These 15 incredible animal photos were captured by the Google Street View cameras

Google street viewGoogleSnow monkeys bathe in Japan.

Google Street View started in 1997 with just a van snapping photos of five cities.

Now, Google has attached its Street View cameras to snowmobiles, pedicabs, bikes, trolleys, and even a backpack apparatus called the Trekker. In Google’s quest to map out the world through photos, it’s captured unbelievable scenes — including these 15 incredible photos of animals that Google’s photographers came across in their travels.

“Our goal is to provide the most comprehensive and accurate and useful map possible,” Deanna Yick, Google Maps’ Street View Program Manager, told Tech Insider, “so that Google Maps is a mirror of the real world.”

Here's a fleet of penguins sunning on some rocks in Antarctica.

Google Street View photographers have to be 'very fit individuals,' Yick said, because they will be on their feet for long stretches of time, often while wearing Trekker backpacks that weigh about 40 pounds.

See it on Street View.

A photographer looked up and saw a chimpanzee at Gombe National Park in Tanzania.

Photographers are trained at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California, before they hit the road to shoot photos.

See it on Street View.

These dolphins were swimming in the Canal de Sela Ginete in Brazil.

Google's photographers sometimes shoot underwater. Google partnered with Amazonas Sustainable Foundation to catalogue scenes from the Amazon River and its banks in Brazil.

See it on Street View.

Camels relax near the Great Pyramids in Egypt.

Google Street View is mainly used for navigation, but Yick hopes people will use it 'as a place for exploration' as well, she said.

'People are comfortable using it as a day-to-day tool for navigation, but it's so much more than that,' Yick said. 'The fact that I can use Google Maps and hop into the Pyramids of Egypt without a plane or a new language -- it's really exciting.'

See it on Street View.

This humpback whale was spotted near the Cook Islands in the South Pacific.

'What we've found is just because the road ends doesn't mean there's not more interesting stuff to see,' Yick said. 'That's where the good stuff is -- off the beaten path.'

See it on Street View.

In Norway, a Street View car caught a reindeer running down the road.

Not all of the animals found on Street View are in the wild.

See it on Street View.

These sea gulls in Brighton, England, were also a surprise.

Photographers have to watch out for leaves, bird excrement, and other falling objects while they're shooting, Yick said, because sometimes, they will land right on the camera.

See it on Street View.

A giant sunfish was caught on camera in Bali.

Sometimes, Google is able to shoot photos in places that some tourists would have a hard time accessing.

See it on Street View.

Seals walk the boards on Prion Island in South Georgia.

Google has to get permission from the government to publish Street View imagery in many cases, Yick said.

See it on Street View.

Sea lions play in shallow water near the Galapagos Islands.

'There's a number of places my mum will never go,' Yick said. 'I went to the Galapagos and she said, 'I'd love to go, but there's no way I could walk those rocky trails with my health and at my age.' This is an avenue for people to explore from the comfort of their own homes.'

See it on Street View.

A donkey roams in Botswana.

Although Yick and the core Street View team are based in Silicon Valley, Google has other teams located around the world that help coordinate shoots.

See it on Street View.

Here's a sea turtle on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Sometimes, Google is able to shoot photos in places where photographers or tourists aren't usually allowed, Yick said.

See it on Street View.

And finally, here's a frog that landed right on the camera in Brazil.

'We mounted (a camera) to a boat on the Amazon and took it down the Rio Negro river,' Yick explained. 'This cute little frog jumped on the cameras and you can see it in the imagery.'

See it on Street View.

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