By Ransom Riggs
Invented by a National Geographic marine biologist in 1987, the "crittercam" is a small camera rig that can be attached to a wide range of animals, allowing scientists to study never-before-seen animal behavior. Since 1990, crittercams have been attached to more than 50 different species, from sharks and lions to seals and penguins. I wanted to take a look at a few crittercam "broadcasts" to see what animals do when they think they're not being watched. (Pictured at left: not crittercam. This is merely a cute otter holding a camera, for ironic/illustrative purposes.)
This is cool. Watch animal behaviorists attach a super-rugged crittercam to a lioness in the bush, then watch from her POV as she plays with her cubs and goes on a kill.
What sperm whales do during their thousand-foot dives has long been something of a mystery to scientists -- until the crittercam came along. Watch as a cam is attached to a whale about 6 feet behind its blowhole, and scientists observe a deep whale dive for the first time.
Remember March of the Penguins? These are those kind of penguins -- with cameras strapped to their backs. I'm endlessly amazed that these animals don't try harder to remove the little backpacks that scientists saddle them with.