A camera-stealing sea eagle made the news this week after it absconded with a motion-sensing camera placed by Australian biologists:
But eagles are hardly the only animals with felonious tendencies.
In 2010 a diver in New Zealand was mugged by a wild octopus who swam away with his video camera. The criminal cephalopod led the diver on a chase before the camera’s owner managed to distract it by getting the octopus to latch onto his speargun and drop the recording device.
Octopuses seem to be especially grabby, even for something with eight arms full of suckers. Another diver, Drew Collins, recounted his close encounter with a giant Pacific octopus earlier this year in the Pacific Northwest at the Underwater Photography Guide. This octopus managed to grab hold of Collins’s camera rig and mask. The ensuing tug of war between the octopus and the human ended up splitting the seams on Collins’s gloves, flooding his drysuit with frigid water. For safety reasons, Collins had to abandon the camera rig momentarily, but was able to retrieve it on a second dive, with only a few scratchmarks where the octopus had tried to eat the equipment.
Another story of an underwater animal shutterbug occurred in the Caribbean in January 2010, when a sea turtle found a camera lost by a diver months before. Somehow the camera’s strap got tangled up in the turtle, and the camera was switched on, capturing a shaky yet compelling snippet of the turtle’s underwater journey:
A U.S. Coast Guard officer later found the camera on a beach in Florida, and posted the footage on YouTube – which eventually led him back to the camera’s original owner, a Dutchman named Dick de Bruin. Curiosity doesn’t always kill the big cat – sometimes it just makes for a fun video. In 2011 wildlife filmmaker Roger de la Harpe set up a camera to capture some lions walking nearby. One of the lionesses snatched the camera in her mouth and for a while walked with it down the trail:
Photographer Ed Hetherington also had a camera stolen by a curious lioness. He had rigged up his kit near a freshly killed buffalo to try and get some unique ground-level shots of lions feeding. But one lioness had other ideas.
“Instead of going back to feed on the fresh kill, the lioness decided she wanted to borrow the camera,” Hetherington wrote on Facebook. “She picked it up like she would a cub and carried it almost as if to say ‘Yeah, nice try.’”
And last year, a French tourist got some unexpected photographic assistance from a seagull in San Francisco. The bird snatched up her GoPro camera and managed to take some shaky footage of the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset before abandoning the device, relatively unharmed: