Trail cams have captured some truly amazing images through the years, but North Carolina's Candid Critters trail cam program may have captured the first-ever romantic moment between a deer and a raccoon.
A post on the North Carolina Candid Critter's Facebook page last week shows what appears to be a deer kissing a raccoon hanging upside down from a tree limb. The two species aren't exactly known for frolicking together, so the encounter has left biologists a bit perplexed, according to the Charlotte Observer.
One theory is the raccoon was out seeking a partner, since it is mating season for raccoons. Another is that the raccoon was just being playful and mischievous, something the critters are known for.
We'll never know what truly happened in that seemingly magical moment, but it certainly wasn't the first time a trail cam image left us amused or astounded, and it won't be the last. In fact, the Candid Critters program has had more than its fair share. In addition to the image of the amorous raccoon and deer, Candid Critter trail cams have also captured images of 2-foot-tall squirrels and bears engaged in a fight.
Candid Critters was created a few year back with the mission of discovering what kinds of wildlife were living and thriving across North Carolina. The trail cam footage has helped track wildlife populations and movements in addition to the more entertaining moments.
Closer to home, trail cams in Illinois have captured some interesting sights as well. In 2012, a trail cam captured a cougar in Morgan County, near Springfield. A hunter captured the image of the cougar, also called a mountain lion, and the photo was authenticated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. It was a significant sighting because it was only the fourth confirmed cougar sighting in Illinois since the 1870s.
And while trail cams can definitely be useful tools for hunters and scientists tracking animals in particular habitats, they do provide their fair share of laughs. Field and Stream has even sponsored a Trail Cam Bloopers contest. As you might expect, deer and raccoons are frequent contributors to the blooper reel.