Meet the Wild Kratts! (And Check out the Wild Kratts Collection for Back-to-School ... )

Whole Foods Market teamed up with the hit PBS KIDS show Wild Kratts to create a line of products perfect for back-to-school. We sat down with brothers and co-stars Chris and Martin Kratt for an interview to find out about how they created the wildy popular program, their very favorite "creature powers, what kids can do to help protect animals, and so much more. Find the collection of products in Whole Foods Market stores now — shop now until August 23 and score 25% off!

Chris and Martin Kratt — with a real live 'roo!How did you come up with the idea for Wild Kratts?

Martin: We’ve been filming wildlife all around the world for years, and no matter how long Chris and I stayed in the wild, and lucky we got filming cool animals doing incredible things – there were always animal behaviors that we knew existed but just could never film. But with animation we can show kids so many of the most incredible animal behaviors and action that have never been seen before!

Chris: Plus, in this series, we wanted to focus on the incredible ‘Creature Powers’ of animals. Every animal has special abilities that can be mind blowing — a cheetah running as fast as a speeding car, a gecko walking up walls, or an electric eel with a high-voltage shock. We wanted our audience to be able to put themselves in the animal’s position and imagine what it would be like to have those amazing ‘creature powers’ — and to understand the natural history and the science concepts behind those abilities.

Why do you think kids like the show so much? 

Chris: Kids love animals and they get a charge from learning new things. We’ve always treated animals like characters that kids get to know just as they would any other friend – what makes them happy, what’s their favorite snack, what are they afraid of.  We share their enthusiasm for learning and their imagination in seeing animals on a more personal level.  And, of course, kids love to imagine what it would be like to have all these incredible ‘Creature Powers’ and use them in awesome creature rescues!

Chris Kratt and a lanner falconAre there any places on the planet you haven’t visited in the show but want to soon?

Martin: Sure, there are lots of fantastic places in the world for creature adventuring. We’ve been lucky enough to travel all around the globe filming animals – the Australian outback, Africa savannah, South American cloud forests, and many, many more. But in terms of Wild Kratts episodes, we still have plenty of ground to cover and creatures to meet. This season we’re doing some new episodes on animals from India, like the Bengal Tiger, Sloth Bear, and King Cobra.

Martin Kratt and an adorable wolf pupWhy do you think it’s important to care for animals?

Chris: Animals are our fellow creatures. They’re fun to have around and they enrich our lives. They’re part of our natural heritage and they’re important for the functioning of our planet in ways that we still don’t fully understand. And, of course, we can learn things from animals. There is a whole branch of science called bio-inspiration, which focuses on looking at how things are done in nature as a source of solving problems, understanding science, and creating inventions. For example, scientists are working hard to figure out how to replicate spider silk for a wide range of potential uses from medical sutures to body armors and more! And that’s just one example.

What can kids do to protect animals in the wild?

Martin: There are many things kids can do to help animals. Learning about animals is the first step. And telling other people about how amazing they are is a great thing to do too. And for kids who want to do even more, it’s very fun to get involved in local ‘citizen science’ projects, like frog counts or bird surveys. You can even do things to improve habitat for animals right in your backyard – like plant a butterfly garden or build a bat box. Check out different options in your area and have fun helping your fellow creatures!

The Kratt brothers get to pet a baby elephant.What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about animals?

Chris: It’d have to be that they always surprise you! There’s always more to learn about them. We humans know a lot about animals and scientists continue to learn more and more, but there is still a lot to learn about the natural world around us. Humans continue to discover surprising new things about animal behavior, physiology, and abilities. One time when we were filming Tasmanian devils, we got footage of one of the younger T. devils climbing a tree. At the time, scientists were just discovering for the first time ever that T. devils could actually do that!

The brothers share their animal knowledge with their fans.If you two could be any animal forever, which would you choose? Why?

Chris: That’s a tough one! Today I’ll pick a gibbon. I love climbing trees and gibbons are masters at swinging through the forests like no other creature can! People also don’t know a whole lot about their behavior so it’d be fun to join them for a while and learn all about how they live!

Martin: I’d probably pick a giant river otter. They’re from the Amazon and they live in packs and hunt piranhas. They’re really good swimmers and I’m the swimming brother! We really have to do an episode on giant river otters!

What is something unexpected you’ve learned about an animal from working on the show? Any cool behaviors?

Martin: We always learn new things about animals. That’s one of the coolest things about creature adventuring. On one adventure, we were filming mongoose in Africa, when they came across some warthogs. The warthogs immediately laid down on their sides. Then the mongoose climbed on top of them and started picking ticks from their bellies, ears and faces! It was a good deal for both animals — the warthogs got rid of pesky ticks, and the mongoose got a tasty meal! It was very unexpected and super cool!

The Kratt brothers encourage kids to share their love of animals and nature with others.What’s an example of an animal that people are usually scared of but shouldn’t be?

Chris: A lot of people are really scared of sharks, but one thing to keep in mind is that there are about 400 different species of sharks in the world and almost all of them would never bother a person. Even the largest of the sharks, the whale shark and the basking shark, are both filter feeders who eat tiny plankton in the water!  In fact, sharks have much more reason to be scared of humans than we have to be scared of them!

What’s your favorite food that also gives animals “creature powers”?  

Martin: I like to have a good trail mix when I’m out on the creature trail checking out animals. It’s full of good nuts, seeds, and dried fruit – the types of things that keep creatures going. And it keeps me going too!

Chris: I’m kind of a frugivore. That’s a creature who likes to eat fruit. I like to try different exotic fruits that we come across in various parts of the world – like rambutan and physalis.  And, for a snack, animal crackers have always been my favorite, which I why I’m so happy that we now have Wild Kratts Creature Crackers to take along with us on our adventures!

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