There is no greater joy than witnessing animals enjoying their natural habitats but in this digital era, widespread use of wildlife web cams both in natural and captive spaces means you can do it from home.
Here are nine of the best wildlife web cams to enjoy from the comfort of your couch.
The brown bears of Katmai National Park
Spring seems to be finally emerging from the snow, and with this seasonal change comes Alaska’s brown bears, all of which have been hibernating for several months. Keep a lookout for sleepy-eyed brown bears and their cubs, or enjoy some of the highlights from past seasons prepared by Explore.org, which is basically a one-stop shop for nature live cams.
California’s sea otters
Among the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s many entertaining live cams – including moon jellies and penguins – is the ever-popular sea otter cam. From 8am to 8pm PT every day, otter lovers can watch these marine mammals feed, play, and take care of their babies. Feeding times are listed on the web site if you want to know the best time to tune in. Watch now at Monterey Bay Aquarium
International Wolf Center’s ambassador wolves
As one of the most elusive species on the planet, witnessing wolves via web cam might be the most reliable way to see them. The International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota, is dedicated to demystifying this historically targeted animal, often using the help of their captive ambassador wolf packs. Watch these wolves patrol their territory, play and eat through the center’s high quality camera – but be patient: wolves are skilled at making themselves hard to spot, even in a 1.25 acre enclosure.
An African safari via live cam
While taking a proper African safari is highly recommended, you can still get your fill of southern Africa’s magnificent creatures, like elephants, leopards and rhinos, through live cam alone. These cameras run 24/7 and offer great image quality, especially at night when animals are more active.
Under the sea in North Carolina
Here’s a live cam worth checking out regardless of season or global contagion level. Situated under Frying Pan Tower, about 34 miles off North Carolina’s Cape Fear, is an underwater camera revealing the density of life swimming just below the surface of the Atlantic. This is an excellent way to see sharks at their best without having to get in the water, let alone leave the house.
Southwest Florida eagle cam
There is something inherently wholesome about seeing bald eagles nest. Perhaps it’s their ability to inspire patriotism in Americans, but there’s also something sweet about seeing such an intense-looking animal caring so gently for its babies. This popular live feed offers several angles into the nest (including one with close proximity), which is occupied by the mating pair Harriet and M15, who replaced her original mate, Ozzie, after he died in 2015.
Wolong Grove giant pandas
With travel to China restricted for the foreseeable future, witnessing Giant pandas online is the best option for seeing their special brand of roly-poly play. The Wolong Grove Panda Yard in the Wolong Valley Nature Reserve offers endless hours of fun showing these gentle giants play, and although they are captive, they never fail to delight.
Gorillas of the Democratic Republic of Congo
This live web cam is strategically set up to capture gorillas as they trek through a popular jungle corridor, in which they might stop to graze or even nap. Though this stream runs 24/7, the operators advise checking in from 2am to 3:30am PT or 5:30am to 7am PT for your best chance to spot the gorillas during their mini-migration.
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This article was originally published March 2020. It was updated June 2020.