Family holidays can be stressful: you have to sit through hours of never-ending meals that run high on alcohol and carbohydrates, all the while engaging in meaningful conversations with relatives you barely saw all year. Add in the contentious election, and politics is likely to dominate many Thanksgiving tables — the perfect storm for some holiday-themed family drama.
This is where the live animal cameras come in. They’re everything you need to melt your holiday stress — because it’s never a bad idea to watch some cuddly panda bears play around in China or some badass jellyfish float around an aquarium in California. When Uncle Harry is yelling at Aunt May about how the family assets get divided or the Paris accords, you may need to take a break to chill out. Here are some adorable live animal cams to help with that. Enjoy!
This live cam is streaming giant pandas in a panda center located in the Gengda Xingfu Valley, in China. Pandas are no longer considered an endangered species, but they’re still listed as “vulnerable” to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. There are just over 1,800 pandas in the wild, according to the WWF. And their existence is threatened by climate change and habitat loss. Pandas eat mostly bamboo and they play key ecological roles in the bamboo forests where they live, spreading seeds and keeping the forests healthy.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium in California began live-streaming its purple-striped jellyfish on November 8th. The jellies, which can reach three feet in diameter, live off the coast of California and feed on zooplankton, other jellies, and fish eggs. Young cancer crabs can be found clinging to purple-striped jellyfish — sometimes even their guts — to eat parasitic amphipods that damage the jellies, according to the aquarium website. Their sting isn’t fatal, but it hurts. The live stream is only available from 10AM ET to 9PM ET.
Welcome to the bat cage on the campus of the Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Vampire bats are the only mammals that feed exclusively on blood, often from cows and horses. A colony of these bats — consisting typically of 100 bats — can drink the blood of 25 cows in one year, according to National Geographic. Vampire bats also have heat sensors to direct them toward the warm blood of their victims. Unlike wild bats, these lab bats at the Cranbrook Institute of Science are most active during the day, according to the Organization for Bat Conservation. If this streaming isn’t enough, there’s always a video of the cutest and most well-mannered baby bat yawning and covering its mouth.
Round Island in Alaska is one of four major land haul-out spots for the Pacific walrus — and you can watch it live on your laptop. Up to 14,000 walruses have been counted on Round Island in a single day, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The animals live in the frigid Arctic waters but they haul out on these rocks between feeding forays in the spring. Adult males are up 12 feet long and may weigh up to 2 tons. Their diet consists of clams, snails, shrimp, and occasionally seals. Because the Pacific walrus depends on sea ice for survival, the US Fish and Wildlife Service is considering listing the animal as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
This infrared camera live streams a beehive located in the town of Waal in Bavaria, Germany. The bees can be seen building combs and making honey to keep the colony alive. Honey bees are divided into three groups: the queen — usually one per hive — lays eggs and regulates the hive’s activity; the workers are females that look for food, build and clean the hive; and the drones are males that mate with the queen. Honey bees have been in decline and that’s bad news for the environment and the economy. Honey bees pollinate $15 billion worth of crops each year in the US, including more than 130 fruits and vegetables, according to the US Department of Agriculture. We’re approaching winter, an interesting time for beehives: drones are kicked out and the remaining bees survive on stored pollen and honey. So keep an eye out!