Sometimes in the dark and quiet of night, I use the computer to search for information about my random thoughts. My latest such adventure landed me at the Smithsonian Wild site. Did you know that the markings of an eastern spotted skunk resemble more of a crazy zigzag than spots? I had no idea what an aardwolf was. And what’s a Siamese Fireback? On this website there are over 206,000 photos of animals in their natural habitats. Most photos were taken by remote cameras stationed for several weeks in different habitats around the world. The cameras were motion-triggered, giving us an amazing chance to see animals living their lives without human interference.
On the Smithsonian Appalachian Trail, the camera was set to record animals in a forest habitat. You will see black bears, bobcats, chipmunks, rabbits, raccoons, squirrels, and an occasional dog pass by.
What animals live in the African grasslands? What’s grassland like in Africa? The Smithsonian project in Kenya photographed animals for two weeks. This is a good view of everyday life among larger animals.
When you think of forests, what do you think of? The Smithsonian project in Malaysia will show a different variety of animals than we find in North America.
The Panama project shows a woodland that has very different vegetation than you find in most of North America. All of the photos from these Smithsonian projects give you a real sense of how camouflage and protective coloration protect animals in their habitats. It’s often like a hidden picture game to find the animals.
This is just a sample of the Smithsonian Wild projects. If you need photos of a specific region or animal, there’s a search box that makes it simple. Or you can go to the projects list and see all of the regions. I found large and small differences in the animals from one region to another. The red squirrel that pulls my peanut butter pinecones off the tree looks like a Southern Amazon Red Squirrel. Maybe they’re cousins with a close family resemblance. Enjoy the adventure.