Watch adorable animals, in real time, right now. Do I have your attention?
The Internet makes the world smaller, but there’s something about watching real-life creatures, live, that makes that smallness more…tangible. True, there are cat videos from all over the world I could watch right now, but the idea that I’m seeing a cat as it exists, right now, somewhere in the world is a completely different experience. It’s more spontaneous, and it’s a much less distracting thing to leave open when you’re trying to get work done. It’s a way to feel connected with the world, even when you’re not. Sure, I’d rather see an animal mid-hike than on a computer screen, but if you love animals this is a great temporary substitute.
I know this, because Kathy – my physicist wife – frequently spends long nights in the lab. Live video of creatures makes that time better for her, especially when the creatures are wild. So I thought I’d compile a bunch of places to find streams like that. I did some digging, and found several sites that offer high-quality, real-time footage. Some of the creatures are domestic, some wild, but all of them are worth leaving on a second monitor. Constantly.
This is a pretty great place to start. Animal Planet’s collection of streams can be easily scrolled through, and offers a variety of critters you can see in just one click. Just head to APL.tv and you can start watching immediately:
I bet the chick cam isn’t what half the people Googling think it’s going to be.
Anyway, to get started all you need to do is click a thumbnail at the bottom and endure a single ad. There’s a lot to choose from here, but personally I’m a fan of watching the clownfish tank.
I don’t understand why that’s delightful, but it is. It really is. Watch it for a while and feel relaxed.
The aptly named website gives you a wide variety of live animals to check out. Just click any of the thumbnails up top to get started:
Okay, so while a 900 kilogram (2000 pound) creature capable of running 50 km/h (30 mph) is more terrifying than cute, I love that I could quickly find one to watch. As a bonus, I wasn’t afraid the thing was going to freak out and attack because I have the safety of the Internet. I almost drove into one of these around midnight while driving in North Dakota – and would have, if not for those eyes. Those massive, reflective eyes.
Anyway, it’s an impressive creature.
But I promised cute, and I plan to deliver, so here’s a Panda.
That’s right: you can watch a panda. Right now.
Why are you still reading this?
UStream’s Animal Section
Observant readers no doubt noticed that Animal Planet’s offerings were all from UStream. The popular online streaming service offers a wide variety of animal streams, and it’s worth checking out. I found these kittens from Defiance, Ohio:
Get the experience of dozens of kittens without the odor!
Kittens are classic, but personally I prefer these wild puffins from Seal Island, Maine.
That one kept looking at the camera. Like he saw it.
Explore for a while and you’re bound to find something good, because new streams are added constantly.
This California Aquarium offers high-quality streams of most of it’s creatures. And most of the creatures are awesome, but let’s be honest: you’re here for the sea otters. Even if you don’t know it yet: you’re here for the sea otters. I caught them during feeding time:
There’s also HD streams of a one–million-gallon open ocean tank, which is also worth checking out. Explore their cameras now, and note that feeding times are all listed.
Justin.TV is right up there with Livestream when it comes to offering live streams of just about anything, so it’s worth checking out their animal section as well. I quickly found these puppies:
Overall I didn’t have as much luck here as the other sites, but you might. Check it out.
There you have it: live streams of animals from around the world. I find that these make excellent second-screen companions, especially when work goes later than you planned.
Which creatures are you watching? Please, leave links in the comments below. Together we can make this list even better, and spread the live-streaming cuteness worldwide.