Matt Wright of Wild Croc Territory has his palm read
He's spent decades wrangling the world's most dangerous creatures and is now a Netflix star. We had to get our hands on those palms...
image Rhys Thomas
words Kemar Reid
Practised all over the world, palmistry analyses the major and minor lines on your hand to divine what they say about you: from how you love to how you live and, possibly, what lies ahead in your future. Inspired by this tradition, Palmistry is our new series where we sit down with some of our favourite names in the worlds of music, fashion and entertainment for a unique look into what’s in their hearts and destiny — by turning to their palms.
Some jobs are dangerous, some jobs are fun. Some are both. For Wright, flying a helicopter to remote parts of Northern Australia in order to capture (and then relocating) crocodiles, snakes, and other things most of us would run away from, is just another day in the office. It’s been this way for Matt since he was a child. Raised in Papua New Guinea and the Australian Outback (a super vast and remote part of the country), wild and dangerous animals were as close as Matt got to neighbours.
When he was ten, he already had a collection of dangerous animals which he treated as pets. They included three King Brown snakes, a highly venomous snake that can grow to three metres in length. Sometimes he brought his pets to school. Eventually his passion for animals and daring personality landed him in a job of relocating animals that were endangering people and other animals.
Often, crocodiles are killed if they’re somewhere that can harm other species. Matt decided to dedicate his efforts to relocating them. ‘A real-life crocodile Dundee’, or ‘the next Steve Irwin’ are names given to him. But he’s a family man too, and they come along for the ride. Whether it’s partner Kaia, former professional basketball player, helping to wrestle a crocodile or their son Banjo swinging on the tail of a 14ft python. It’s a lifestyle they all share. Over the last decade, he’s brought the adventures to television screens around the world. And most recently, Wild Croc Territory has been doing bits on Netflix. Given his unique life, we wanted to get a read of his (busy, danger-ready) palm.
Would you say you’re more logical or creative?
Creative? I create experiences and make things happen. Though I guess that’s also logistics, so I’ve almost said both… but I’d say I’m creative.
What were you like at school?
I was pretty terrible. Quite mischievous. School bored me a little you know? Teachers bored me, the curriculum bored me. I just didn't want to be there to be honest. Preferred being in nature.
What's the biggest adventure you've been on?
I’ve been on a few, but probably life. Life is a pretty wild ride if you do it right. And there's nothing bigger.
Are you a romantic person?
Ah... probably not. My wife hates that about me. I've really got to work on it. We're due a child soon, so I'll make sure I'm back home for that.
Do you text first?
I'll try and stay on top of texts yeah, but emails – no. I'll check those maybe once a week, if I'm in the field chilling or something... which isn't great for business.
Do you believe in destiny?
Yeah, I think so. I do, yeah. Sometimes destiny sucks – you can plan things, but ultimately I think it’s all planned for us.
Are you a planner or more spontaneous?
I have long-term plans. I have a way in which I think about things, and a direction that I'm generally heading in. There's curveballs that'll change that of course. But in terms of the day-to-day stuff, I am spontaneous.
What does the future look like for you?
I want to do a few more TV shows, and we'll be bringing the kids up around everything that we've got going on. They'll be able to choose their own path and what they want to do. I'd like to live on an island at some point in the future too.
Play hard or work hard?
Both. Well, the playing has had to simmer down now that I've got a family. That being said, when I am on holiday I can't sit there doing nothing so I am quite work-orientated too. I usually end up hiring a boat and chasing marlins or spear fishing or jumping in a helicopter exploring stuff. We spend as much time as we can in nature. But both, I love having a few beers and a barbecue.
What's the last book you read?
I don't read too many books. Probably Chickenhawk, by Robert Mason. It's about Robert's life as a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War. It was very good, but it’s been awhile since I read.
What's a major change you've had in your life?
We’re having a baby girl in like, three weeks? That’s a major one I’m about to have.
What's one moment that changed your perspective on life?
I think there's been a few moments over the last few years. We've had a lot of close friends and colleagues die, or be killed in some cases. All young, in their thirties. My business partner was 39. So just seeing all that around us has shifted my perspective on how I spend my own time. Like, I've worked hard my whole life, and then I found myself taking a step back and thinking: shit, life passes quickly. Now I'm taking time to spend life with my family, we've got ourselves in a position where we can do that reasonably comfortably.
How many times have you moved home?
Not a great deal. I've spent a lot of my career on the road, but for the last seven years we've been based in Darwin, the capital of Australia's Northern Territory. And overall in life, I've probably moved 20 or 30 times. We're about to move down to Gold Coast, in Eastern Australia.