Trail cameras for wildlife watching – how to choose a night camera

How to choose a wildlife trail camera, night camera
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I’ve been thinking about getting a wildlife camera for some time to spy on the night time wildlife in the garden. My recent experience borrowing one and becoming a pet detective made me even more determined. Thanks to an early birthday gift, mine is all set up and working well. Here’s an example of the footage:

I’m not going to write a guide to all the trail cameras out there. I’ve only tried a few and you can find plenty of reviews online but I will give you my top tips here and some of the things I thought about. Mine is an AUCEE hunting camera.

You can get a reasonable trail camera for around £60 online. You will also need batteries and an SD card. I checked out the best reviewed trail cameras on Amazon. Many are very similar and one in this bracket should record both still photos and video footage. I wanted one that also had the following features:

  • Reasonably waterproof to withstand being outdoors for long periods of time. Note that many cameras say that they are splash proof, rather than waterproof.
  • A low glow infra-red camera that would not scare off wildlife and where the sensitivity of the trigger could be changed.
  • Short trigger speed to maximise capture.
  • A decent recording time. Many I looked at in the £60 bracket had a maximum recording length of 1 minute. Mine can be set to record up to 10 minutes. I thought this would be best for recording longer aspects of hedgehog behaviour, such as courtship….

It is worth thinking about the SD card. Mine uses a micro SD card which can be very fiddly to insert and remove. A camera with a standard sized SD card might be better if you are not very dextrous and plan to check the footage regularly.

I am using rechargeable batteries with mine. The camera is pretty power hungry so I’ll need to re-charge them possibly once a week. It takes 8 batteries but apparently if you remove all 8, you have to re-set the timing and date. So I will be recharging 4 at a time….

I asked my wonderful husband to build a pole with a bit of extra rain protection for siting the camera. You could also use a moveable piece of metal trellis – which is easier to insert in the ground and move around the garden.

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My husband mounted the camera on a wooden stake using the belt that it comes with. He also built some extra rain protection onto the stake

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An alternative form of mounting using a piece of metal trellis. An old piece of plastic packaging has been used to provide extra rain protection in this version.

I’m sure many people reading this will have tried other cameras and have other tips and suggestions so I look forward to reading your comments and reviews!

I run a hedgehog hospital in York. My work is entirely self-funded. You can find out more about how to support my work here.

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9 thoughts on “Trail cameras for wildlife watching – how to choose a night camera

  1. This is great. I love my camera, it’s only basic but it’s great being a wildlife spy! I didn’t know about the battery thing, that explains why my time and date go funny! I put mine out tonight only this time I remembered the SD card, oops!

  2. I use a trail cam from Aldi, they usually have them on sale in June. I put mine on an old camera tripod and move it around the garden. You certainly learn how many cats you have in the neighbourhood! However, it is great for finding out what the hedgehogs get up to at night.

  3. Great review. I haven’t heard of that make before. I have a Bushnell Nature view which took a lot of saving up for, which means I worry about it being out in the wood over night. I also have a Little Acorn which I had for my birthday 5 years ago, this one works really well, has survived being chewed by badgers and was a lot cheaper. (although the Bushnell is better quality film)

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