Batrachophobes and Ophidiophobes aren't going to be so pleased with this but we can't help it! The slimy and slithering beings have a way of saying "come hither" and before you start to cringe with unspeakable fear, remember that they are more afraid of you than you are of them. Or at least that's what we believe in. And for those who love everything herp related, following is a list of places where you can go herping in India. If the idea of exploring the wet forest at night is something that keeps you up at night (in a good way), then this is for you.
Bringing to you the wonder that is, forests in India. You have the great and vast Western Ghats, the vast Thar Desert, Goan hinterlands and the dense montane forests of the north east India to pick from.
It doesn't really matter whether you have been to Arunachal Pradesh, are from there or got no clue, believe us when we say that the forest there are indeed lovely, dark and deep, and full of life. For a herping enthusiast, the entire state is a playground. The favourable altitude and climate has given the region dense and somewhat impenetrable rainforest (read leech-infested). There are more than 100 reptile species present in the entire state. The number just keeps increasing with new discoveries. The most recent one being the discovery of the Crying Keelback from Lepa-Rada district. The new non-venomous snake species is definitely the hottest topic in the world of herping.
Amboli in Maharashtra
Located in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra is Amboli, a biodiversity hotspot, teeming with life of all kinds. The real charm of Amboli comes out during the rainy season when the forest comes to life. The endemic and critically endangered Amboli Toad or the Tiger Toad is the star of this area. Malabar gliding frog and Malabar pit viper are other attractions that are irresistable to herping enthusiasts.
Agumbe in Karnataka
Watch your step! This is the home of the King Cobra, the world's longest venomous snake. Agumbe falls under the Shimoga district which is also known for it's natural beauty. The green cover is dense and refreshing. Agumbe is not just for the herp-lovers, but is also popular among trekkers and hikers. Many streams and waterfall dot the forest, giving it a refreshing touch. This home of the King Cobra is also a perfect to see nature's small-sized wonders.
Matheran in Maharashtra
You know of Matheran if you are a fan of hiking and nature trails. But did you also know that Matheran is a favourite home for the bull frogs and the bush frogs? The hopping beauties (yes, they are beautiful) rule the forest that make up Matheran, along with other species of frogs and spiders.
Coorg in Karnataka
Honey Valley in Coorg is one of the most sought-after herping destination in India. And how can it not be when it is a part of the Western Ghats, surrounded by great shola grasslands and lush evergreen forest. Rain-kissed destination that it is, Coorg is home to a large number of amphibians and reptiles. Some of the stars from Coorg are the Wrinkled Frog, the endemic Dancing Frog, Cat Snake, Malabar Pit Viper and Coral Snake, to name a few.
We love Goa. Do you? You are probably getting flashbacks of sea, sun, sand and shacks. We are talking about Goa in monsoon. Go to Goa in monsoon for two main reasons: a) This time around it is no longer a party destination, meaning, affordable accommodations and b) snakes of Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary is a favourite home of the green Vine Snake and the bright and colourful Coral Snake.
Thar Desert in Rajasthan
If you are thinking what has desert got to do with herping, then think again. Answer is: a lot. The arid region where life seems hard, if not impossible, many species of scorpions, lizards, insects and snakes thrive. The Sochurek’s Saw-Scaled Viper, one of the world's fastest striking snakes with hemotoxic venom, calls Thar its home. If you see ripples in the dunes, you know what to expect, don't you?