Terry Nutkins, who died on Friday having been previously diagnosed with leukaemia, will be remembered as a cult television icon, known for his mad hair and passionate knowledge of nature.

Nutkins, 66, was widely known for presenting the wildlife shows Animal Magic and The Really Wild Show alongside presenters such as Anneka Rice and Johnny Morris.

From his childhood he had a keen interest in nature, sometimes skipping school to sneak off to the elephant enclosures at London Zoo, before leaving his parents' home to move up to Scotland aged 11 to help rear otters.

Even losing the top joints of two his fingers bitten off by an otter at the age of 15 didn't deter Nutkins from wanting to be as much involved with wildlife as possible.

In a 2006 interview with the Guardian, Nutkins said the fingers became gangrenous, and he asked the attending doctor to amputate them.

At 14, Nutkins lost his two middle fingers when one of Maxwell's otters bit him. "I had gangrene quite badly. I can remember the smell now." As Maxwell recorded in his second book, Nutkins lay in hospital and said calmly: "Chop 'em off, doctor. That ruddy lot's no good to anyone."

Nutkins moved into television presenting, becoming great friends with Animal Magic presenter Johnny Morris. When the show finished its run of over 20 years, Nutkins joined Chris Packham and Nicola Davies on The Really Wild Show.

Nutkins presented the show for seven of its 20 years on the BBC, before handing over to Michaela Strachan.

In between a career dedicated to animals and children's television, Terry Nutkins found time to have eight children with his wife.

He died on Friday, according to his agent, at his home in in Glenelg on the west coast of Scotland, near the Isle of Skye.

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  • Chris Rogers - Book Launch Party Arrivals

    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23: Terry Nutkins attends a book launch for Chris Rogers' 'Undercover' at the Mayfair Hotel on March 23, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart Wilson/Getty Images)

  • "Hell's Kitchen II" - Day 11 - Arrivals

    Terry Nutkins during 'Hell's Kitchen II' - Day 11 - Arrivals at Truman Brewery in London, Great Britain. (Photo by Ferdaus Shamim/WireImage)

  • "Hell's Kitchen II" - Day 11 - Arrivals

    Terry Nutkins during 'Hell's Kitchen II' - Day 11 - Arrivals at Truman Brewery in London, Great Britain. (Photo by Ferdaus Shamim/WireImage)

  • Chris Rogers book launch - London

    Terry Nutkins attends book launch for Undercover, at the May Fair hotel in central London.

  • RHS Flower Show - Tatton Park

    Wildlife TV personality Terry Nutkins with a bronze sculpture of himself, made by Nick Robertson, at the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire.

  • RHS Flower Show - Tatton Park

    Wildlife TV personality Terry Nutkins with a bronze sculpture of himself, made by Nick Robertson, at the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire.