07/09/2012 13:25 BST | Updated 07/09/2012 17:11 BST

Terry Nutkins Dead: Really Wild Show Presenter Dies Of Leukaemia (PICTURES)

TV presenter Terry Nutkins, famous for appearances on nature programmes including Animal Magic and The Really Wild Show, has died at the age of 66.

The naturalist helped out at London Zoo as a child and later helped author Gavin Maxwell care for otters on the west coast of Scotland before a TV career that included other programmes such as Brilliant Creatures and Growing Up Wild.

His agent John Miles said Mr Nutkins died at home in Scotland on Thursday, adding: "He had fought for about nine months or so with acute leukaemia."

The BBC confirmed the death of the naturalist, tweeting:

Nutkins' love for animals was undimmed in spite of losing two fingers at the age of 15 when he was bitten by an otter called Edal and in 2002 he showed there were no hard feelings when he opened a new otter enclosure at the Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary.

Recalling the incident, Nutkins said: "It was a very long time ago and I don't recall every detail.

"I just remember Edal going beserk and latching onto a finger. All I could think to do was get her to the door, throw her outside and slam the door shut quickly.

"Unfortunately, by the time I reached the door she had chewed right through the finger, and as I launched her she twisted in the air and managed to nip most of another finger off the other hand."

Presenter Phillip Schofield, who worked with Nutkins, gave his reaction to the news on Twitter, along with other TV personalities:

Nutkins grew up near Marylebone station and bunked off school to help out at London Zoo, where his expertise with animals became obvious.

He was sent to Scotland at the age of 11 to work with Ring Of Bright Water author Gavin Maxwell and help care for wild otters and it was there where he lost his digits to Edal's teeth.

Maxwell eventually became his legal guardian and Nutkins made the west coast of Scotland his home, settling in Glenelg, near the Isle of Skye.

Mr Miles added: "He was an absolutely lovely guy and just loved animals, and he was never happier than when he was with animals. We will all miss him very, very much."

He is survived by his wife, eight children and eight grandchildren.