Welcome to the wonderful world of trail cam footage, where researchers and hunters use remote, motion-sensing cameras to study animals in their natural habitat. Unlike pristine, breathtaking wildlife photography – where each shot is carefully lined up and captured with crystal clear pixels – the footage from trail cams is usually messy, grainy, and on occasion, incredibly goofy.
Whether a bear is up to mischief or a deer is getting a bit too curious, trail cams capture some of the silliest, secret antics of various animals in their natural habitats. These photos showcase what goes on in the animal kingdom when they think no one’s watching.
Sun’s Down, Tongues Out!
Awww, just look at this midnight cutie being so cheery and playful! Also, who knew armadillos had such long tongues? While they don’t quite rival their cousins the anteaters’ tongues (giant anteaters can have tongues up to 2 feet long!), we definitely think that it takes this sweetie pie less than six licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.
Hello, We’d Like to Talk to You About Your Car’s Extended Waranty.
Is it just us, or does this curious crane checking out a trail cam look exactly like a door-to-door salesperson peaking through your peephole? Is there a number you can call to keep birds and other critters from soliciting?
But in all seriousness, we think it’s fantastic that while this curious crane is investigating a trail cam, their buddy is acting as a dutiful lookout behind them. We’d be curious too if we noticed a random box just strapped onto a tree trunk, and it’s great that this particular crane has a buddy to watch their back while they investigate.
Turn Off That Stupid Camera Carl
Someone clearly doesn’t like their picture being taken. If looks could kill, this martial eagle would have melted the trail cam down into nothingness. It’s both creepy and impressive how this bird somehow knew how to stare straight into the camera lens, glaring into our souls. With the sheer amount of aggression this eagle is giving off, we honestly think this might be a before picture, while the after picture is this eagle attempting to knock the trail cam off of its roost.
There’s some impressive monkey business going on here at the local watering hole. Is this guy trying to show off for the ladies? Is he getting in a couple of upside-down pushups before rehydrating? Or is he just bored and monkeying around? Whatever the reason for his fancy antics, we give his acrobatics display a 10 out of 10!
Is This Thing On??
How thoughtful of Mr. Grizz here to double-check the equipment. Bears are more curious than you’d think, and in investigating this trail cam on his home turf, a classic trail cam selfie was captured. We’re just glad it was a remote camera taking this picture instead of a human being on the other side of the lens. Talk about an awkward (if not just plain terrifying) encounter!
Everybody needs cuddles now and then, especially these two foxes who are clearly in need of come critter companionship. We guess that they’re old friends who haven’t seen each other in ages, or perhaps a teenage fox hugging his mom goodbye before going out on a hunt. Either way, we can’t help but appreciate these adorable snuggles.
An Effortless Profile Pic
Admit it: this bobcat is more photogenic than you and nearly every human you know without even trying. The cool look of feigned indifference. The breathtaking natural backdrop. The gorgeous natural lighting. It’s all so effortlessly stunning. Can you tell we’re jealous?
Also, the owner of this trail cam definitely got their money’s worth, as this is one of the clearest, most picturesque trail cam photos we’ve ever seen. #Flawless #NoFilter
Apparently, bears appreciate an excellent dining spot just like us. Yogi and Boo-Boo are just missing a tablecloth, some candles, and a picnic basket, and then they’d be all set for a delicious, outdoor dining experience!
Hopefully, however, no campers or hikers stumbled upon these two while they were having their make-believe mealtime. That’d be enough to make any faint-of-heart human lose their lunch.
Draw Me Like One of Your French Cats
Taking a quick rest right in front of a trail cam, this bobcat is the purr-fect drawing model. Looking cozy and right at home while practically posing in the snow, this kitty would be an excellent Miss or Mister January on any cat-themed calendar.
Also, disregarding the claws and sharp teeth for a moment, that fluffy belly is just begging to be rubbed! But seriously, don’t actually attempt to pet an animal in the wild, no matter how adorable they appear.
A Rare Landscaper Sighting
HA. This landscaper clearly saw an opportunity to make the camera owner chuckle by replicating the curious, close-up trail cam selfie so many animals take when they discover a trail cam in their midst and go in for a closer look.
Also, good luck seeing any wildlife in the photos from this trail cam for the next few hours. A giant riding lawnmower is sure to scare any potential photo subjects anyway while it’s running at full volume.
While this trail cam captured this beautiful red-tailed hawk either taking off or about to land, their wingspan is not unlike a best friend spreading their arms wide to welcome you to a big get-together. Something tells us this bird throws some fabulous parties, though you might want to pass on the hors d’oeuvres, as some of the animals common to the hawk’s diet include squirrels, mice, and snakes. Ick!
Posting an Embarassing Selfie With Your Buddie
Dude, you couldn’t wait until he finished?? Buck here was so curious about checking out a trail cam that he didn’t realize the motion sensor would capture his friend Biff behind him in a pretty unflattering pose. It turns out best buds doing goofy stuff on camera isn’t limited to just humans. Now Biff is going to be embarrassed all over the Internet, and Buck will officially be the worst friend ever.
Does This Trail Cam Make My Butt Look Big?
This greatly concerned bobcat probably isn’t as body-conscious as the pose in this photo would suggest. More likely, the bobcat passed by the trail cam, activated the motion sensor, and when the camera started taking pictures, the shutter sound made the bobcat turn back to look at the camera in fright. Startled or self-conscious, we hope this kitty got over their initial shock.
In a plot twist, this bobcat is probably a pro in taking “accidental” selfies. Few Instagrammers can rival such easy effortlessness while flaunting their curves.
Having a Meditative Moment
This bear is having some truly profound, what-is-my-place-in-the-universe thoughts.
Or it’s thinking about lunch. Either way, it doesn’t seem to mind using this hunter’s makeshift deer stand as a seat. While a pile of logs doesn’t look too comfy to us, we can’t say the same for the bear, as we don’t have bear butts.
A Ramen Noodle Rack
Ok, so whatever is tangled up in this buck’s antlers is most likely some kind of grass or weed instead of ramen noodles, but still, what a mess! While probably not the most strange or frightening thing caught on a nighttime trail cam (see any of our related slides in this post), the darkness sure adds an element of mystery around the odd substance tangled up in this young buck’s antlers.
If not ramen noodles or some type of vegetation, our next guess is that this buck is trying his hands – or antlers we should say – at macrame. Maybe he should try knitting instead?
An Unlikely Pursuit
Skeptics will say it’s photoshopped, but if you’ve ever encountered a cranky dachshund, you know this situation is 100% possible. While elephants fearing mice may be a myth, we think rhinos and multiple other critters are completely justified in fearing dachshunds. It’s always the tiniest of dogs that have the most bark and bite. Always.
The Trick or Treat Thief
Oh deer. It looks like this doe got a little too curious (and/or greedy) on Halloween. We’re relieved to note that it seems like the trick-or-treat bucket might not have had any candy in it, so the doe was saved a massive stomachache.
We can’t imagine how the doe got the candy bucket in the first place, however. Was it an outdoor decoration that she swiped off of someone’s front porch? Or is there a child somewhere trying to explain to their parents that a deer stole all of their candy?
Terror of the Night
Move over vampire bats, there’s a new flying, furry terror taking over the night, and it’s none other than the seemingly adorable, fluffy flying squirrel. Witness one of these cuties at night, and you’ll have a new villain of darkness on your hands.
Hopefully, the trail cam owner didn’t get a jump scare when seeing this footage on their camera, while we definitely did. Flying squirrels can be unbelievably cute, though clearly not when depicted on a night vision cam. We’re relieved that they appear much less menacing in the daylight.
Wanna Play Ball??
It looks like Bambi here wants to shoot some hoops. Do you think he plays H-O-R-S-E or D-E-E-R on the court with his friends?
All joking aside for a moment, we all hope that bucks will eventually learn to be more careful with swinging their antlers around, especially since they’re so prone to getting them caught on stuff. You’ve heard the phrase “bull in a china shop?” Well, another version is “a deer rubbing his antlers against literally anything.”
Hey, I’m Flyin’ Here!
If this owl isn’t a Dustin Hoffman fan, another caption for this trial cam pic could easily be: “You darn kids need to get off of my lawn!!!”
By the initial looks of it, someone sure doesn’t like sharing their airspace. However, judging by the framing of this photo, it’s more likely that this seemingly grumpy owl happened to activate the trail cam’s motion-sensing feature when taking flight, and also happens to have a grumpy-during-takeoff face.
Welp, it looks like one hunter will have to find a new spot for their tree stand, as this one is clearly taken. Finders keepers has never been more of an essential rule than when a bear finds your stuff. However, it’s a good thing that the hunter checked their trial cam footage in advance before heading to this location. Otherwise, they would have been in for quite the frightful surprise.
Also, that’s one durable tree stand if it can comfortably hold a full-grown black bear. They can weigh over 600 pounds!
A Textbook Example of a Deer in the Headlights
Oh goodness. There’s a reason humans came up with the term “deer in the headlights,” and here’s clearly why. It turns out humans aren’t the only ones that look absolutely horrible when a camera flash goes off. This is the kind of creepy, nighttime nature images you wish they wouldn’t show on nature documentaries.
Only one question remains: is he more scared of us, or are we more terrified of him?