As we practice social distancing to protect ourselves and others from coronavirus, trips to zoos and aquariums are pretty much out of the question. In fact, many of them are closed to the public temporarily, so we couldn’t visit them if we (unwisely) tried.
Luckily you can still catch up with your favorite tigers, pandas, and unbelievably old dogs via live cam. Here are 10 of our favorites — watch them for five minutes or stare at them for hours on end to stave off existential dread. Whatever works for you!
The Cincinnati Zoo announced Thursday that it would close temporarily to help curb the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. It did, however, introduce a new Facebook Live show, which will air every weekday at 3 p.m. ET and feature a new animal every episode. Each installment will also feature an accompanying at-home kids’ activity, which you can peruse on the zoo’s website.
The inaugural episode, of course, starred Fiona the hippo. Watch it above.
The San Diego Zoo website has live cams for nine animal habitats, from koalas to elephants to tigers to pandas. A personal favorite of mine is the baboon cam, where I recently spent 20 minutes watching a single baboon scratch its own butt.
The best panda cam around is a little less active than usual because volunteers aren’t currently working at the zoo. It’s still there, though, and you can usually catch a glimpse of giant pandas Tian Tian and Mei Xiang hanging out in their habitat.
This live camera, which you can watch on Explore.org, streams a room at the Kitten Rescue Sanctuary in Los Angeles. While kittens are obviously the main attraction here (right now, a lot of them are named after Downton Abbey characters), a dog named Birdie also makes occasional appearances.
The jellyfish cam is the ultimate in soothing content — just deep blue water and a bunch of chilled-out blobs. What more could you ask for?
This California aquarium has lots of live cams (sharks! jellyfish! kelp forest!) but the sea otter cam is by far the best. It’s also available a bit less than usual because of temporary reductions at the aquarium, but you can still catch live feedings a few times daily.
If you don’t want to stare at puppies…we aren’t sure what to tell you. This puppy cam (there are four streams, FYI) is hosted by Warrior Canine Connection, an organization that helps former service members reintegrating into civilian life train service dogs for fellow veterans.
You’ll spot plenty of colorful fish and the occasional shark on the National Aquarium’s Blacktip Reef cam. Don’t see a shark yet? Keep watching. Lord knows you have enough weeks of self-quarantine left to achieve your dreams.
We at Mashable are huge fans of the Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary, a senior dog paradise in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. On this Explore.org live cam of the facility’s Senior Dog Gathering Room, dozens of very old dogs lie around, walk in circles, and sort of acknowledge each other. It is more riveting than any television show.
Horse girls, this one’s for you. This Kentucky center, which cares for and rehabilitates rescue horses, offers a soothing live feed featuring horses standing around in a field. Sometimes they move around, we assume, but mostly they are just standing and eating grass. It’s nice. Maybe someday we’ll go outside again too.
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