Bandipur diaries 3

Apart from the carnivorous tigers and leopards, and the hundreds of elephants, Bandipur has many other animals that are necessary for survival of the forest ecosystem, and its quite exciting to see them in their natural habitat.

Safari bus
A safari bus in the Bandipur forest

Read Bandipur diaries 1 and Bandipur diaries 2

On entering the forest, we’re usually welcomed by herds of spotted deer. They’re visibly used to hearing the roaring safari vehicles. Though they get alerted and stay at a distance, they mostly hang around grazing or watching us, while we admire their grace and elegant antlers.

We were told that this is the time of the year when the deer shed their antlers and new ones start growing.

Spotted deer
Spotted deer
Spotted deer
Spotted deer

Seldom do we see solitary deer. On one of the mornings, as we were exiting the safari area, we heard a young deer’s warning calls and then it emerged from behind the foliage. It continued to make a noise for a while, and we waited to see if any of the predators were around. But no.

Lone deer
A lone deer making warning calls

The Indian bison or Gaur is the largest of the wild cattle species in our Indian forests. They’re prize kill for the carnivores and just one of them can feed a whole tiger family for several days. The species is listed as “Vulnerable” in the ICUN Red List.

A solitary Gaur in the company of crows
A solitary Gaur in the company of crows
Gaurs on a chilly foggy morning
Gaurs on a chilly foggy morning

Over the many trips we have made to Bandipur, we always saw the Gaur in the distance, but this time we saw them a few feet from our vehicle.

A relatively young Gaur, closeup

The Wild dog or Dhole completes the trio of big predators in Bandipur. We were on our last safari and on the way out of the forest when we came upon a pack of eleven wild dogs, relaxing in the sun that was just warming up a cold morning. Needless to say, they were disturbed by the appearance of the noisy Bolero and started moving away. Some of them stopped to check us out, but as our vehicle tracked them, they scattered themselves and gradually disappeared into the shrubs that lined the road.

Wild dogs or Dhole
Wild dogs or Dhole, disturbed from their morning siesta
Wild dog or Dhole
Wild dog or Dhole

Bandipur is home to four species of deer – Spotted, Sambar, Mouse and Barking. Apart from the common Spotted deer, the Sambar is quite frequently sighted, and is said to constitute about 60% of a tiger’s diet. The Mouse deer and Barking deer are rarer sightings in our experience.

Sambar deer female
Sambar female

The female Sambars do not have antlers, but both males and females can be seen with gory looking wounds on their front necks. We thought they’d been in some sort of fights but read that these red sore spots are a natural phenomenon in sambar. The spot is located down the throat surrounded by a hairless area – in adult males in rut and pregnant or lactating females, and is supposed to be caused by glandular changes.

Sambar deer male
Sambar deer male

One of the cutest scenes we saw in the forest was of young wild boars with their parents. Four ‘piglets’ following their mother while dad watched on (not in the pictures).

Wild boar babies with mother
Wild boar young ones with mother
Wild boars marching in line
Wild boars marching in line to escape from us

When driving through the forest, the langurs often go unnoticed until we see them jumping from tree to tree. They’re willing posers, when not looking for food.

Grey langur
Grey langur

On our last trip in March 2022, we’d seen a huge Monitor lizard, not so camouflaged, holding onto a tree trunk, and a couple of Malabar squirrels high on the trees. Also Sloth bears whom we couldn’t photograph.

Monitor Lizard
Monitor lizard (Pic: 30th Mar 2022)
Malabar Squirrel (Pic: 29th Mar 2022)

At the JLR campus, there are notices telling us not to feed the monkeys. They’re fairly common around and interesting to watch. On one side, there was a mom grooming her young one. On the other side we saw two little ones wrestling with each other, and their mom had to intervene to split them up.

Young one being groomed by mom
Wrestling monkeys
Wrestling monkeys at JLR


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s