steve irwin jay leno tonight show

Before his tragic death in 2006, “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin delighted fans around the world with how he handled animals, including, obviously, crocodiles and alligators.

But that didn’t always go according to plan.

On a 2002 episode of “The Tonight Show,” host Jay Leno introduces Irwin who comes out with two cute baby kangaroos, which they feed – until Leno gets splattered by milk as his kangaroo furiously shakes its head.

It’s a funny moment. Next, Irwin and Leno have an encounter with an aggressive snake that is more comical than scary.

Then things get a little more serious.

When “The Tonight Show” comes back from break, Irwin trots out a 12-foot-long, 600-pound alligator, with “two-and-a-half thousand pounds of square jaw pressure,” according to the famous croc hunter.

“Don’t let it grab your leg,” Irwin jokes to Leno.

Close call with an alligator

Irwin starts manhandling “Morris” the alligator a bit, continuing to rub his belly and sides and tells the audience the alligator is “just loaded with power.”

As Irwin continues, the alligator starts whipping its head around sporadically. At one point, Leno joins Irwin in rubbing the alligator and feeling it’s massively strong tail.

Then the alligator whips its head around  – mouth frighteningly ajar – seeming as if it wants to take a bite out of Leno. The audience gasps.

Sure, these segments are supposed to be fun and games, but having an animal of that size seeming to come at you in any setting has to be a scary experience.

You can see this part, which starts at about the 9:00-minute mark in the video.

Steve Irwin might have been used to these kinds of tense situations with animals, but there’s no way Jay Leno – or most people – would ever have such experience.

Luckily, “The Tonight Show” host made it out alive. “You gotta be fast,” Leno joked.

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