TurtleTV – Raspberry Pi Camera for My Turtle Habitat

Earlier this year, we discovered our new house came with a few unexpected tenants: desert box turtles. For the first two months, we thought we only had two, dubbed Sheldon and Shelly. Estimates today range from 10-15.
As responsible turtle habitat owners, we sought to provide the best hospitality we could for our four-legged residents. We left out canned cat food, fruits, and veggies and tossed worms to turtles who made an appearance. We also dug a hole a few feet deep and filled it with soft soil for digging and covered it with a protective wood top. This shelter is nicknamed “Turtopolis” and is the new home of Shelly.
We had so many questions. Did the turtles eat the food we left out for them or was there a cat in the neighborhood sneaking into our backyard? (turns out “yes” to both questions) We also wanted to know how many turtles we had, specifically how many baby turtles, who spend most of their days hiding.
To find out, I bought a noir camera for one of my raspberry pi computers and installed RPi-Cam-Web-Interface. This open source software provides a simple interface in your internet browser to watch the live camera feed and automatically record clips when motion is sensed.
TurtleTV was a great success. Turtles are both hilarious and clumsy and yet still evolutionary marvels. They’ve adapted well to our backyard and it’s a pleasure watching them on and off camera.
TurtleTV also helped us capture two of the baby turtles. They often don’t hibernate or survive their first winter. Now these guys will be enjoying the good life till spring.

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