If a picture is worth a thousand words, a certain black bear in Boulder, Colorado, might just be one of the most prolific authors of our time.
It turns out the now-viral bear in question stumbled upon one of nine wildlife cameras installed across the city’s 46,000 acres of open space and mountain parks, triggering the camera to take some 400 bear “selfies.” While most animals, including other bears, deer, and beavers fail to even acknowledge the cameras, this particular bear was quite the “ham.”
The not-so-camera-shy bear got us thinking about some of the other cute, cuddly, and curious animals we’ve seen strutting their stuff on trail cams throughout the country. Here are a few of our favorites:
A Peculiar Pair in California
Peas and carrots. Peanut butter and jelly. Macaroni and cheese. Coyote and badger? That’s right—this unlikely duo was captured on a remote camera near Gilroy, California, in 2020. The video shows the coyote jumping in the air with glee at the sight of the badger, who strolls into the frame shortly after. The spry coyote anxiously awaits the slow-moving badger before the two set off together through a tunnel under a California highway. According to the Peninsula Open Space Trust, the organization that captured the footage, “Studies have shown that a badger and coyote hunting together can be beneficial for both species, as they pursue favorite prey such as ground squirrels.”
Unicorns Do Exist
OK, the next animal on the list isn’t exactly a unicorn, but he looks pretty darn close. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife staff were mystified when one of the bureau’s trail cameras caught an elk with an antler protruding from its forehead on camera last September. The elk was seen about 15 miles west of Yakima, with a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife representative calling the abnormality a “naturally occurring phenomenon.” Interestingly, officials said that if and when the animal loses the antler, another will grow in the same place.
Michigan Has the Spirit
What some are calling a one-in-a-million “spirit bear” was spotted via trail camera in the wilds of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula last fall. Technically a black bear, a spirit bear has white fur—and is very rare. The one captured on cam in Michigan was the first recorded sighting in state history and only the fifth ever identified outside of British Columbia.
Ah, the Joys of Parenthood
Any moms and dads out there are bound to feel this next one down in their souls. Captured and posted online by the Voyageurs Wolf Project in Minnesota, the footage chronicles a mother bear and her cub frolicking in the woods when the youngster recognizes the trail camera, sprinting right toward it and barreling into it with reckless abandon. After rejoining mom, the cub receives what appears to be a loving (but stern!) reprimand for his bratty behavior. In response, he makes a beeline for the cam once more, dislodging it from its stand. Too cute!
There’s a reason swing sets are such a big hit on playgrounds—they’re incredibly fun. And that’s precisely what one Colorado mountain lion learned last year when she discovered a tree swing made of logs. Fortunately for us, the entire adorable interaction took place on a trail cam! Though she was initially startled when the swing began to sway, the mountain lion looked more like a house cat than a big cat as she continued to paw and bat at it like a shiny new toy.
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