as your production company and future projects. Thanks for the answers!
Good luck going forward! I hope you find some work that you are passionate about in your field!
If you had to pick for me one show to watch from Monster Week, what would it be? Another question, what's your favorite TV show of all time, not animal-related? I love lions, and I loved your show Into the Pride. Well done!
I hate to be biased, but it has to be RIVER MONSTERS.
I love Jeremy Wade as a person and a television host. I think that this show certainly is the one you can't miss.
Not animal related? Ooooh. Off the top of my head, I'd have to say SOUTH PARK.
Oh, thank you! I also love that show.
What does a slow loris bite do to a person?
I would say - I don't know enough about the slow loris' bite to know for sure, but my assumption is with it being venomous that you'd get fairly sick, but it might not kill an adult.
Do you need a RN to go with you for one of your adventures? I will offer free healthcare services to any locals in need wherever we go, and even though I LOVE nasty and gnarly wounds, I promise to not goad anything into biting you so just I have something awesome to fix. I just want to go with you and get close to some of these critters you encounter. What do you say? Deal?
Hahaha - well, no.
We do, very often on more dangerous projects, we'll hire paramedics to go with us, since we're far enough out there in the middle of nowhere. If we do anything with driving, we have a paramedic on the boat. And if we do something far enough away that we don't feel we can get to a hospital in time, we'll bring a paramedic.
Generally, the paramedic job doesn't involve getting up close and personal with the animals. So it doesn't meet the description of what you're looking for.
Which animal would your fiancé compare you to and why? You are the best.
My wife, when we started dating, used to call me the "lion tamer." And now, every time she sees me interacting around the house, she thinks that I'm part lion. I'm not sure it's meant to be endearing. It's usually when I'm doing something Neanderthal. Or if I see something I don't like, I'll growl at it, like if I stub my toe, or I don't like the food, I'll growl at it.
She gets upset and calls me a lion.
Hi Dave! I'm big fan of you. What's is your favorite band? I just wanna know what type of music like you. For example I like so much pink floyd, is my favorite band.
Well, I like classic rock, but I'm more a Led Zeppelin fan. Any kind of rock I'm into. White Stripes is the album I listened to this morning at the gym!
What's the most incredible natural event you've personally witnessed?
I've seen so many amazing things, from volcanoes erupting, to the Northern Lights, to migrations - but the best thing I ever saw was on a sailboat in Papua New Guinea, I woke up from sleeping on the top deck about 3 in the morning, and we were sailing through some phosphorescent algae. And it looked like stars... basically twinkling off the side of the boat.
And it was probably the most amazing thing I ever saw.
And dolphins came and swam beside us, and it made it seem like the dolphins had a glow about them. It was pretty amazing.
Don't you get manta rays around there too? See any?
I don't know in that particular area if you get Manta Rays, since I didn't do any diving there. But it's possible!
I have 3 questions.
1: Who recommended you use ALLMAX?
2: Someday we present them to your wife and family?
3: How does it feel to be the sex symbol of Discovery Channel?
1.) I was using ALLMAX just because i researched what healthy supplements are - I didn't want to wreck my body - and after researching it, turned out I had a friend who became my personal trainer who also used ALLMAX, and he helped me use their supplements to create my mealtime. And once I created that, i didn't want to mess with it.
2.) What are we presenting?
3.) I'm not so sure that everyone would agree with that? But if some people think I'm sexy - I'll take it!
I figured as much, but I had to try. Often when I watch your shows I think "dang, I hope there is a paramedic around there." Things could go bad so fast. I plan to do a clinical rotation in Africa next year, so I am hoping that I get a little side trip while I am there. I find that in many areas where the animals need our help, so do the people. I plan to help with that part and just enjoy watching you do the animal part. Still want to pet something, though...
Well, there's probably a lot of dogs at a shelter that would love to be patted!
What animals are the most frustrating to film?
That could be any of them! I've had a lot of animals that are frustrating, that's why you have to have a lot of patience to film animals. The worst is a leopard - they can disappear on you if they get in a bad mood, and they know they're doing it. A leopard could be hanging out in the open, and then they're like I'm tired of you and they'll disappear.
I see you Kimmel ALL the time. It's my favorite when you bring out all the ferocious animals. Are there any celebrities from the show that you completely freaked out (outside of Jimmy)?
Most of the celebrities that are very, very scared of animals typically don't want to stay out there with me? So they just end up leaving after their interviews. So if you want to know if a celebrity is scared of animals, see if they stick around for my segment, because they're always invited!
Do you have a vine account? If you do, you should follow BigCatDerek. They are an amazing rescue group, and he posts loads of big cat vines. It's pretty great.
BigCatDerek sounds awesome. But no, I don't have a Vine account.
hi dave just wanted to ask a quick Q on which bear do you think is best?
I like grizzly bears the best, because they're the smartest. They're one of the smartest animals I have ever had encounters with, so I like them a lot.
And they like marshmallows, and I like marshmallows.