9 Awesome Videos of Animals Discovering Cameras

When animals discover unfamiliar objects in their vicinity, the results can be hilarious—or kind of scary.

1. Owls

These little owls (Athene noctua) don't quite know what to do when they discover a GoPro outside their burrow in France. After some investigation, the birds—which eat meat and, occasionally, plants and berries—try to make it a snack.

2. Pallas' Cat

Otocolobus manul is a rarely seen cat that lives in the steppes and grasslands of Central Asia. They're about the size of a domestic cat, but their long, dense fur makes them look much larger. Also interesting: Their pupils contract into circles, unlike other cats', which are vertical slits. This particular video was shot at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent, England.

3. Grizzly Bear

This video, filmed on the Alaskan peninsula, is probably as close to a grizzly's mouth as you'll ever want to get.

4. Chimp

When just looking won't suffice, this chimp uses a stick to investigate a trail camera.

5. Prairie Dog

These prairie dogs, residents of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, seemed weirded out, then intrigued, by the presence of a GoPro outside their mound.

6. Fox

"I went to Round Island, Alaska, to film wildlife with the University of Alaska Anchorage," the GoPro's owner writes on his YouTube page. "My friends were photographing and filming sea lions when I spotted this fox come along. So I stupidly put my GoPro on the ground in hopes of getting a close-up. When the fox ran off, I thought I'd never see my camera again. For about 8 minutes we looked for it, then there it was!" The camera does turn on and record, but the fox ripped the face of the camera off. Thankfully, it didn't swallow anything.

7. Elephant

A curious elephant in Makgadikgadi Pans National Park picked up a trail camera and took it for a walk.

8. Squirrel

Sorry, squirrel—this camera won't love you back.

9. Cheetah

This cheetah takes just a little taste of safari guide Matthew Copham's GoPro before backing off.

Watch How a Bioluminescence Expert Catches a Giant Squid

Giant squid have been the object of fascination for millennia; they may have even provided the origin for the legendary Nordic sea monsters known as the Kraken. But no one had captured them in their natural environment on video until 2012, when marine biologist and bioluminescence expert Edith Widder snagged the first-ever images off Japan's Ogasawara Islands [PDF]. Widder figured out that previous dives—which tended to bring down a ton of gear and bright lights—were scaring all the creatures away. (Slate compares it to "the equivalent of coming into a darkened theater and shining a spotlight at the audience.")

In this clip from BBC Earth Unplugged, Widder explains how the innovative camera-and-lure combo she devised, known as the Eye-in-the-Sea, finally accomplished the job by using red lights (which most deep-sea creatures can't see) and an electronic jellyfish (called the e-jelly) with a flashy light show just right to lure in predators like Architeuthis dux. "I've tried a bunch of different things over the years to try to be able to talk to the animals," Widder says in the video, "and with the e-jelly, I feel like I'm finally making some progress."

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

Big Questions
Why Are There No Snakes in Ireland?

Legend tells of St. Patrick using the power of his faith to drive all of Ireland’s snakes into the sea. It’s an impressive image, but there’s no way it could have happened.

There never were any snakes in Ireland, partly for the same reason that there are no snakes in Hawaii, Iceland, New Zealand, Greenland, or Antarctica: the Emerald Isle is, well, an island.

Eightofnine via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Once upon a time, Ireland was connected to a larger landmass. But that time was an ice age that kept the land far too chilly for cold-blooded reptiles. As the ice age ended around 10,000 years ago, glaciers melted, pouring even more cold water into the now-impassable expanse between Ireland and its neighbors.

Other animals, like wild boars, lynx, and brown bears, managed to make it across—as did a single reptile: the common lizard. Snakes, however, missed their chance.

The country’s serpent-free reputation has, somewhat perversely, turned snake ownership into a status symbol. There have been numerous reports of large pet snakes escaping or being released. As of yet, no species has managed to take hold in the wild—a small miracle in itself.

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