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Meddlesome Mammal Not Ready for Their Close-up

Trailcam 2021 Coyote Edit

Trail cameras are an oft-used tool for monitoring wildlife, and one of their biggest benefits is their non-invasive nature. A trail camera (also known as remote or wildlife cameras) is easily mounted to a tree with the use of a cord, bungee, or screwed-in mount. It remotely monitors movement, and will begin to record photos and videos once its sensor detects change. Their unobtrusive quality enables one to get an idea of the daily and nightly activity of wild animals, without interfering with their natural movements and behaviors. Therefore, it makes a great tool for researchers and hobbyists alike!

However, trail cameras are often set low to the ground and aren’t exactly invisible.

So when you find your trail camera tampered with, who is your first suspect? Strong wind, pesky teenagers, a faulty mount?

How about a masked bandit?

Our most frequent culprit for unapproved camera modifications is our local raccoon population. Known for their curiosity and their dexterous hands, they are quick to explore novel items and features and make incidental adjustments. In fact, the origin of their name even references their hands-on approach. The word raccoon is derived from the Powhatan word “aroughcun”, translating to “animal that scratches with its hands”. Similarly, the Aztecs referred to raccoons as “mapachitli”, meaning “one who takes everything in its hands.” As we can clearly see from these videos, raccoons couldn’t have been more aptly named.

Adjusting, fiddling, and flipping the camera upside-down, these raccoons certainly know how to leave their mark.

As we can see from this next capture, raccoons aren’t alone in their curiosity. Here a coyote visitor stops by to give the camera a brief nudge before continuing along into the night.