Sure, Corbin Maxey has some scars.

That’s just part of the job, he said. And to be able to do his dream job at the age of 28, an occasional bite or scratch is a small price to pay.

Maxey, a Mountain View High School graduate, is a wildlife expert who has made dozens of appearances on national television, including the "Today" show and "Late Night with Seth Meyers." He has a degree in biology from Boise State University.

Maxey started rescuing reptiles and amphibians when he was 12 or 13 years old, filling his parents’ bonus room with roughly 60 animals.

“Very accepting parents,” Maxey said.

He still has the first animal he rescued from a Meridian pet store — a ball python named Reggie. Reggie and more than 20 other rescue animals live on Maxey’s family property along the Snake River in Marsing.

That includes two alligators and a host of other creatures. Maxey joked that his fiancée, Samantha, wasn't too pleased when he named the tarantula after her.

“My alligators, they recognize me as an individual," Maxey said. "I have a signal I give them, they're trained to come over and eat. I hand-feed my 6-foot alligator.”

On Saturday, Maxey and some of his animals presented at the Meridian Community Block Party at Kleiner Park. The audience got to meet some of Maxey’s “kids” — how he refers to his 23 animals — and hear about his rescue stories. 

The wild pitch that led to a dream career

Until he was in middle school, Maxey lived in the small community of Robie Creek, roughly 13 miles northeast of the Idaho State Capitol. There weren’t many other children around to play with.

“I didn’t have anyone, other than my sister, and we never got along,” Maxey said. “So I was always out catching bugs and snakes and lizards and toads.”

His family also raised ducks, pigeons, chickens, a pot-bellied pig and a lizard named Booger.

Maxey would pretend to be an animal expert putting on shows for an audience.

Then, when he was 14, that dream actually came true.

"The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" put out a call for teenagers with unique talents. Maxey’s mother wrote a small pitch to the show about her son’s work rescuing animals. Her note, Maxey said, ended with, “Call me the next Crocodile Hunter, or just call me …”

Her witty pitch caught the attention of the show’s producer, who called Maxey the following week.

“It was so surreal,” Maxey said. “I thought it was like a prank call.”

While Maxey’s passion for rescuing reptiles didn’t fit into the teen talent segment, the producer invited him on the show to do his own segment.

“I was their youngest reptile expert, and I was on with Pamela Anderson,” Maxey said. “I was cool for one day at school.”

At first, Maxey thought his appearance on TV would be a one-time thing. But he remembers looking out into the audience after the cameras turned off and thinking, "Oh my goodness, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life," he said.

Leno invited him back on the show a few times, and Maxey’s media career as an animal expert grew from there. At age 18, Maxey produced and hosted a local TV show called “LIVE with the Reptile Guy.” Two years later, he launched a weekly segment for KIVI-TV in Boise called “Creature Feature,” according to Maxey’s website.

Maxey said he’s careful when considering which animals to take on television so he doesn’t cause the animal any distress.

“We don’t work with animals that are taken out of the wild or are not used to people,” he said.

To use the platform of television to educate millions of people about animals is invaluable, Maxey said.

“Animals need our voice more than ever with this ever-changing world and habitat destruction,” he said.

Maxey went on the "Today" show Sept. 4 and presented with an African penguin named Aurora. Fewer than 70,000 African penguins are left in the wild, he said.

Maxey also pointed out the declining lion population. According to the African Wildlife Foundation, African lions are at risk of going extinct by 2050.

“I don’t think people understand that it’s a serious plight,” Maxey said.

A voice for animals, an inspiration for people

Maxey puts on educational events with his animals at schools, libraries and for organizations and corporate events.

He has presented for children and teenagers who are recovering from abuse and sexual violence.

“After they’ve heard the animal's rescue story — they’ve heard how hard the animal’s life has been — they’ve actually started to open up after our show,” Maxey said.

Maxey has also done a presentation for blind children.

“For them to touch the animals was so inspiring,” he said.

At age 28, Maxey has a lot of dreaming left ahead of him. He said he can’t reveal too much yet about his next project, but it will likely have something to do with exotic animals.

“I’ve just begun with my career,” Maxey said. “I would like to be like the next Jack Hanna, like a voice for animals.”

BOOK AN APPEARANCE

To schedule Corbin Maxey at an event, contact his event coordinator, Andrea Lucas, at 208-922-0222 or info@corbinmaxey.com.

Comments

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.