A device to spy on (record) my frogs at night?

Does something like this exist? It would need to be able to see the little guys hopping around at night. Also be able to handle rain, as that’s when the frogs are most active. Be able to scan half my backyard and maybe zoom in a bit. But not be so zoomed in I would miss what predators are coursing though the yard looking for prey ie. Raccoons, opossums, skunks, cats, dogs, polar bears, grey aliens…

If such a camera or system exists and isn’t a crapton of money I thought I might put it on my Christmas list. I have kinda looked over the years, but never really found anything that might be ideal. Since I suck at Google-fun Amazon-fu thought I’d go to people much better than myself - you :)



A while back I purchased a set of night vision goggles. They were made with Russian tech, I believe second generation stuff. They worked really well for the price. Less than $100.

But now you can buy devices that are way better than that for less. For instance, my Ring 2 doorbell is great at it. (Thanks again @Nesrie )

There are cheap systems that don’t need a hardwired connection to the house. But batteries are an issue.

How far from your house is the Frog Bop? What quality of video do you want? Can you do a wired connection?

I don’t know if we have any hunters on the board, but I am under the impression there are animal trackers out there used by hunters and nature watching type people for this sort of thing. Sadly I would feel kind of out of my element looking at that type of stuff, but I am fairly convinced it’s out there.

Like they set-up a camera and come back in a few days is what I am thinking.

I am glad it is working out for you!

Definitely need good quality. 1080P minimum.

I have 3 water features:

  • (1) The Winter Bog is ~50 thru 70 feet away from the house (it’s rectangular with the long side fading away).
  • (2) The pond is 12 feet in diameter and is right under my bedroom & bathroom window.
  • (3) The Frog Suez Canal runs in a horseshoe pattern creating a small island in the middle. It is ~45 feet in length long and is ~70 feet away from the house at it’s furthest point.

picture from space :)

That better have a real sign in your backyard!

These are called trail cameras if @jpinard wants to search. Should be plenty of models and info now as this is getting into the heart of many state’s deer hunting seasons.

The next viral internet sensation is upon us.

I’ve used trail cameras before now. They are battery powered so the use case is that you can stick them in the middle of nowhere and come check back on them later. Not sure they are necessarily a great solution for a back yard (although I have used one there) and essentially useless if you want to observe live.

If you can get power out to the main areas of your yard, I’d consider buying a bunch of Wyze Cameras as they are super cheap ($25 for the basic one, $34 for the pan/tilt version) but still really good cameras. They are technically indoor but there are plenty of products for protecting them and you can go an extra step and silicone edges of the cases if necessary. And if they fail, I don’t worry too much at that price point.

I dunno if the video what is good enough for what you want, but i have been extremely amused by the blink cameras i got on prime day.

I think they were in sale for like $120 for 3 of them. Essentially no installation, they are battery operated and supposedly last like 2 years on a battery. They’re waterproof. They have motion detectors, and infrared cameras.

The reason i thought they might be interesting for you, is that i periodically get footage of animals hanging out by my cameras, including at night.

The price was right for me, and they are useful for tracking stuff like when the ups guy delivers something, in addition to funny footage of animals.

Some things show up better than others in the dark… like here’s an opossum checking out the camera… You can see stuff like the grass and stuff well, and the fur on his body, but his white face basically washed out the image entirely. I have no idea how well it would film the frogs.

I would like to be able to view live.

Renactment (colorized)

THe blink cameras can be set to trigger on motion, or you can also watch live (with sound). You can even talk through your phone to the frogs, JP.

Could I record an entire night and then play it back in fast forward?

Hmm… I think you possibly could, but I dunno what that’d do to the battery. Also, since it stores video in the cloud, I’m not sure how big a whole night’s footage would be.

As it stands, the cloud storage seems pretty huge, but that’s because the clips it’s storing up there are only a minute long, so even with a bunch, it’s still not that much video compared to what you are talking about.

You might want something that is storing video to a local system.

I have Blink XT2 cameras, they’re designed for short clips, not entire evenings worth of recording, that’s why I thought nature watcher type devices might be better for that, or just hardwired cameras feeding into a local storage device.

I’ve kind of been in jpinard’s situation. For a long time there was a badger set at end of my parent’s yard. And my mother wanted to watch them. Over the years, they’ve had multiple solutions (setup by me).

As Nesrie says, Blink, Arlo & other like Nest & Ring probably aren’t suitable for this use case. The nature of them means they aren’t likely to capture as much footage as you want. They don’t record 24/7. Since they are trying to save battery life or bandwidth/cloud space they tend to have “smart” motion detection meaning small things (like frogs) can be ignored. And even if they capture something, they’ll wait X amount before they’ll start detecting again.

The market is flooded with half decent pan tilt zoom outdoor security cameras for $100-$200. Brands like Amcrest, Foscam, Zmodo etc. I’ve owned several own of them, they all worked fine. Most of the drawback tended to be around the apps/software being clunky. Optical zoom on them is around x5, if you want anything better you have to pay a lot more. For the distance and object (frogs) size being talked about here, I don’t think they’d be a good buy because you’d need several of them to cover 70 feet away. And in that case you might just as well buy multiple static cameras for $50 each and install them around the yard.

Wyze cams cost $25, $35 for the model that tracks motion and pans from side to side, and they will record continuously to a local SDcard. Amazon has cheap outdoor mounts for them. They do require power, however. And they do record in the dark via IR, although I imagine the built-in IR floodlight on the tiny camera won’t cover a whole yard.

I love Wyze cams, they’re super cheap and work great. Got three of them and a bunch of door/window sensors myself.

See the only thing I see that’s kind of makes these worthwhile, based on reading, over the cheaper stuff is you can mount them and they’re discreet. Even the couple of cameras I have, one of which can accommodate recording through glass at night and avoid that glare problem, all have noticeable lights that animals could easily notice, especially in the dark. I annoyed raccoon I met could easily destroy something like a Blink. Those are clever little predators.

Anyway, this at least shows you the other class I am talking about that I have no real experience with other than knowing they’re out there.

Seems like there’d be quite a market for a device that’s a cross between a home outdoor surveillance camera and a trail camera. It’s been frustrating trying to find something that can work which is why I’d often given up. But I don’t want to give up this time.