7 Best Thermal Imaging Cameras for Wildlife

When monitoring wildlife having the right tools for the job is very important. One of the most indispensable tools for wildlife viewing and monitoring is a thermal imaging camera. With the best thermal imaging camera for wildlife, rangers are able to keep track of endangered species and monitor their movements day and night. These cameras are also important for viewing wildlife in the dark and learning their behaviors in the wild.

Thermal cameras work by detecting the infrared radiation wildlife emit. This makes them usable in any lighting or weather conditions. Furthermore, these cameras ignore visual camouflage and work in a wide range of temperatures to help you to study the behavior of different animals in different seasons.

What is a Thermal Imaging Camera?

A thermal imaging camera is a unique type of camera that works by detecting thermal radiation instead of light. This type of camera comes with built-in infrared sensors that detect thermal energy from an object and turn it into a visible image.

When you look at an object with a thermal camera, you are going to see the different infrared emissions from it. The more thermal radiation the object emits, the lighter and clearer it will appear in the picture. And conversely, the less heat it emits, the darker the image will be.

What Makes a Good Thermal Camera for Wildlife

Therma cameras are a perfect tool for viewing and monitoring wildlife. For a thermal camera to be ideal for wildlife viewing, it should have high-resolution sensors that provide crisp and quality sight pictures in all environments.

Furthermore, the camera has to have a wide temperature detection range for use in virtually all seasons. It should also have an adjustable emissivity that gives you the ability to take more accurate readings of your measurements.

The best thermal imaging camera for wildlife viewing and monitoring should also have a wide field of view, multiple color palettes and the ability to not only capture high-quality pictures but also record high-resolution videos.

Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Wildlife-Our Top Picks

Today, tools for wildlife viewing have evolved and thermal imaging cameras are not left behind. These ever-evolving devices are now available in different designs and shapes for people to choose from. Additionally, the pricing of thermal imaging cameras has gone down to ensure that they are within reach of every wildlife enthusiast out there.

With all that said, here is a list of the best thermal imaging cameras for wildlife viewing that are available on the market currently. Let’s have a look.

1) FLIR Systems Scout II 320 Thermal Night Vision Monocular

Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Wildlife



First up is the FLIR Systems Scout II 320 Thermal Night Vision Monocular. Built with portability in mind, this thermal night vision monocular is easy to use and ideal for monitoring and observing wildlife in their different habitats.

This camera is able to detect heat signatures of people and animals up to 600 yards in any terrain or lighting condition. On top of that, it comes with a fixed 2x e-zoom for magnifying the smaller animals, and a large 19mm lens that provides broad situational awareness. The camera also boasts a 640 x 480 pixels LCD screen that displays crisp and clear imagery of the targets.

Another feature that makes this camera the best thermal imaging camera for wildlife is its rugged construction. It is housed in a durable and weather-resistant shell that makes it operable in all weather conditions.

Furthermore, this product has three different video palettes for you to choose from. It also has a high 9Hz refresh rate and a lightweight, ergonomic design that fits securely in the palm of your hand.


  • 640 x 480 pixels LCD screen
  • Weather resistant construction
  • 19mm lenses
  • 5 hrs battery life
  • 600 yards detection range
  • Fixed 2x e-zoom
  • White Hot, Black Hot, and InstAlert detection palettes
  • Manual focus
  • <50 mK @ f/1.0 thermal sensitivity
  • < 1.5 seconds start-up time
  • Dimensions:6.70″ × 2.31″ × 2.44″ (L x W x H)


  • Lightweight, ergonomic design
  • Easy-to-use menu
  • Compact size that fits easily in the palm of your hand
  • Excellent picture quality
  • Easy-to-use and intuitive menu
  • Rugged housing


  • Fixed magnification


2) Seek Thermal CompactXR – Outdoor Thermal Imaging Camera

Seek Thermal CompactXR - Outdoor Thermal Imaging Camera



The Seek Thermal CompactXR is a perfect tool for viewing wildlife in the dark. This camera has a thermal sensitivity of 70mK and a 206 x 156 thermal sensor that provides crisp views of wildlife animals in low visibility.

This thermal imaging camera is built to last. It has a compact and rugged body to withstand the rough handling that comes with outdoor use. Additionally, it comes with a pocket-sized waterproof carrying case to ensure safe storage during transportation and when not in use.

With a detectable temperature range of -40 to 626℉, this camera is ideal for tracking wildlife, spotting predators, and identifying intruders. Moreover, it has a large field of view for easy target finding and a focusable lens for fine-tuning the thermal images of the wildlife.

Above all, this outdoor thermal imaging camera provides a detection range of up to 1800 feet which makes it ideal for close and long-range use.


  • Focusable lens
  • 9 Color Palettes
  • Durable construction
  • 1800feet detection range
  • Field of View:20°
  • 206 x 156 thermal sensor
  • Pocket-sized waterproof carrying case
  • 9Hz frame rate
  • Thermal Sensitivity < 70 mK
  • Detection Range:-40F° to 626°F


  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Large field of view
  • Designed for hunters, boaters, hikers, homeowners, and campers
  • Inexpensive
  • Good battery life
  • Captures Photos  andVideos


  • None


3) FLIR Scout TK Handheld Thermal Imaging Monocular

FLIR Scout TK Handheld Thermal Imaging Monocular



FLIR Scout TK Handheld Thermal Imaging Monocular offers the best balance between portability and performance. It has a compact design for easy portability and a ton of high-quality features for exploring the outdoors at night and in low-light environments.

This monocular has a detection range of 100 yards in typical nighttime environments. It provides clear views of people, objects, and wildlife in any lighting or weather condition. Furthermore, the monocular has a 9Hz refresh rate and you can either use it to capture images or record videos when outdoors.

Another highlight of this product is the ease of use. It has a simple four-button design and an intuitive interface that is very easy to use. Besides, it has a pocket-sized design for single-handed use.


  • 9Hz refresh rate
  • Simple four-button design
  • Three different color palettes
  • 100 yards maximum detection range
  • Vox microbolometer detector
  • 640 x 480 LCD display
  • 160 x 120 resolution


  • Ultra-lightweight and portable design
  • Easy to use
  • Compact and waterproof
  • Great thermal sensitivity
  • Great for country or backyard


  • Slow refresh rate


4) FLIR Ocean Scout TK Monocular

FLIR Ocean Scout TK Monocular



Another best thermal imaging camera for wildlife viewing and monitoring is the FLIR Ocean Scout TK Monocular. This monocular doubles up as a camera that you can use to record videos and still images of wild animals in their habitats.

With a weight of 6 ounces only, this handheld monocular is ultra-light, portable, and very easy to go. The lightweight design coupled with the compact size makes the monocular ideal for the outdoor enthusiast who is always on the go.

Furthermore, the Ocean Scout TK Monocular is built-ready for outdoor use. It has a solid construction to stand up to whatever punishment you subject it to. It is also weatherproofed for use in all weather conditions.


  • 100 yards detection range
  • Multiple color palettes
  • Weatherproofed body
  • Built-in video recording
  • Built-in rechargeable battery
  • Video and image capture
  • 1000 thermal snapshots storage


  • Simple to use
  • Lightweight, compact, and portable
  • Solid construction
  • Waterproof


  • Small range


5) Hti-Xintai 220 x 160 IR Resolution HTI Thermal Imager

Hti-Xintai 220 x 160 IR Resolution HTI Thermal Imager



Even with an affordable price tag, the Hti-Xintai HT-18 Thermal Imaging Camera delivers crystal clear images in all conditions. It boasts an impressive resolution of 220 x 160 and an enhanced image overlay which creates a perfect fusion of thermal images and normal images.

Complementing the high resolution on a 3.2” full-color display screen that shows thermal detection and visible light imagery. Furthermore, this camera provides 5 color palettes for you to choose from depending on your preference and the lighting conditions.

The camera is powered by a built-in rechargeable 18650 battery that takes 2 hours to fully charge and provides 2-3 hours of continuous runtime when fully charged. For added convenience, the camera has a lightweight design of 0.83 pounds only. It also comes with a travel pouch for easy storage and transportation.


  • 3GB built-in memory card
  • 5 color palettes
  • 2” full-color display screen
  • High-resolution (220 x 160)imagery
  • Built-in rechargeable battery
  • 3.2″ full-color display screen
  • Enhanced Image Overlay


  • Lightweight and portable
  • Ergonomic handle with a comfortable grip
  • Affordable and easy to use
  • Multi-function


  • Short battery life


6) Hti-Xintai 320 x 240 IR Infrared Thermal Imaging Camera

Hti-Xintai 320 x 240 IR Infrared Thermal Imaging Camera



The Hti-Xintai HT-19 is a high-quality hand-held thermal imaging camera built with versatility in mind. It has a wide range of applications both in the military and civilian industries where it provides clear views of objects by detecting their thermal radiation.

This camera boasts an improved 320 x 240 resolution that yields high-quality images in any lighting condition. The images created are displayed on the 3.2” full-angle TFT display that is intuitive and very easy to use. On top of that, the camera features 5 different color palettes for you to choose from.

Adjustable emissivity is another feature that makes this device the best thermal imaging camera for wildlife. With this feature, you can adjust the emissivity to take more accurate measurements of the wild animals. Besides, the camera has a temperature measurement range of -20°C to 300 °C to maximize versatility.


  • Built-in 3GB memory card
  • Adjustable emissivity
  • 5 color palettes
  • Built-in rechargeable battery
  • 3.2” full-angle TFT display
  • 320 x 240 resolution
  • Accurate to 2.5°F
  • 2 to 3 hrs battery life
  • Micro USB connection for laptops, computers, and other devices


  • Lightweight design
  • Extremely accurate and simple to use
  • Multiple color palettes
  • Sure-grip ergonomic handle
  • Works well in a wide range of environments


  • None


7) Seek Shot – All-Purpose Thermal Imaging Camera

Seek Shot – All-Purpose Thermal Imaging Camera



The Seek Shot All-Purpose Thermal Imaging Camera comes with a 206 x 156 thermal sensor that creates high-resolution images in all environments. The high resolution coupled with the large 36° field of view makes this device a perfect tool for outdoor enthusiasts who love to spend time viewing and monitoring wild animals.

Furthermore, this camera is built with thermography tools for analyzing photos instantly. It also brings to the table a seek fusion technology that blends the thermal and normal images to provide better details of the targets.

Another impressive feature of this hand-held thermal camera is its energy efficiency. It is powered by a rechargeable battery that provides many hours of continuous runtime. Other than that, the camera features 8 different color palettes and 4 emissivity presets. It is also built with a large color touchscreen that is easy to read and use.


  • 206 x 156 thermal sensor
  • 9Hz refresh rate
  • Seek fusion technology
  • Large touchscreen display
  • 3 customizable spot temperatures
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • 8 color palettes
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Spectral Range:7.5 – 14 Microns


  • Large field of view
  • Low power consumption
  • Great picture quality
  • Value for money
  • Wi-Fi streaming via the free seek view app


  • None

Criteria for Choosing a Thermal Imaging Camera for Wildlife


Resolution is what differentiates a high-quality thermal camera from a cheap one. Thermal cameras built with high-resolution sensors provide high-quality image views of wildlife in all environments. With such a camera, one is able to identify a specific animal positively when they are in a group of other animals.

Thermal Sensitivity

Thermal sensitivity is measured in milli-Kelvin (mK) and it is a measure of the smallest temperatures a camera can detect between two measurement points. Like resolution, it is essential for positive target identification when monitoring wildlife. Generally, thermal cameras with about 150mK are sufficient for wildlife applications.

Size and Weight

The next thing to consider is the weight and size of the camera. For wildlife monitoring and viewing, it is best to get a camera that is both compact and lightweight. A compact device allows for secure one-handling where you are able to use the other free hand for other applications. The best thermal imaging camera for wildlife should also have a lightweight design for comfortable handling and easy portability.

Sensitivity Range

Another important thing to consider is the sensitivity range. In thermal cameras, sensitivity range refers to the maximum and minimum temperatures the camera can detect and see. A thermal imaging camera with a sensitivity range of -20°C to 400 °C is sufficient for wildlife viewing and monitoring.

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Benefits of Thermal Imaging

  1. Professional Documentary. Thermal imaging cameras are widely used for making professional documentaries of wildlife where they capture and record the behavior and movements of wild animals during the day and at night as well.
  2. Wildlife Monitoring. In national parks and conservancies, thermal cameras are used to monitor the movement of wildlife, especially endangered species.
  3. Wildlife Photography. Since most wild animals are nocturnal, thermal cameras are an indispensable tool for viewing and capturing photos of these animals in any lighting or weather conditions.


Hopefully, you have found this article on the best thermal imaging camera for wildlife to be informative. All the cameras we have listed above are perfect for both recreational wildlife viewing and professional documentation and conservation. The cameras are lightweight, simple to use, and designed to be operable in all lighting and weather conditions.

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