The wildlife in India consists of a mix of species of different types of organisms. Apart from a handful of the major farm animals such as cows, buffaloes, goats, poultry, and camels, India has a surprising wide variety of animals native to the country. It is home to Bengal Tigers, Indian Lions, Deer, Pythons, Wolves, Foxes, Bears, Crocodiles, Wild Dogs, Monkeys, Snakes, Antelope species, varieties of bison and the Asian elephant.
Common Animal Species are explained below:
The common deer species found in India include the Sambar, Chital, Barasingha and Barking deer.
Sambar lives in small family parties especially in hilly forested areas and feed mainly on shrubs and leaves of low branches. They are dark brown in colour and have large thick antlers, each having 3 branches.
Chital or spotted deer live in large herds in forest clearings where they graze on the grass. They have a rust brown body with white spots which camouflages them in the forest. Each antler has three branches called tines.
The rare Hangul deer is found only in Kashmir. It has a magnificent spread of antlers with 6 branches on each antler.
The Barasingha, or swamp deer, has wide hoofs that enable this beautiful animal to live in boggy areas of the Terai. Each antler has 6 or more branches.
The tiny barking deer lives in many forest areas all over India. It has two ridges on its face and a short antler with only 2 branches. Its call sounds like the bark of a dog.
The Blackbuck is the only true antelope found in India. It lives in large herds. The males are black on top and cream below and have beautiful spiral horns that form a ‘V’ shape.
The Chinkara, also known as the Indian gazelle, is a smaller animal and is pale brown in colour it has beautiful curved horns.
The rare Chausingha, or four horned antelope, is the only animal in the world that has four horns.
The Nilgai is the largest of the dryland herbivores. The males are blue-gray. Nilgai have white markings on the legs and head. They have short strong spike-like horns.
Indian wild ass, endemic to the Little Rann of Kutch.
A single species, the Nilgiri tahr is found in the Nilgiri and Annamalai hills in south India.
The Rhinocerous is now restricted to Assam but was once found throughout the Gangetic plains.
The wild buffalo is now also restricted to the Terai. The elephant is distributed in the Northeastern and Southern States. It is threatened by habitat loss and poaching for ivory.
Gaur is found in patches in several well-wooded parts of India.
The Leopard is more adaptable than the tiger and lives both in thick forests and degraded forest areas. Its beautiful ring like markings camouflages it so perfectly that its prey cannot see its stealthy approach.
The smaller jungle cat is a light brown animal and the leopard cat, which is a little bigger than a domestic cat, are very rare.
The most typical predator of the Himalayas is the snow leopard, which is very rare and poached for its beautiful skin which is pale grey with dark grey ring-like markings.
The wolf, jackal, fox and the wild dog or ‘dhole’ form a group called canids.
Another threatened predator is the Himalayan wolf. The wolves are now highly threatened as they have become increasingly dependent on shepherd’s flocks.
One of the common monkey species of the forest is the bonnet macaque, which has a red face, a very long tail and a whorl of hair on the scalp which looks like a cap.
Our other common monkey is the Rhesus macaque, which is smaller and has a shorter tail than the bonnet.
A rare macaque is the Lion-tailed macaque found only in a few forests of the southern Western Ghats and Annamalai ranges. It is black in colour, has long hair, a grey mane and a tassel at the end of its tail that looks like a lion’s tail.
The common langur has a black face and is known as the Hanuman monkey.
The rare Golden langur is golden yellow in colour and lives along the banks of the Manas River in Assam.
The Capped langur is an uncommon species of Northeast India.
The rare black Nilgiri langur lives in the southern Western Ghats, Nilgiris and Annamalais.