Nick studied zoology at Nottingham University, but early in his career he realised that the academic route was too constraining and, via stints working on international conservation projects, he subsequently found the avenues of photography and popular natural history writing provided the freedom he wanted to indulge in and express his interests in the natural world.
He is best known for his work in tropical rain forests, where the diversity and complexity of life prompts relentless curiosity and inspiration. He is also intrigued by the peculiarities of islands, with the faunas of Borneo and Madagascar being two of his particular favourites.
Nick's travels have taken him all over the world from the Poles to the Tropics and he has photographed wildlife in many of the world's iconic as well as less glamorous and more unusual locations. His images appear in high quality publications globally (National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Terra Mater, Geographical etc.), while his own books, that combine his photography, writing and illustration have received wide critical acclaim.
Wildlife photography has never been more popular and more and more keen photographers, whether beginners or experienced, are travelling to indulge their interest. Nick has teamed up with his friends at Wildlife Worldwide to offer an exciting programme of photography trips. The aim of these is to offer unmatched experiences that maximise opportunities to watch and photograph wildlife while helping participants improve their techniques and achieve the best results from their photography, irrespective of their level of experience.
A number of new tours are now in place for 2016, 2017 and beyond. These include:
The Common Tenrec (Tenrec ecaudatus) from Madagascar, produces the largest litters of any mammal: 31 is the record in captivity, although the average in the wild is around 20.
The male Emperor Moth (Eudia pavonia) possesses the most acute sense of smell of any animal. The receptors on their antennae are so sensitive they can detect a single molecule of female scent (pheromone) and they can detect a virgin female at a range of 11km.
Straw-coloured Fruit Bats (Eidolon helvum) achieve the greatest aggregations of any mammal. Between November and December, in Zambia’s Kasanaka National Park, colonies may contain more than 12 million individuals.
In relation to body size, the Sword-billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera) has the longest beak of any bird: it can be 10cm in length and longer than the birds’ body.
The world’s largest true carnivore is the Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus): males typically weigh up to 600kg, but weights in excess of 900kg have been recorded.
Migrating Spiny Lobsters (family Palinuridae) travel in lines of up to 60 individuals and can walk up to 60km over the sea bed.
Camels have elliptical, rather than round, red blood cells to prevent their blood thickening when their body temperature rises.
The Mangrove Killifish (Kryptolebias marmoratus), which lives in red mangrove estuaries in the Caribbean and coasts of Central and northern South America, is the only vertebrate hermaphrodite.
There are as many as 12,000 human fatalities per year in India from snake bite. By contrast the average in North America is just 10.
The Siberian Tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) is the largest wild cat (family Felidae): males may reach over 3m in length, weigh more than 320kg and are capable of eating up to 25kg of meat in a sitting.
The Two-banded Anemonefish (Amphiprion bicinctus) lives in symbiotic partnership amongst the venomous tentactles of anemones. If two males confront one another, they do not fight, instead one turns in to a female and they mate.
The four largest cat species – Tiger, Lion, Jaguar and Leopard – are distinguished from all others because they can roar. Smaller cats can only purr and make shrill, high pitched cries.
In 1922, Miss Georgina Ballantine landed an Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) weighing 29kg (64lbs) from the Glen Delvine Water on the River Tay, Scotland. This leviathan remains the largest salmon ever caught on rod and line in the UK.
Myths of mermaids or sirens may well have been spawned by seafarer’s stories of Dugongs (Dugong dugon), a strange prehistoric relic that has human-like breasts.
In rich feeding grounds, the Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) may eat 40 million krill per day, weighing 3,600 kg – that’s the equivalent of an African elephant!
The smallest known elephant was a prehistoric dwarf species, Elephas falconeri, which had a maximum shoulder height of around 90cm.
Solenodons, strange primitive insectivores from Cuba and Haiti, produce neurotoxic venom in their saliva, which helps subdue prey like frogs, small reptiles and large invertebrates.
The Small-eyed Goby (Gobiodon micropus) can change sex almost at will. Put a small female with a larger one and she becomes male. Put the same individual with a larger male and it reverts back to being female.
The largest eggs ever laid, were by the extinct Elephant Bird (Aepyornis maximus) from Madagascar. They contained up to 12 litres of fluid, the equivalent of 240 chicken eggs: enough to make 80 omelets.
The Fosa (Cryptoprocta ferox) is unique amongst carnivores in having “reversible” ankles that help make it an exceptional climber and tree-top hunter.
An individual House Fly (Musca domestica) carries between 2 million and 3 million bacteria on and inside its body.
The shaved or powdered horn of Indian One-horned Rhinos (Rhinoceros unicornis) can fetch as much as US$20,000 – $30,000 per kilo on the black market.
Krill (Euphausia superba), a small shrimp-like crustacean that lives in the Southern Ocean is amongst the most abundant animals. Swarms are so immense they can be tracked by satellite and their total weight probably exceeds that of any other animal on Earth. The word “krill” comes from a Norwegian word meaning “whale food”.
The Golden Takin (Budorcas taxicolor bedfordi) – a type of goat-antelope (subfamily Caprinae) – has a striking orange-yellow coat and is thought possibly to have given rise to the legend of the 'golden fleece', searched for by Jason and the Argonauts. Golden Fleece was the name of the 1982 Epsom Derby winner.
Like whales, flamingoes only go to sleep with half of their brain “shut down” at a time. Hence, when they are asleep, they stand on one leg.
The Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) – a member of the bear family (Ursidae) – spends around 60% of its life feeding. It eats nothing but bamboo.
The fangs of the exquisitely camouflaged Gaboon Viper (Bitis gabonica) are the longest of any snake and may reach 5.5cm.
The skin secretions carried by a single Golden Poison-arrow Frog (Phyllobates terribilis) are enough to kill nearly 1000 people.
From fledging, to landing to nest for the first time two years later, the Common Swift (Apus apus) flies non-stop approximately 500,000km.
American Buffalo (Bison bison) numbers were reduced from 70-80 million to fewer than 800 in less than 30 years: a deliberate slaughter by European settlers as they spread west across the plains.
Over the course of an average 25-year life, the Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) flies the equivalent of a return trip to the Moon.
Sperm Whales (Physeter catodon) have the largest brain of any animal and they make the deepest and longest dives of any creature.
Goliath Beetles (Goliathus sp.) can weigh up to 100g – three times an average House Mouse – making them the largest living insects.
Spiders can “taste” things with their feet.
Nearly one quarter of all the world’s mammals are bats.
Mosquitos are the most dangerous animal on Earth: they transmit a variety of diseases that kill hundreds of thousands of people each year.
The Atlantic Giant Squid (Architeuthis dux) is the world’s largest invertebrate and has been known to reach lengths of 16m.
Slipper Limpets (Crepidula fornicata) are male when free-swimming, but become female once they settle on a rock. When a male swims by a female he immediately settles to mate. If another male then lands on top of him, the lower male then becomes female.
Relative to body size, termites (Isoptera) build the biggest structures of any land-dwelling creature. The tallest mounds are more than 2000 times the length of an individual termite. The tallest skyscrapers are only the equivalent height of around 300 people.
Sea Hares (Aplysia dactylomela) are snails without shells, whose bodies are male at the front and female at the rear, so sex involves the formation if erotic chains of animals arranged end to end.
The largest wild Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) caught on rod and line in the UK weighed 11.5kg (25lbs 5oz) from Loch Awe in Scotland.
The word ‘jungle’ is generally used to describe tropical rainforest and is derived from the Hindi word ‘jangal, meaning waste ground. It was coined in 18th century India to describe the ‘wild impenetrable tangle of vegetation’ that grew on waste ground.
Nick Garbutt Wildlife Worldwide Photography Tours
Tours and workshops around the world combining unrivaled photographic opportunities with tuition