When conservation photographer and wildlife tracker Jeff Wirth came back to a camera trap he had set up in a forest, he hoped to find pictures of a bobcat. Instead, he ended up with images of a ‘surprise’ passer-by that made him laugh out loud.

Wirth really appreciated that the man didn’t steal or damage his equipment and was content with simply posing for his camera. So, the photographer thanked the stranger on Reddit, uploading one of his pictures.

People immediately fell in love with the story and it got 151,000 upvotes and even the man in question found the post. Thank you, Ben Sizemore, for the wholesome content.

More info: Instagram

Image credits: burningxjeff

Everything started a couple of months ago. “I was out exploring a wetland created by beavers near my house and I noticed a large downed tree that had several piles of bobcat on it. I returned the next day with a DSLR camera trap in hopes to capture images of the responsible bobcat returning to the log,” Wirth told Bored Panda.

It was the photographer’s homemade trap that used a Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera. Wirth set it up on a log with some off-camera flash used to light the scene. A passive infrared sensor (PIR) was used to detect motion in front of the camera, and when there was some, the trigger woke the camera and the flash up, and a series of photos were taken.

The camera trap also managed to capture the bobcat Wirth was after in the first place

Image credits: burningxjeff

The photographer returned to the camera once a week to check for images and put in fresh batteries. “I got a few images of critters including raccoons, weasels, a few bobcat photos, and a number of birds, but nothing I was super happy with so I [kept leaving] the camera there.”

“When I went to check the camera a couple of days ago, the first sequence of images I saw were those of a surprise visitor that made me smile ear to ear and laugh to myself alone in the forest.”

This time, the mystery visitor was in human form! “I never get humans on camera, so this was interesting. As you may notice, he was not camera-shy, to say the least. He hammed it up pretty good and left me with a sequence of images in a variety of poses. I posted the images on the internet, and it took off!”

The wholesome story inspired hilarious memes

Image credits: burningxjeff

Wirth has never lost any camera traps due to theft before, but sometimes nature claims one, whether it be flooding from a storm or a curious bear.

“[Eventually,] the mystery man has found the post on Twitter and Instagram, and we have been texting back and forth the past week.”

Turns out, he was doing invasive plant management along the creek I was set up on!

And here are a couple more animals Wirth has photographed

Image credits: burningxjeff

Image credits: burningxjeff

Image credits: burningxjeff

Image credits: burningxjeff

Here’s what people are saying about the amusing story