You see - day or night, with or without flash, most cameras have a "face" to them that's visually created by the holes for the lens, flash and sensor. And when animals notice a cam, they generally key on that face. And some even get very interested in it.
The "face" of a camera trap
One reason they often get interested, is because that face - no matter what one might do to clean the scene - also smells funny. Of plastic, and metals, battery chemistry, and a touch of human. And animals always like to understand different smells. Could be a new food source.
And maybe the lens, shutter, or day/night IR filter makes small sounds as it operates. Sounds that might remind some foragers of mice or grubs or termites living in a knot-hole.
Which, as cam CF600 experienced in late 2011, can be quite problematic in black bear country.
But most locals are nice, and just give the cam trap a good once-over before returning to their regular programming. And it's during those up-close and "in your face" inspections that the not-so-fast cameras sometimes catch them showing their curiosity.
At least to my often over-anthropomorphic eye.
Here's eight species from my cam traps. Whaddya think?
Black-tail buck caught with a mouthful
The raccoon once-over
Too-smart Steller's trying to reverse engineer a camera
Fast-blinking gray fox
"What's in there? Maybe grubs? Perhaps I should crack it open and find out?"
Fortunately, that was a nice bear. No cracking occurred.
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - Stephen Colbert's Nightmare