The allure of spotting the tiger is undeniable, but in India where so many creatures, great and small exist, it’s unwise to obsess just over one animal. Take a look at these beautiful experiences through the length and breadth of the country and draw up a new to-see list.
Fireflies in Maharashtra
Come monsoon, thousands of fireflies dot the blue night sky in India. Fireflies, also known as lightning bugs, are a type of a winged bioluminescent beetle that light up into a fluorescent yellow colour. They are attracted to moisture and wetlands, and are especially drawn to lush villages in Maharashtra such as Purushwadi and Rajmachi like a moth to a flame. This is through the months May to September. Groups such as Grassroutes organise guided trips and camps here during the season.
Red Panda in Arunachal Pradesh
What looks like a bear, acts like a cat and shares the name with the giant panda? It’s the elusive red panda, fifty per cent of whose population can be found in the Himalayas. This bushy-tailed red and white animal perilously falls in the endangered category. In India, as per the WWF, it can be found in western Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkin, Darjeeling and parts of Meghalaya. The red panda, although difficult to spot, can be found in the Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh.
Snow Leopard in Ladakh
The snow leopard isn’t the easiest animal to spot. For starters, its natural habitat is 3000ft above ground level on the rocky edges of the Himalayas. Then, its light skin helps disguise it in the snow. Third, it makes not a whisper, not a roar. Maybe just lets out a low growl to communicate. No wonder this mysterious cat is so appealing to humans. If there is a chance of taking a look at it, you must visit the Hemis National Park, India’s only national park at such a high altitude, in Ladakh and other parts of Kargil.
Malabar Giant Squirrel in Kerala
If you’re squinting suspiciously at our suggestion to go see a squirrel, hear us out. The Malabar Giant Squirrel is no ordinary bright-eyed and bushy-tailed creature. This Kerala-native is a large- sized (refer to the name again), rodent of a bright red and brown colour. They can be seen in Munnar’s tea estates or inside the Achankovil forest.
Black Panthers in Karnataka
Black panthers are mysterious and beautiful cats. But these bagheeras of the jungle are not to be easily found. Often just known as black leopards in India, The Kabini Nagarhole National Park near Bangalore is a common place for sightings.