Whether it’s the fluid movements of a jellyfish or the antics of an ape, observing wildlife can reduce stress. As life in America enters into unprecedentedly worrying times, tune into these live animal cams for a bit of zen.
Maybe it’s because I’m a Pisces, but the sound of waves lapping at the beach is the most soothing sound in the world. And I could watch fish swim all day long without a care in the world.
But because I live in the most landlocked state in the union (the Sunflower State of Kansas), it’s hard to get my fix at home. That’s why I often have ocean sounds playing in the background while I write or have live camera feeds of aquariums on my second computer screen.
If you are feeling a little overwhelmed (or just need a little wild in your life), then check out these live animal camera feeds from around the world.
Gaze at the giraffes, rhinos and other African animals in the Kijamii Overlook at the San Diego Zoo via this live animal cam. Or travel to Africa and take a virtual safari courtesy of the Africam remote cameras placed in the African wild.
Focused on the orangutans and siamangs that make their home at the San Diego Zoo, this live animal cam brings you apish antics in real-time. And in case you’re wondering about siamangs, they are black gibbons found in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. (Yes, I had to Google it.)
Fun Fact: The fastest way to tell the difference between an ape and a monkey is to look for a tail. Like humans, apes don’t have tails. But, most monkey species do. You can read more about the differences here.
If you prefer primates with tails, then observe two types of baboons living at the San Diego Zoo — hamadryas and gelada (although the gelada “baboon” isn’t technically a baboon). Here’s how to tell the two species apart when you watch this live camera feed: Hamadryas have distinctive skin-like red faces and rear ends while geladas sport their scarlet-colored skin patch on their chests.
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When it comes to watching the world-renowned American emblem online, I can recommend two live animal cams. Just north of me in the neighboring state of Iowa, the Raptor Resource Project in Decorah has a live camera feed on a bald eagle nest. Or you can travel to Florida and look in on the eagle’s nest at the Marco Island Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary.
Hundreds of years ago, before Europeans migrated to the “new” world, herds of bison roamed North America. The continent’s biggest land mammal was nearly extinct when the Smithsonian Institution’s chief taxidermist, William Temple Hornaday, founded the National Zoo, in large part to save them from extinction. If you enjoy watching the wooly beasts graze on tall grass, then this live animal cam from the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Illinois is for you!
When I was finishing college at Kansas State University, I lived near Sunset Zoo. And every time I took a long walk or went for a run, I seemed to find myself stopping by the bobcat’s cage. Today, I feel lucky to live in a neighborhood where bobcats occasionally stroll through my yard. And when I want to be sure to see the slightly-larger-than-domesticated-cat creatures, I tune into the Big Cat Rescue’s bobcat feed.
A word of warning about this live animal feed: Because this sanctuary helps bobcats that can be rehabilitated enter the wild, you may occasionally see them feasting on small animals like mice and rabbits.
Speaking of animals chowing down, listen to white water rapids flowing over a waterfall while watching brown bears fish for their salmon supper in this live animal camera feed from the Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska.
Fun Fact: If a brown bear lives along the coast, it’s typically called a brown bear. But brown bears that live inland, like in Montana and Wyoming, are known as grizzlies. Grizzly bears are essentially a subspecies of brown bears.
Watch a variety of colorful saltwater fish swim past coral and dart in and out of rocks in this live feed from the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. Or, if a kelp forest is more your thing, watch fish, sharks, eels, and other ocean dwellers in this zoo cam.
If you find relaxation in the pumping, breaststroke motion of a jellyfish, then check out the zoo cams pointed at jellies at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta or the Pacific sea nettles at the Vancouver Aquarium in British Columbia.
Standing 14 to 19 feet tall, these long-necked, tree-eating herbivores are my daughter Juliette’s favorite animal (which seems appropriate since she’s my tallest kiddo). Check in on the giraffes at the Greenville Zoo in South Carolina — in the giraffe barn or out in the paddock — through this live animal camera feed. (And since giraffes don’t sleep much, there’s a good chance they’re up when you are too stressed to sleep!)
While grizzly bears are native to Alaska, Canada, and the Yellowstone-Teton National Park area, this live animal camera feed is focused on grizzlies at the Reid Park Zoo in Tuscon, Arizona. Like the giraffe live camera feed, you can observe the grizzly bears on two zoo web cameras by toggling between the two options at the top of the zoo cam page.
If you’ve ever watched your newborn child sleep for an extended period of time, your heart spilling over with love, then you understand the fascination of watching koalas on zoo web cameras. These cuddly-looking creatures from Down Under typically sleep between 18 and 22 hours a day, a feat that almost puts my big, fat orange tomcat to shame (key word: almost).
Channel your inner Simba and be crowned king of the jungle by watching the live animal cams pointed at these fierce cats. See them at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, at the University of North Alabama in Florence, or at the Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida.
If you loved the television series Madam Secretary, then you know that Chief of Staff Russell Jackson tuned into the National Zoo’s panda cam to try to reduce his stress, lower his blood pressure, and keep another heart attack at bay. You can also spot the adorable black-and-white Chinese natives on the Zoo Atlanta panda cam.
From the first time I saw the animated version dance with Mary Poppins on the big screen, I’ve loved watching penguins. Fortunately, there are several zoo web cameras that will let me watch them at any time. Catch African penguins at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco where three live webcams are focused on their colony. Or check out the gentoo penguins at the Kansas City Zoo in my hometown.
Cute and cuddly as a Coca-Cola mascot, but fierce as heck in real life, polar bears are pretty cool to watch on zoo cams. Travel to the San Diego Zoo to watch polar bears or stay with me here in the Midwest where Berlin the polar bear is my youngest daughter’s favorite animal.
With her soft, silky fur and playful demeanor, my long-haired Siamese cat sometimes reminds me of a sea otter (well, if she liked water and didn’t sleep 22 hours a day). Part of the mink family, these adorable sea mammals were nearly hunted to extinction in the 1800s, but today you can watch sea otters that are unable to live in the wild on the Monterey Aquarium’s live cams.
Pro Tip: These six places along the West Coast are the best places to spot sea otters in the wild.
Do You Have a Favorite Live Camera Feed of Wild Animals?
What critters do you enjoy watching most? Are there any top-notch live animal cams missing from this list? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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