Bengal tiger is a subspecies of tiger, which is found in the Bengal region of the Indian
subcontinent. One of the most common tiger subspecies, it is also found in a number of other
Asian countries, like Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Tibet, etc. Usually Royal Bengal
Tigers of India are reddish-brown to rust-brown in color with black stripes all over. However, a
mutation may result in their color being white also. Such a tiger is known as the White tiger.
Bengal tiger is the national animal of both the Indian subcontinent as well as Bangladesh.
Bengal tiger has a coat of reddish-brown to rust-brown color, with black stripes and a white
underbelly. The head and body of a male tiger measures 6 to 9 feet in length. Its tail may grow as
long as 3 feet. An average Royal Bengal tiger has a weight of somewhere between 400 and 660
pounds (180 and 300 kg), though some tigers have been found to weigh more than 300 kg also.
Its shoulder height may measure upto 3 feet (0.97 m). The maximum length of the skull may be
around 10 to 15 inches (250 to 380 mm).
A female Bengal tiger may grow to a length of 5 to 6 feet in
length (only head and body). Its tail is may be around 2 to 3 feet
long. Standing at a shoulder height of around 2.5 feet, female
Bengal tigers may weigh around 250 to 450 pounds (110 to 200
kg). Their maximum skull length may be about 8 to 12 inches
length. The largest Bengal tiger seen till date weighed close to
The natural habitat of Royal Bengal tigers comprises of Indian grasslands, subtropical and
tropical rainforests, scrub forests, wet and dry deciduous forests and mangroves. The animal is
found inhabiting the Asian countries of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Tibet.
In India, Bengal tigers are found mainly in the Bengal region.
Bengal tigers of India survive on a purely carnivorous diet. Their prey primarily comprises of
medium and large-sized animals, like wild boar, deer, gaurs, water buffalo, young Asian
Elephants and rhino calves. They may also stalk small animals, namely hares, monkeys, langurs
and peacocks. At times, Bengal tigers may hunt other predators like leopards, wolves, jackals,
foxes, crocodiles and dholes. They can eat upto about 40 kg (84 lb) of meat at a time and then go
without eating for days at a stretch.
Bengal tiger is mainly a solitary creature, which forms alliances only during the mating period. It
is a nocturnal creature, which prefers to hunt at night. Bengal tigers are extremely good tree
climbers and are also quite apt at swimming. Infact, they swim quite frequently to ambush their
prey, which are drinking or swimming or trying to escape.
Mating usually takes place either during winter season or during spring season. The mating
period lasts for 20 to 30 days, during which one can hear loud and distinct communication calls.
The cub stays with the mother and siblings till two years of age, after which it goes off to wander
on its own.
The population of Bengal tigers, throughout the world, is estimated to be approximately 4,500.
Of this, a major proportion (around 3000 tigers) lives in the Indian subcontinent. Early 1990s
saw the population of tigers in India declining at a fast pace, because of large-scale poaching as
well as habitat loss. Tiger Conservation Program, known as Project Tiger, was started in India to
improve the status of tigers. However, it success is open to question till date.
The major threats to the Bengal tiger comprise of poaching and habitat destruction. They are
hunted for their teeth, nails and skin and even killed for their other parts used in East Asian
medicines. Urbanization and revenge killing has also contributed to the deteriorating population
of the animal.
Indian leopard is one of the 8-9 valid leopard subspecies found throughout the world. Known by
the scientific name of Panthera pardus, it is the fourth largest of the four 'big cats' of the Panthera
genus. At the same time, leopards are also the fifth largest of all cat species. The name 'Leopard'
has been derived from a combination of two Greek and Latin words leo and pard, 'leo' meaning
lion and 'pard' meaning panther. This name was given to the animal since it was initially believed
to be crossbreed of a lion and a panther.
As far as the length of the Indian leopard is concerned, it may be anywhere between one meters
and two meters. Their average weight hovers somewhere around 30 kg and 70 kg (65 lbs to 155
lbs). Leopards have a heavy and sturdy body and their head is larger in proportion to their body.
The coat of a leopard is covered with rosettes and they can climb trees with effortless ease. The
cubs of a leopard have longer and thicker fur than the adults and even their pelage is grayer.
Indian leopards are nocturnal creatures and are considered to be
one of the most surreptitious animals. They can easily make
themselves undetected, even while living proximate to human
settlements. Leopards are very good swimmers, but lead a
solitary life. Occasionally, one can find them roaming in a group
of 3 to 4 animals. They have an acute sense of hearing, along
with sharp eyesight.
Leopards are carnivores and eat almost every animal, ranging from monkeys to reptiles to fish.
Infact, it is believed that they hunt from amongst 90 species of animals. Injured, sickly or
struggling leopards, with a shortage of prey, may even hunt humans.
The mating season of leopards depends upon the areas they inhabit. For example, the leopards of
India mate throughout the year while those in Siberia mate from January to February. Their
estrous cycle lasts about 46 days and the female usually remains in heat for 6-7 days. They give
birth to 2-3 cubs at a time, out of which 1 or 2 survive in most of the cases. Three months after
being born, the cubs start joining their mother in hunts and live with her for the next 18 to 24
Till some centuries back, leopards used to roam around in almost all parts of Africa and southern
Asia. However, today, their habitat has been reduced to Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia Minor, the
Middle East, India, Pakistan, China, Siberia, much of mainland South-East Asia and the islands
of Java and Sri Lanka.
Current Status and Threats
The worldwide population of leopards is considered to be around 50,000. Nevertheless, the
population of the 'Big Cat' has been decreasing at quite a rapid pace in all the countries,
including India. The major reasons for this are their large-scale poaching as well as destruction
of their natural habitat by humans. The subspecies that have been declared as endangered are
Amur, Anatolian, Barbary, North Chinese and South Arabian Leopards.
Even though it is said that there are over 30 species of leopard, so far, only 8-9 have been found
to valid. These are:
Panthera pardus delacouri (Indochina)
Panthera pardus fusca (India)
Panthera pardus japonensis (China)
Panthera pardus kotiya (Sri Lanka)
Panthera pardus melas (Java)
Panthera pardus nimr (Arabia) (Uncertain subspecies)
Panthera pardus orientalis or Amurensis (Amur Region, border Russia, China, North
Panthera pardus pardus (Africa),
Panthera pardus saxicolor (Central Asia)
The DHOLE (Indian Wild Dog) Cuon alpinus
A predator, par excellence, feared even by the tiger and the panther
The current world population of the Dhole is estimated to be only about 2,500 animals.
The Dhole is a pack hunter and this is where his supremacy lies as an efficient predator. The
Dholes hunt together and sometimes merge with other groups to bring down bigger animals like
Gaur and if provoked, even a tiger or a panther.
Wild Dogs feature in the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species. Other than in eastern India, the
dhole is rare or extinct in Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Assam.
Considered as one of the most social canids, Wild Dogs often live and hunt in packs of 5-12
animals. Wild Dogs are territorial and often work together in every aspect of their existence in
the wilderness. Wild Dogs are known to hunt together and sometimes even merge with other
groups to bring down bigger mammals like gaurs. With a strong belief in unity, Wild Dogs have
occasionally been capable competitors to Tigers and Leopards. Wild Dogs display tremendous
care for young ones and often help out pups of other females while feeding and hunting.
Surprisingly, Wild Dogs never bark but their means of communication include growling,
chuckling, screaming, whistling and hissing. Usually, Wild Dogs hunt in the day and chances of
them encountering cats like Tigers and Leopards are very slim. Wild Dogs live in packs of 10-12
Wild boar is considered to be the wild antecedent of the domestic pig of the Indian subcontinent.
It belongs to the Suidae biological family, which also includes the Warthog and Bushpig of
Africa, the Pygmy Hog of northern India and the Babirusa of Indonesia. Indian wild boars are
also quite closely related to peccary or javelina of North, Central and South America.
The thick coat of the wild boar of India is grayish-black in color and is covered with bristle-like
hair. It can grow upto a length of 6 feet and may weigh as much as 440 lb (200 kg). The features
of a wild boar are quite similar to that of a pig. It has a prominent ridge of hair, which match the
spine. The tail is short and straight and the snout is quite narrow.
The most noticeable as well as most distinguishing feature of the wild boars comprise of a pair of
extended canines. These canines grow both upward as well as outward. Indian wild boars possess
an acute sense of smell. Even their eyesight and hearing power is fairly strong.
Wild boars can be found roaming around in groups, known as
sounders. The number of sows, in a characteristic sounder, is two
or three and rest of the members are the young ones. A typical
sounder comprises of 20 animals on an average. In exceptional
cases, the membership of a sounder may go upto 50 also. Adult
males join a sounder only during the mating period and for the
rest of the year they prefer to stay alone. Indian wild boars are
basically nocturnal creatures, which forage from dusk to dawn.
When surprised or attacked, they may get aggressive.
Wild boars eat anything and everything, including nuts, berries, carrion, roots, tubers, refuse,
insects, small reptiles, etc. Young deer and lambs may also form a part of their diet.
Wild boar is found inhabiting the woodlands of Central Europe, Mediterranean Region
(including North Africa's Atlas Mountains) and most of Asia (including India).
There is no fixed mating period of the wild boars of India. However, whenever it takes place, it
results in a formal contest between the males to decide the dominant male. The winner gets to
mate with the female boar. The maturity period is one year and gestation period lasts for four
months. A female wild boar usually gives birth in the spring season and the litter normally
consists of 4 to 6 cubs.
The population of Indian wild boars is declining at a fast pace. The reasons for this are large
scale poaching as well as habitat destruction. At some point of time, Indian sub-continent
consisted of 6-7 species of wild boar. However, today only one of them is left.
Sus scrofa scrofa (North Africa, Europe, and Asia)
Sus scrofa ussuricus (North Asia and Japan)
Sus scrofa cristatus (Asia Minor to India)
Sus scrofa vittatus (Southeast Asia to Indonesia)
Sus scrofa taiwanus (Taiwan)
Indian black bear is also known by the names of Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus), Tibetan
black bear, Himalayan black bear and Moon bear. They grow to a length of approximately 4 to 6
feet, right from the nose to the tail. The small eyes of the bear, along with its rounded ears, a long
snout, a large body, a short tail, and shaggy hair, differentiate it from the other types of bears.
The small shoulder hump, a furry rear instep, a concave facial contour, small and curved claws
and narrow ears further accentuate the difference. Last but not the least, Asiatic black bear also
has a whitish V-shaped breast patch, not found in the other bear species of India.
The male black bear weighs between 220 and 480 pounds, while the females are110 to 275
pounds in weight. The senses of the Himalayan black bears of India are greatly developed and
they boast of almost twice the hearing sensitivity possessed by humans. Black bears have colored
vision and their eyesight is very sharp. Even their olfactory senses (ability to smell) are highly
evolved. The mating season of the Himalayan black bears is usually from late May to early July.
They give birth to two cubs at a time, which stay with the mother for almost seventeen months.
Indian black bears are omnivorous. Their diet depends upon the
season as well as the availability of food. The fall season is the
time for having acorns, chestnuts, walnuts, and other fatty food.
In spring season, they survive on a diet of bamboo, raspberry,
hydrangea, and other plants, along with rodent's caches of
acorns. Summer season is perfect for having raspberries,
cherries, grasses and ants. Asiatic black bears are also known to
attack livestock at times.
Asiatic black bear generally inhabits upper subtropical and lower moist temperate zones. They
are found in East Asia and South Asia, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, northern India, Nepal,
Sikkim, Bhutan, Burma, southern Siberia, Russia, northeastern China, Taiwan and Japan. In
India, Asiatic black bears are found occupying Himalayan foothills, at a height of less than 3,750
m. Black bears are also found in the Arun valley of Nepal, inhabiting Sal-Castanopsis,
Castanopsis and Rhododendron forests as well as the forests with bamboo groves.
Status and Threats
Asiatic black bear is listed as endangered on the World Conservation Union's (IUCN's) Red List
of Threatened Animals. One of the major reasons that have contributed to the declining
population of black bears is rampant deforestation and habitat loss. Asiatic black bears also face
threat from farmers, who kill them in order to protect their livestock.
Other Names : Kala Hiran, Sasin, Iralai Maan and Krishna Jinka
Speed : Upto 50 mph
Indian black buck is also known by a number of other names like Kala Hiran, Sasin, Iralai Maan
and Krishna Jinka. The scientific name of the black buck antelope is Antilope cervicapra and it
natural habitat is the Indian subcontinent. Grass forms the staple diet of the blackbucks.
However, they do eat pods, flowers and fruits as supplements. The average lifespan of the Indian
kala hiran is twelve years and at the maximum, they live for sixteen years. Black bucks are
hunted by dogs and wolves.
About the Indian Black Buck
The male black bucks grow to a height of 32 inches and weigh somewhere between 70 and 95
pounds. Their upper part is covered with either dark brown or black fur. Chest, belly, inner sides
of the legs, muzzle and chin of the males have white fur. Even the eyes are surrounded with
white rings. Male black bucks have ringed horns that are up to 28 inches in length and twirl with
three to four turns. When the male blackbucks are born, they are light brown in color and as they
reach the age of three, they turn dark brown or black.
Female black bucks are much smaller than their male
counterparts. They are beige or light brown in color and most of
the female blackbucks do not even have horns. Even the few
females that have horns lack the rings and spirals that
characterize the male horns. Black bucks have very sharp
eyesight, which, along with their great speed, forms their main
defense against the predators. Female black buck antelopes have
a gestation period of approximately five months. They generally
give birth to two fawns every year, at a gap of six months.
The fawn of black buck spends the first two weeks after his birth in the grass, between nursing.
Only after completing the first two weeks does the fawn join the group. Indian black bucks
seldom live in isolation, they are found mainly in groups. The groups can be either those of the
females, comprising of 15 to 20 members, mixed groups, bachelor groups or territorial males.
The group of territorial males dominates all the other groups and inhabits the main grazing areas,
along with the female groups.
Apart from India, black buck is found in parts of Pakistan and Nepal. Initially in India, the
blackbucks were found almost everywhere except for the northeastern regions. However, today
the population of black bucks has become limited to parts of Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana and
Gujarat, along with a few areas in the Central India. Blackbucks have open plains of India as
their natural habitat and count amongst the fastest running animals on earth.
They live on open grasslands, dry thorn and scrublands. Black bucks were introduced in various
parts of the world, including a number of ranches in Texas, in the United States of America.
There are also free-ranging populations of Indian black bucks in Argentina (Pampas in southern
Buenos Aires, Santa Fe and Entre Ríos provinces).
Current status of Black Bucks
Black bucks are included in the list of endangered species in India as well as Nepal. Two major
factors that have contributed to their declining population are poaching and habitat destruction.
Apart from poaching and habitat destruction, the other threats to blackbucks include predation,
overgrazing, diseases, inbreeding and hoards of visitors. The flesh and skin of black buck fetches
quite a high price in the market, making the animal extremely vulnerable to hunting. The species
is suffering from inbreeding and at the same time, there is the wide scale encroachment by the
humans. Once found easily in the plains of North India, they have now being restricted to a few
pockets in the country.
Bollywood actor Salman Khan was convicted for killing a black buck, while shooting for the
film 'Hum Saath Saath Hain'. However, the conviction was stayed some time later.
Also known as : Ship of the Desert
Type : Single-humped
Water retaining capacity : Five liters
The camels found in India are the single-humped camels, also known as the Dromedary camels.
Long-curved neck, deep-narrow chest and a single hump characterize the Indian camel. The
hump is used by the camels as reservoir of fatty tissues. In times of scarcity, the tissues are
metabolized and the camel receives energy. The size of the hump is not the same in all the
camels. It differs from one camel to another, depending upon its nutritional state. In times of
starvation, the hump can get reduced to almost a non-existent size.
Indian dromedary camels have a heavy growth of hair on throat, shoulder, and hump, which is
longer than the rest of the body. On an average, the camels in India live for a period of 40 to 50
years. They are widely used by the people of Rajasthan as a means of transportation. Infact, the
camels are known as the 'Ship of the Desert'. They are used for carrying goods as well as people.
Indian camels also provide humans with milk, meat, wool, leather and fuel (from their dried
One can mainly find camels in the desert, dry arid regions of the
country, especially the state of Rajasthan.
Camels primarily survive on an herbivorous diet, consisting of
thorny plants and dry grasses.
Dromedary camels can be usually seen in groups, consisting of
anywhere between two to twenty members. In every group, there is one male member who
dominates the rest of the members, which comprise of females, sub-adults and young ones.
While moving in a group, one can see the dominant male directing the group from the rear, while
the female members lead at the front.
Indian camels attain maturity at the age of 4 to 5 years. They give birth to one offspring at a time
and the gestation period is around fifteen months. The young ones are raised by their mother for
a period of two years after their birth, after which they attain adulthood.
Camels have the ability to endure wide changes in their body temperature as well as water
content. Their body temperature may vary as widely as being 41 deg C (106 deg F) in the
daytime and being 34 deg C (93 deg F) at night. Only when they cross this limit do they begin to
sweat, thus helping them save upto five liters of water in one day. Indian camels can cope up
with as much as twenty-five percent weight loss, caused by sweating. The thick coat of a camel
reflects sunlight and serves as insulation from the heat of the sand.
Axis Deer, also known as Chital Deer or Spotted Deer, is the native animal of the Indian
subcontinent. It is found very commonly in India and is one of the most beautiful animals in the
country. The spotted deer of India was introduced in the state of Texas in the 1930s. Since that
time, it has become the most widespread of the entire deer species. Chital deer are found mostly
in large family units, where a doe remains with her mother even after becoming a mother herself.
Spotted deer can be seen roaming around either in mixed groups or separate bachelor groups.
The spotted deer of India has a beautiful golden brown coat, which is covered with big white
spots. On an average, a male deer (known as stag) grows to a shoulder height of somewhere
between 85cm and 90cm. The weight of a stag averages around 80 kg. Does are shorter as well
as lighter. The coat of an adult deer has brighter spots as compared to that of fawns. At the same
time, the white throat patch of a stag is more prominent than that of a doe.
The antlers of the axis deer of India branch to six points and sweep back into an upward curve.
They shed their antlers on an annual basis. Mostly, the antlers of Indian chital deer grow to a
length of 20 inches. Only some deer have antlers that reach 30 inches. An Indian spotted deer,
whose anglers were 41 inches long, still holds the record for having the longest antlers in the
The natural habitat of the Chital Deer comprises of Indian
parkland habitats, with open woodland in grassy areas. They
prefer to live near rivers and other sources of water. In rare
cases, they may inhabit thick forests.
Axis deer is a very introverted as well as reticent animal.
Gregarious by nature, it is found living in small herds
comprising of 20 to 30 animals. In rare cases, the number of
animals in a herd may go upto 100. A few dominant individuals dominate the group, leaving the
others to will feed and rest. As male chital deer start growing older, they become more and more
The mating behavior of the axis deer is quite different from the other deer. They do not follow
any seasonal rut and fawning can occur in any month. Infact, one can find them in hard horn and
in velvet at the same time, that to during any time of the year. Spotted deer is also not seen
wallowing during rut. Rather, it emits a shrill call, proudly displaying its beautiful antlers. The
gestation period is 220 days, after which a single young one is born.
Chital deer have still not faced too much threat and are far away from the risk of extinction.
However, they are being hunted at a rapid pace and are even losing their habitat to humans, who
are using it for agricultural as well as residential purposes. If this continues unabated, there is a
possibility that the population of Indian spotted deer may become threatened in the future.
Sambar Deer are dark brown in color and attain a height of 102 cm to 160 cm (40 to 63 inches).
The weight of the sambar deer of India may touch 300 kg. There are chestnut marks on the rump
as well as the underparts. Sambur deer of India also have beautiful manes. However, they are not
spotted by birth. The spots develop gradually after birth. Sambhur deer have huge antlers, which
may grow to a length of upto 100 cm (40 inches). The antlers are rugged and have simple brow
tines, along with forked beams at the tip. These antlers are dropped by the deer on an annual
Indian sambar deer typically display solitary and isolated behavior. Most of the time, they are
seen roaming alone. In case they have company, it is that of a very small group. The senses of
sambar deer are highly developed, which helps them in detecting their predators easily.
Whenever they perceive danger, they start giving a repetitive honking alarm call.
Sambar deer are found inhabiting mainly damp woodland
environments of the Indian subcontinent, like marshes and
swamps. One can hardly find them residing far from water, but
they can be found at high elevations also. The other natural
habitat of the Sambar deer comprises of Indian temperate forests.
Apart from India, Sambhur deer is found in the slopes of the
Himalayan Mountains, Burma, Thailand, Indochina, the Malay
Peninsula, southern China, Taiwan and the islands of Sumatra
and Borneo in Indonesia.
Sambur deer of India are herbivores and survive on a diet consisting of coarse vegetation, grass,
and herbs. Their staple diet includes grass, sprigs, fruits and bamboo buds.
The mating period of the Indian sambhur deer falls in the month of November/December. The
male deer guard their rutting territories and try to attract the female deer through vocal and
olfactory displays. The gestation period of sambar deer is approximately 6 months and, usually,
they give birth to a single offspring only.
Indian Gazelle, also known as Chinkara, is a species of gazelle found in South Asia. It belongs to
the Bovidae family and is scientifically known as Gazella bennettii. The life expectancy of a
Chinkara is between 12 to 15 years, less than that of many other deer species. Male gazelles are
believed to be territorial in nature and are not prone to wandering for large distances. Gazelles
come across as very nervous animals and always seem to be on alert. It is believed that the
dwindling population of Chinkaras is leading to a decline in the population of Cheetah, their
main predators, in India.
Standing at a height of 65 cm, Indian gazelle comes across as smaller than many other species of
deer. Its coat is covered with smooth and glossy fur, which is reddish-brown in color. The belly
of the gazelles is white and they weigh around 23-25 kg. There are dark chestnut stripes on the
sides of the face that stretch on from the corner of the eye to the muzzle. The muzzle is also
bordered by white stripes. Chinkara also has horns, which have an average length of 30 cm.
Chinkara is a very shy animal and tries to stay as far from human
settlement as possible. It is mainly seen roaming alone in the
wild. However, at times, one can see Indian gazelles in small
groups, comprising of upto 4 animals. One of the unique
characteristics of the Indian gazelle is that it can survive without
water for days at a stretch. The need for fluids is met through
plants and dewdrops.
The natural habitat of the gazelle comprises of the grasslands and desert areas of India, Iran and
Indian gazelles depend on vegetation as their diet and prefer grass and fruits. During winter
season, females and sub-adults take a diet that is rich in protein and has less of tannins.
There is no fixed breeding season for the gazelles of India. However, they usually mate
somewhere around autumn and spring. The gestation period lasts for five and a half months.
Indian langurs are lanky, long-tailed monkeys, having bushy
eyebrows and a chin tuft. They have a black face and their body
color ranges from gray to dark brown to golden. The small and
lean body of an Indian langur is complimented with long hands.
The term langur means 'having a long tail' and the name suits the
animal perfectly. The natural habitat of the langur comprises of
humid forests, mangrove swamps and wooded terrains of India.
In the following lines, we have provided information about the
main Indian langur species:
Golden Langur, or Gee's Golden Langur, is known by the scientific name of Trachypithecus
geei. An Old World monkey, it was first noticed by the scientific community in the 1950s only.
In the Indian subcontinent, Golden langurs are found mainly in the foothills of the Himalayas,
along the Assam-Bhutan border. The langurs are considered to be sacred by the Himalayan
people. The coat of Indian golden langurs is covered with rich golden to bright creamish hair.
The face is black and they have a very long tail, which may measure upto 50 cm in length.
Hanuman Langur is believed to be one of the Old World monkeys, belonging to the
Semnopithecus Genus. They comprise of 15 subspecies and are terrestrial in nature. Earlier
hanuman langurs were believed to comprise of a single species. However, now they are
recognized as seven distinct species. Hanuman langur is also known by the name of Gray
Langur, Entellus Langur and Common Indian Langur.
The fur of the gray langur of India may be gray, dark brown or even golden in color. The face is
black and the size varies from one subspecies to another. Male langurs grow to a length of 51 cm
to 78 cm and weigh about 18 kg. The female langurs are smaller, with a length of 40 cm to 68
cm and weight of about 11 kg. The length of the tail is between 69 cm and 101 cm.
Connection with Indian Mythology
Gray langur of India is believed to have derived its other name, Hanuman Langur, from the
Hindu Monkey-god, Hanuman. It is said that the langurs helped Lord Hanuman in the battle of
Lanka. It was during this time that the monkey god got trapped in the fire. This episode resulted
in the black face of the langurs, since they got burnt while helping the Lord. Hindus regard the
Entellus Langurs of India as sacred and do not assault them at all.
Common Indian langurs survive on a diet comprising of leaves,
fruit, buds and flowers. The exact diet, however, changes from
season to season. During winters, they survive on a diet of
mature leaves. In summer season, they mainly survive on fruits.
Insects, tree bark and gum also supplement their diet. Hanuman
langurs can easily digest seeds with high levels of the toxins and
can eat even soil and stones.
Hanuman langurs are found inhabiting tropical, dry thorn scrub, pine and alpine forest as well as
urban areas of the Indian subcontinent. They spent a major portion of their time on the ground,
with the exception of their sleeping time. Presently, common langurs are found in India,
Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Burma.
Gray langur of India can usually be found living in large groups, dominated by a male langur.
The membership of the group may be anywhere between 11 and 60. However, they hold the
dominating position for a very short period only, which may stretch upto 18 months. Whenever a
new male takes over the group, all the infants of the previous alpha male are killed. Entellus
Langurs of India may form bachelor groups also.
Female langurs attain maturity at 3 to 4 years of age, while males achieve the same in 4 to 5
years. However, they start mating in the 6th or 7th year only. The gestation period is 190 to 210
days, after which a single infant is born. Only in very rare cases does a female langur give birth
to two infants. Where there are a number of males in a group, only the high-ranking males can
mate with any female. The other males get a chance to mate only if they manage to sneak by the
A typical macaque, the Rhesus monkey of India is believed to be one of the best species of the
Old World monkeys. It is an excellent swimmer and enjoys water. Rhesus macaques are quite
comfortable around humans and have the tendency to move from rural to urban areas in search of
easy food. The average lifespan of Rhesus macaques is approximately 15 years in the wild. In
captivity, a female rhesus macaque may survive for 20 to 25 years, while a male may survive
only for 15 to 20 years.
A male Rhesus macaque grows, on an average, to a length of 50 to 55 cm and weighs around 7 to
8 kg. The female, on the other hand, is a little shorter, with length of 45 to 55 cm and weight of 5
to 6 kg. The tail is of medium length, bordering somewhere between 20.7 and 22.9 cm. The coat
of Indian Rhesus macaques is brown or gray in color. Their face is pink in color and is devoid of
hair. There cheeks of the macaque are pouch-like, where it can store its food temporarily.
Connection with Science
Rhesus macaques are widely made use of in medical and
biological research. One of the major reasons for this is that they
can be easily raised in captivity. Some of the experiments where
Rhesus Macaques were used include experiments on maternal
deprivation carried out in the 1950s. During 1950s and 1960s,
they were launched into space by NASA. Rhesus macaque is
also the first cloned primate in the world.
Rhesus monkey of India is mainly herbivorous and survives on a diet of leaves, pine needles,
roots and occasionally insects or small animals.
Rhesus macaques are found inhabiting arid, open areas like Indian grasslands, woodlands and
mountainous regions, which are upto 2,500 m in altitude. Their population is distributed
throughout Afghanistan, northern India and southern China.
Rhesus monkeys of India are companionable creatures and tend to form groups easily. Usually, a
group comprises of both males as well as females. Though, on an average, a group or troop
comprises of 20 members, it may go upto 180 members in extreme cases. The social hierarchy is
matriarchal and the number of females is generally more than the males. The responsibility of the
young ones, along with territory surveillance, is shared by all the members of the troop. Rhesus
macaques are quite vocal by nature and are both arboreal and terrestrial.
There is no particular mating period of Rhesus macaques, it may occur at any time of the year.
The gestation period is between 135 and 194 days. The age of maturity in case of female Rhesus
macaques is three years and in case of males, it is four years. Rhesus macaques are sexually
Subspecies of Rhesus Macaque
Macaca mulatta brevicauda
Macaca mulatta lasiota
Macaca mulatta mulatta
Macaca mulatta sanctijohannis
Macaca mulatta vestita
Macaca mulatta villosa
Facts about Rhesus Macaque
Scientific Name: Macaca mulatta
Species: M. mulatta
In the wild: 15 years
Lifespan: In captivity: 15 years to 20 years (male)
In captivity: 15 years to 20 years (male)
Male - 50 cm to 55 cm
Female - 45 cm to 50 cm
Male - 7 kg to 8 kg
Female - 4.5 kg to 5.5 kg
Tail Length: 20.7 cm to 22.9 cm
Male - 4 years
Age of Maturity:
Female - 3 years
Gestation Period: 135 days to 194 days
Number of Offspring:One
Nilgai, also known as Blue Bull, is one of the most commonly found wild animals of northern
India as well as eastern Pakistan. Even though it is an antelope, it looks quite similar in
appearance to an ox. Therefore, it has been given the name of Blue bull of India. The average
lifespan of the Neelgai is 21 years.
Indian Blue bull antelope stands tall, at a height of 1.2 to 1.5 m (4 to 5 feet). It grows to length of
somewhere between 1.8 and 2 m and weighs around 120 to 240 kg. The tail of a Neelgai is 40 to
45 cm in length. The largest male blue bull antelope was seen in the state of Texas and it
weighed over 272 kg. A baby Neelgai weighs between 13.6 and 15.9 kg. The strong body of the
Blue bull of India is balanced on comparatively thin legs.
It has two small conical horns on the top of a long and narrow head. The horns are straight and at
the same time, slightly forward tilted. Horns of male Nilgai are 21.6 to 25.4 cm in length. On the
backside of the neck is an erectable mane, while the throat is adorned with a tubular-shaped "hair
pennant". Female Neelgai is yellowish-brown in color and is shorter in height as compared to her
male counterpart. As a male Nilgai attains maturity, its coat starts turning grayish-blue in color.
There are white spots on the cheeks and white coloring on the edges of the lips.
Nilgai antelope is a sociable creature, usually found in single-sex
or mixed-sex herds. The membership of a herd may be anywhere
between four and twenty. In winter, male blue bulls of northern
India are known to form herds of 30 to 100 animals. Male Blue
bulls, after they reach old age, may be found leading a solitary
life. One can also come across individual male or female nilgais
in cultivated or semi-urban areas.
Nilgai is a diurnal creature, found inhabiting Indian grasslands and woodlands. It avoids dense
forest and has preference for plains and low hills with shrubs. Blue bulls are found in the
northern plains of India, stretching on from the base of the Himalayas in the north, to the state of
Karnataka in the South. Their range also covers the area from the Gir forest, all along the entire
eastern length of Pakistan, across the border of Rajasthan in the West to the states of Assam and
West Bengal in the East.
Nilgai attains maturity at the age of 18 months. The gestation period lasts for 8 months, after
which, usually, twins are born. In some cases, the number of young ones may be one or three
Blue bulls of India are herbivorous creatures, surviving primarily on grasses, leaves, buds, and
Predators of Nilgai
The main predators of the blue bulls include tigers and lions. Leopards may attack calves, but are
not capable of killing an adult Nilgai.
Nilgai antelope has been listed in the 'Low Risk' category by the IUCN. The estimated
population of Nilgai in India is approximately 100,000. The main threat to the Neelgai is from
the destruction of its habitat to accommodate the ever-swelling human population.
Blue bulls generally come to the same place to deposit their droppings.
Blue bull can survive for a long period of time without water.
Nilgai was introduced in Texas in 1920's.
In India, it is believed that the Nilgai antelope is a sacred animal (precisely a cow) and it
is protected against hunting.
Striped hyena belongs to the Hyaenidae family and is scientifically known as Hyaena hyaena.
Strongly related to the Brown hyena, it is basically a solitary creature. The average lifespan of
striped hyenas hovers somewhere around 10 to 12 years in the wild. When kept in captivity, they
can live longer also.
The body coat of a striped hyena is covered with grayish-brown fur. Its legs, torso, head and
back have black vertical stripes all over, while, muzzle and ears are totally black. There is also a
medium sized mane on its neck, shoulders as well as the back. When threatened, a striped hyena
erects the hair on its mane, making itself look 30-40 percent bigger than it actually is. This
activity is also used in displays against other striped hyenas.
The underside of its neck is covered with a black throat patch. The legs are quite long and the tail
is feathery, reaching the hocks. Striped hyena of India may grow to a length of 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to
1.45m). It stands tall at a shoulder height of 2.2 to 2.5 feet (66 to 75cm). Striped hyenas weigh
between 57 and 90 pounds (26 and 41 kg). The size of a male and a female striped hyena does
not differ too much. Quite similar to a number of other hot climate animals, their ears also
Striped hyenas are found occupying the tropical savanna,
grasslands, semi-deserts, scrub forests and woodlands. In the
Indian subcontinent, they inhabit open country, seashores as well
as forests. Their geographical range also stretches on form
Morocco and Senegal to Tanzania, across Asia Minor, the
Arabian Peninsula, all the way to Iran and Pakistan, apart from
India. Striped hyenas are believed to have become extinct in
Europe. However, they can be sporadically spotted in Anatolia
Striped Hyenas are mainly carnivores, but may eat fruit also. Their prey includes insects and
small animals like mice, mammalian carrion, tortoise, porcupine and wild pigs. They may also
hunt domestic animals, like goats, sheep, donkeys, and horses.
Striped hyenas are nomads by nature and move from one water hole to another. Still, they never
venture more than 6 miles from their previous water hole. Hyenas are not gregarious creatures
and live mostly in isolation. At times, one can find them congregating in small family groups.
Striped hyenas of India can be frequently seen seizing and shaking each other by the neck in
mock fighting rituals.
Female striped hyenas attain maturity when they reach 2-3 years of age. Their estrous cycle lasts
for 45 to 50 days and they can mate throughout the year. The gestation period is 88 to 92 days
and the number of young ones may be anywhere from 1 to 5. The usual number of cubs is two
and they start eating meat after 30 days.
Relationship with other predators
Striped hyenas of India are basically scavengers, which thrive on the kills of other predators.
This habit of theirs results in a confrontation with the other predators. In India and the Middle
East, the striped hyenas may, at times, enter into a conflict with the wolves also. Striped hyenas
may be able to dominate very young tigers also.
Striped hyenas are included in the list of 'Near Threatened' species. The exact population of the
striped hyenas of India is not known.
Striped hyena faces no threat from natural predators, since it does not have one. Their main
threat is from humans, with whom they constantly come into conflict. Striped hyenas may make
human beings, mainly children, and livestock their target. This is the main reason why they are
poisoned and trapped by people. Striped hyena of India is also poached since its parts are
believed to have curative properties. Last but not the least, it is facing the threat of habitat
Hyaena hyaena barbara
Hyaena hyaena hyaena
The Indian Jackal (Canis aureus)
Golden Jackal are 70- 85 cm long and weigh around 8 -10 kg. They are golden yellowish
in colour with a reddish tail having a black tip. The tail itself measures upto 9 -14 inches. It has
white mark on its throat and the back of the ears is darker in colour. Males are usually larger than
Golden Jackal are found throughout India. Jackals live in almost any environment, in
humid forest country, or in dry open plains, or desert.
Diet : Golden Jackal are omnivorous. They feed on small mammals, insects, hares, fish, birds
Gestation period rests for nine weeks. Females give birth to 3-6 pubs. During pregnancy
males go out in search of food and the females rest at home. They weigh around 200 -250 g at
birth. They open their eyes in about ten days. They are weaned in 4- 6 weeks. The females are
sexually mature than in less than a year, the males closer to the two years.
Life span : Golden Jackal lives up to 14-16 years of age. For centuries, golden jackals have
made an impression on Middle Eastern civilisations. They feature in many fables, are referred to
in the Bible several times, and Anubis, a god of ancient Egypt, was depicted as a man with the
head of a jackal.
Common Palm Civet
The Common Palm Civet weighs around 3.2 kg (7 lb) and has a body length of 53cm (21
inches). The Common Palm has a tail length of 48cm (19 inches). It's long, stocky body is
covered with coarse, shaggy hair that is usually a greyish colour.The Common Palm Civet has
black markings on its feet, ears and muzzle. It also has three rows of black markings on its main
body.The markings on it's face resemble a raccoon's. It's tail does not have rings, unlike similar
palm civet species. The Common Palm Civet has sharp claws which allow it to climb trees and
Common Palm Civets live in tropical forested habitats, parks and suburban gardens
where mature fruit trees and fig trees grow and undisturbed vegetation.
Both male and female have scent glands underneath the tail that resemble testicles. It can
spray a noxious secretion from these glands. The common palm civet is solitary, nocturnal and
Common Palm Civets spend the day asleep in a tree hollow. Common Palm Civets are
territorial.Common Palm Civets reproduce throughout the year although it has been recorded that
kittens are most often seen from October to December. Kittens are born in a litter of 2 to 5
young. Palm civets become sexually mature at 11 to 12 months.
Common Palm Civets forage mainly at night. The likelihood of encountering predators
during the day may have favoured nocturnal foraging behaviour. The activity period, from
around 6pm in the evening to 4am in the morning, is influenced by daylight. Palm civets become
active only after dark and retreat to rest sites just before dawn.When foraging in the same area,
civets repeatedly use the same resting trees. Resting trees with vines and holes are preferred by
the civets and are used for several consecutive days.