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.

A collage of four black and white photos of a bear captured by a trail cam.
City of Boulder

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 series of four stills taken from a trail cam of a coyote and badger heading down a culvert together.
Postland Trust (@postlandtrust) Instagram

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.


A still from a trail cam showing an elk with one of his antlers growing in the center of his forehead, much like a unicorn.
Kiro 7 News, courtesy David Kauer

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. 

A still from a trail cam showing a bear with all white fur walking through a forest.
MLive Michigan

Michigan Has the Spirit 

What some are calling a one-in-a-millionspirit 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.

A collage of two still images captured by a trail cam. The top image shows a mother brown bear and her cub, as the cub runs toward the camera. The second image shows a humorous closeup of the cub's face.
MLive Michigan

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!

A still captured from a trail cam of a mountain lion playing with a wooden swing with her paw.
Thaddeus Wells (@phatteus) YouTube

Swing Away

There’s a reason swing sets are such a big hit on playgroundsthey’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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