Over the previous decade, podcasting has exploded right into a multibillion-dollar trade, and certainly one of its extra fashionable genres can roughly be described as bros speaking about stuff. Tooth and Claw suits that area of interest, and the rationale for its recognition—practically half one million listeners tune in every month, in accordance with the hosts—is captured by a quote from E. O. Wilson that’s a favourite of Wes’s. “We’re not afraid of predators, we’re transfixed by them, vulnerable to weave tales and fables and chatter endlessly about them, as a result of fascination creates preparedness, and preparedness, survival,” Wilson mentioned. “In a deeply tribal manner, we love our monsters.”
“Survival” right here means two issues. The blokes actually need listeners to benefit from the wilderness safely, and so they’re without end preaching the gospel of bear spray and clever backcountry selections. However additionally they need the monsters to outlive, and today, everywhere in the world, megafauna are operating up towards extinction. The present’s technique to deal with that is easy: lure listeners with irresistible animal-attack tales, then emphasize conservation. If clowning round can appeal to a good greater viewers, a lot the higher.
For 3 years, the lads have served up assault tales involving creatures starting from beavers to grizzly bears. They’ve been so profitable that QCode, a Los Angeles–based mostly podcasting firm that produces a glittery lineup of exhibits by Hollywood A-listers, added Tooth and Claw to its roster in 2022. That very same yr, when The Atlantic wanted a actuality examine on the hit film Cocaine Bear, it known as Larson. This yr the present received a Sign Award for greatest road-trip podcast.
Followers of the present acknowledge the voices of Wes, Mike, and Jeff as, respectively, authoritative, circumspect, and, um, fully stoned. Once you meet them, their seems to be don’t fairly match these personas. Wes, 39, is the smallest of the three, whereas Mike and Jeff, each 34, are tall, beefy guys. And Jeff insists that his voice—with its sluggish cadence and trebly, nasal pitch—just isn’t weed induced, despite the fact that “individuals at all times ask if I’m excessive throughout episodes.” Nonetheless, his timbral uniqueness enhances his position, which he describes as saying “the stupidest issues I can provide you with.” Wes’s job is to sound precisely like who he’s: a scientist who earned a grasp’s diploma in wildlife conservation and has achieved years of fieldwork with polar bears in Alaska, black bears in Utah, and grizzlies in Yellowstone. Mike, for his half, is the present’s everyman. A self-professed homebody, he represents tens of millions of Individuals who may enterprise into the wild, if solely they’d a bit extra confidence.
In fact, not all episodes pack the comedian potential of pink river dolphins, which implies Jeff and Mike must be opportunistic. Take into account the episode from March 2021, on oceanic whitetip sharks, a big species present in heat seas. The present focuses on the five-person crew of a sunken yacht known as the Trashman, who, in 1982, have been adrift in a rubber dinghy within the Atlantic for days with out meals or water. Blood and pus from accidents they’d suffered have been sloshing about on the backside of their raft, combined with urine and seawater. Everybody obtained staph infections, and a whole bunch of sharks, sensing an impending meal, started circling. Wes says that the crew members turned annoyed when the Coast Guard failed to point out up after three days, after which, Mike provides, “ ‘Annoyed’ isn’t the phrase.”
Jeff: “I’d need to speak to their supervisor as soon as they obtained there.”
Mike: “I’d give them three extra days, then I’d actually lose my persistence.”
Jeff: “I’d write them a strongly worded letter.”
After two crew members drank seawater and started hallucinating, one introduced that he was going to seek out his automotive, whereas the opposite mentioned he was headed to 7-Eleven for beer and cigarettes. Each stepped off the raft and have been torn to items by sharks. Later, when a 3rd died from her accidents, the remaining crew briefly thought-about cannibalism, then finally rolled her physique overboard to its grotesque destiny.
The story ends with a cargo ship saving the 2 survivors, and solely then do Jeff and Mike regain their mojo. Throughout a section known as What Would Mike and Jeff Do?, Mike says, “I might set up the rule you don’t pee contained in the boat.” In Cage Match, a section about which of the present’s beforehand featured water animals might defeat an oceanic whitetip in a combat, they determine that orcas, nice whites, and hippos might all take the shark, leaving Jeff to argue passionately for the inclusion of reticulated pythons—an almost-
water animal—to present the shark an opportunity.
Wes concludes with a blistering evaluation of the media protection of this tragic occasion, particularly use of the time period “shark-infested waters.”
“It’s their habitat,” he insists. “They stay within the ocean. It’s not ‘infested’ with sharks. If something, the ocean is infested with people.” He notes that unethical fishing has made oceanic whitetips critically endangered, and encourages listeners to purchase sustainable seafood. “Sharks are an animal that get numerous hate from individuals,” Wes says. “I’m not a kind of individuals. In case you are a kind of individuals, it’s best to take a protracted, onerous have a look at how you’re feeling concerning the planet.”
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