Motion activated wildlife camera.

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Motion-activated wildlife camera.

Wildlife cameras, or trail cameras, are becoming more and more popular as people rediscover the joys of nature and turn to activities such as watching families of animals in their natural habitat.

Nowadays, of course, you don’t need to sit all day in a small hide to capture a couple of shots, you can use a wildlife camera to do the work for you, just set up and go.

This is really the major feature of wildlife cameras and the reason why they are so popular. In the past, it was difficult to have a camera capture footage remotely, and the easiest ways to do it was by using a delayed-action timer or more complex systems such as pressure pads, now though, motion sensor wildlife cameras have brought that within the reach of many more people.

As there is no human operator there to take photographs, the camera has to have a way to take snaps, and the most common way to do this is with a motion detector.

In spite of their name, motion detectors are actually heat detectors; they use infra-red sensors to pick up the body heat of the subject animal and start the camera rolling. In order to work properly the animal has to be moving, letting the sensors pick out the warmth of the animal against the cold background. When an animal walks within range the camera rolls.

This has the advantage of not wasting footage by capturing non-essential shots, such as a tree branch waving close to the camera, because the tree doesn’t give off a heat signature, the cameras won’t be activated. All such sensors have an optimal range for detection, and this should be stated by the camera manufacturer. It’s good to have a camera with a long range, but there is of course a risk of picking up more accidental shots of other animals that you’re not interested in or human activity even, and if you only want to get close-ups then capturing images of far-off creatures will simply waste your battery and storage, so bear all these things in mind when buying and setting up your wildlife camera.

These kinds of cameras are used by hunters on game trails, letting them track and observe a certain area remotely for several weeks to find what kind of game wanders there, how many animals are in the area, and to find the common paths used by different types of animals, or else follow the movements of one particular subject.

Such cameras can also be used as a simple security system for your garden or house, or on farmland. In particular they can be useful for situating in remote places on your farmland to catch footage of any thieves or trespassers. They can be used to monitor livestock to make sure they aren’t wandering where they shouldn’t be or to keep an eye out for predators and watch the places where you think they might be getting onto your land.