Creature Feature: Crittercam

Have you ever wondered what a shark sees as it swims through the ocean? What a manatee does in its free time? What penguins do when no one is looking?

A penguin carries a camera on his back to record environmental data.  Photograph by Greg Marshall, National Geographic Creative

A penguin carries a camera on his back to record environmental data.
Photograph by Greg Marshall, National Geographic Creative

National Geographic scientists and engineers have come up with a creative way to answer these questions. Crittercam is a camera designed to be worn on the back of a wild animal. These innovative cameras do not disturb the animal in any way, ensuring that scientists are able to observe an animal’s natural behavior. Because of this, engineers have to carefully design each camera based on the physical qualities of each animal they are studying.

Biologist Greg Marshall, creator of the Crittercam, had his “eureka!” moment for the Crittercam in 1986. He was inspired by a remora fish swimming with a shark. What a view that remora must have had! Since then, scientists have studied monk seals, penguins, lions, hyenas, and grizzly bears (among others) with Crittercams.

A bull shark is accompanied by a reef fish and a remora.  Photograph by Mattias Klum, National Geographic Creative

A bull shark is accompanied by a reef fish and a remora.
Photograph by Mattias Klum, National Geographic Creative

Read more about Crittercam here, and take our poll below to vote on which animal you’d most like to study.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s