Animals in India, where to observe wild animals?

Animals in India, where to observe wild animals?

Wildlife in India is made up of many species. Apart from the main livestock, India has a wide variety of animals endemic to the country. Among the most impressive or intriguing animals, the country is home to Bengal tigers, Asiatic lions, pythons, wolves, bears, crocodiles, wild dogs, monkeys, snakes, bison varieties, the Asian rhinoceros, the Asian elephant, and many others we have described in this article.

For some of these animals, you will find associated itineraries that allow you to be watch them in their natural environment. They are grouped by category:

Felines – large specimens

Bengal Tiger

Among the most emblematic, the Bengal Tiger is one of the most popular animals in the world and its population has been growing in recent years. It is the national animal and one of the species we think of when we talk about India. It is in the jungles of Madhya Pradesh that we have the best chance of seeing it, even if we do not recommend this region that has become too touristy. Tigers have not only stimulated tourism in the region but also the conservation of its habitat.


Its extreme adaptability, opportunistic behavior, and stealth make the Leopard the most accomplished of the big cats. The leopard has an exceptional climbing prowess and is even capable of carrying heavy prey in a tree. It is heavily poached for its skin and parts and faces a serious threat of habitat loss and human-animal conflict.

Black Panther

The Black Panther is called “Bagheera” in Hindi, which is where originated the famous Panther of the Jungle Book. It is a melanic Indian leopard (Panthera pardus fusca), a subspecies of the leopard, widespread on the Indian subcontinent.

Asiatic Lion

The Asiatic Lion is a subspecies of lion that exists only in Gir in Gujarat, where 400 of these majestic beasts live. Their small population is threatened by inbreeding, disease, and conflict with humans. The male has a mane smaller than its African cousin. The size of the pride is also significantly smaller than that of African lions.

Snow Leopard

The most typical predator of the Himalayas is the Snow Leopard, this grey ghost holds many world records. It is the predator that lives the highest and it is the only big cat that can not roar. It also has one of the longest tails in proportion to body length, which is used for balance and to wrap it around the body as a blanket to stay warm. The snow leopard is a master of camouflage and stealth. It is threatened by habitat loss, poaching and conflicts with sheep farmers.

Clouded Leopard

The Clouded Leopard is the smallest of the big cats and inhabits the forests of the northeastern Himalayan hills. Poached heavily in the region, it is listed as Vulnerable by IUCN. They are considered among the most talented climbers of the family of cats and among the few who can descend vertical trunks headfirst.

Felines – India, land of cats

Fishing Cat
Fishing Cat

Jungle Cat

The Jungle Cat is the most common wild cat in India. It is active both day and night and is an effective hunter, thrives in a variety of habitats. It feeds on a variety of rodents and birds and can also attack animals larger than it, such as porcupine.

Eurasian Lynx

The northern Himalayas form the southernmost part of the Range of the Boreal Lynx, which is found throughout Eurasia. It is easily distinguished from other small cats by long ear tufts, which are supposed to improve hearing. Their furry feet act like snowshoes, helping to move through the dense snow cover of the Himalayas.

Fishing Cat

The FishingCat is a resident of wetlands and is classified as endangered due to habitat loss. He is an excellent swimmer and he is mainly nocturnal. Fish are its main prey, but it can also eat rodents, amphibians and also scavenge.

Pallas Cat

The Pallas Cat or Manul is a rather strange but endearing cat, with an extremely shaggy appearance. His flat face sets him apart from his cousins. The thick, dense fur keeps it warm in the harsh conditions of Ladakh, the only region where it is located in India. It hunts a variety of rodents and birds, often on mountain slopes.

Rusty-spotted cat

The Rusty-spotted cat is the smallest wild feline in the world and is found in most of peninsular India. It is usually nocturnal and extremely shy, and is therefore not commonly encountered. The unmarked tail is an identification trick for this species. It is also known to be very tolerant of human presence, often inhabiting the fringes of human habitation around forests.

Asian golden cat

The Asian golden cat is an extremely shy feline. It looks like the Puma of the Americas in appearance, but is much smaller and has short black stripes on its face. Found in the forests of the hills of northeastern India, it is an extremely rare animal and is often reported by camera trap images. It ranks as “almost threatened” on the IUCN Red List due to poaching and habitat loss.

Asiatic Wildcat

The Asiatic Wildcat inhabits the arid regions of northwestern India. The wild relative closest to the domestic cat, he often meets with domestic cats on his territory. Among small Indian cats, it is most exploited for its fur, and poaching is a significant conservation threat.

Marbled Cat

The Marbled Cat is another inhabitant of the hill forests of northeastern India, where poaching and deforestation have led to its being classified as “vulnerable” by IUCN. The marbled cat is an extremely agile climber, with its extraordinarily long tail serving as a counterweight. The thick, dark spots give it the appearance of a miniature clouded leopard.

Leopard Cat

The Leopard Cat is a miniature version of the leopard. It is not only similar to its great cousin but also shares its adaptability. It is the second most common small cat after the jungle cat and grows in a variety of habitats. It is usually arboreal and hunts rodents and birds. Although listed as the “least threatened” species, it faces a significant threat of hunting and habitat loss.


The magnificent Caracal is one of the most sought after among feline lovers. It occurs in a large part of Africa to Central Asia and northwest India, where it is an extremely rare animal to encounter. Long ear clumps and long legs give the caracal its characteristic feline grace. It feeds on a wide range of prey, including desert rodents, birds and even small deer.

Other Carnivores

Brown bear

The Isabella Bear or The Himalayan Brown Bear is the most widespread species in the world, the brown bear is also the largest terrestrial predator on earth, along with the polar bear. The species is divided into several subspecies in its wide geographical distribution, some of the best known being the Grizzly and Kodiak of North America, the Eurasian Brown Bear of Europe, the Tibetan Blue Bear, the Gobi Bear (the most endangered bear in the world) and the Kamchatka Brown Bear. The brown bear is an omnivore with the greatest variety of diets for all bears, ranging from deer, fish and rodents to acorns, pine cones and berries.

Asiatic Black Bear

The crescent-shaped marking on the asian Black Bear’s chest gives it the nickname “Moon Bear”. It is widely distributed, in the form of several subspecies in its range. The black bear is widely exploited for its bile in Chinese medicine.

Sloth bear

The Sloth Bear is the most common in India. It is the most insectivorous of all bears and has in fact evolved similar characteristics to other insectivorous animals such as anteaters (for example, missing upper incisors, a long snout and tongue and powerful claws to dig termite mounds) by converging evolution. It also consumes honey. Cubs can often be seen on the mother’s back.

Sun bear

The Sun Bear is the smallest bear in the world. A particular feature is an incredibly long tongue, used to extract honey from hives. The name “Sun Bear” refers to the bright spot on their chest, which, according to folklore, resembles the rising sun. It is threatened by poaching and habitat loss.

Bengal fox

The Bengal Fox is endemic to the subcontinent and is the most common fox in the region. The black markings on the black eyes and short snout give the fox an adorable appearance. The black-tipped tail allows a quick identification. Effective pest control, the Indian fox feeds mainly on rodents. It inhabits the bushes and grasslands, and therefore faces the threat of habitat loss and poaching, as most of these areas lack legal protection.

Tibetan Sand Fox

Endemic to the Tibetan plateau, the Tibetan Sand Fox is a rare occurrence in India, found only in Ladakh and Sikkim where India shares its borders with Tibet. The most carnivorous fox, it is equipped with several adaptations to the difficult Tibetan terrain, which gives it its unique appearance, such as a narrow snout, short legs, and ears. Tibetan Sand foxes hunt pikas, marmots and hares.

White-footed or Desert Fox

As the name suggests, the desert fox inhabits the arid regions of northwestern India. The white-tipped tail separates it from the Indian fox. The desert fox is a subspecies of the red fox, of which another breed, the Himalayan red fox, is found in the Upper Himalayas.

Golden Jackal

The Golden Jackal is the most common member of the canid family, proliferating in a wide range of habitats, including forests, hills, marshes, grasslands, and brush. Always active and hard-working, the jackal is a true opportunist. Scavenger most of the time, he also hunts anything he can catch, and it has even been documented fishing! The jackal’s opportunistic behaviour earned him the reputation of a scoundrel in Indian folklore.

Asiatic Wild Dog (Dhole)

The Dhole is a very social Indian animal, living in packs with up to 40 individuals. Their group hunting strategies also make them one of the most successful carnivores. Habitat loss and disease are the main conservation threats for Dhole.

Indian Wolf

Unlike the furry grey wolf, which is a subspecies, the Indian Wolf is a thin, elongated canine, almost resembling a bastard but larger in size. The Indian wolf inhabits the brush and countryside in India where it feeds on antelopes. Habitat loss and conflicts with livestock producers are the main conservation threats.

Himalayan wolf

The Himalayan breed of the grey wolf, called The Himalayan/Tibetan Wolf, differs from the Indian wolf in its lush white coat.

Striped hyena

Although the hyena looks morphologically like dogs, it is phylogenetically closer to cats and weasels. The Striped Hyena is the only hyena species found in India and is found in most of the subcontinent, with the exception of coastal regions. Being strictly nocturnal, it is rarely encountered. Hyenas are mainly scavengers, but larger animals are able to slaughter their prey. Like most scavengers, it found an unfavorable reputation in myths and folklore as a coward. Habitat loss threatens striped hyenas and is listed as near-threatened on IUCN.

Yellow-throated marten

The Yellow-throated Marten is both terrestrial and arboreal. The yellow spot that gives it its name extends all over the belly and on the back. It has a characteristic coat that distinguishes it from other martens.

Asian palm civet

The Asian palm civet or common palm civet is a carnivorous mammal of the viverrid family. Its name (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) comes from the fact that both sexes have scent glands under the tail, which can be confused with testicles.

Indian Pangolin

Poached for its scales and meat has had destructive effects on pangolin populations around the world. The Indian Pangolin has also fallen prey to this trade and ranks as “endangered” on the IUCN Red List. Young pangolins often climb on the mother’s tail. The insectivorous Pangolin is famous for rolling into a ball of armor when cornered by a predator.


Asiatic Elephant

Adored and revered in Indian mythology, the Asiatic Elephant is the favorite and most emblematic animal in India along with the tiger. The elephant is also the animal of India’s national heritage. The wild elephant is unfortunately listed as “endangered” today due to poaching, habitat loss and conflicts with humans.

Indian Rhinoceros

The Indian Rhinoceros is the pride of northeastern India and defines the Terai and marshes along the foothills of the Himalayas that it inhabits. It differs from its African counterparts by having a single horn, and is second in size after the Asiatic elephant, throughout the subcontinent. It is listed as vulnerable on IUCN and poaching continues to be the greatest threat to rhino survival.

Rhinos and elephants can be seen in Kaziranga and Manas National Park, for example:

Wild Buffalo

The Wild Buffalo is one of the largest bovids in the world and is found mainly in the marshes of Assam. The animal is defined by its large, almost semi-circular horns. Water buffalo are endangered due to their crossbreeding with livestock, habitat loss on the floodplain and hunting in countries such as Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia.

Common deer

Deer species found in India are:

The Sambar is the largest deer in India. Characterized by a uniformly dark brown coat and large antlers on the male, the Sambar often emits a bark when threatened. Although the sambar is usually solitary, it is possible to see it in the herds and gather during salt licking. The Sambar is listed as vulnerable due to poaching and habitat loss.

The Chital or Spotted deer lives in large herds in the clearings where they graze on the grass. They have a rusty brown body with white spots that camouflages them in the forest. Each wood has three branches called teeth.

The Barasingha, or swamp deer, has large hooves that allow this beautiful animal to live in the swampy areas of Terai and Kaziranga. Each antler has 6 or more branches.

The Barking deer or Muntjac lives in many forest areas throughout India. It has two crests on the face and a short wood with only 2 branches. His call sounds like the barking of a dog.

The Hog Deer takes its name from its pig posture while running along the forest floor with its head down to avoid obstacles. Like most other prairie dwellers, it is also at risk due to habitat loss.

Antelopes and Gazelle

The Blackbuck is the only true antelope found in India. It lives in large herds. The males are black on top and cream underneath and have beautiful spiral horns that form a “V” shape.

The Chinkara, also known as the Indian gazelle, is a smaller, pale brown animal with beautiful curved horns.

The Chousingha or four-horned antelope is the only animal in the world to have four horns.

The Nilgai Antelope is the largest antelope in Asia and one of the most common as well. It inhabits dry forests. Sexual dimorphism is pronounced in this species; males wear a bluish grey dress and a dark mane in addition to a goatee on the throat, while females are light brown.

Nilgiri Tahr

The Nilgiri Tahri is located in the hills of Nilgiri and Annamalai in South India.

Indian Bison (Gaur)

The Gaur or Indian Bison is the largest bovine in the world. The massive animal is easily identified by the convex crest between the horns on the forehead and the white and neat socks on the legs. Gaur is listed as vulnerable due to hunting threats in countries such as Laos and Vietnam and habitat loss.


Mithun is a distant cousin of the Gaur. It is a semi-domesticated beef found in Arunachal Pradesh in northeastern India and is used as a dowry at weddings.


The Takin that lives in Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh looks a bit like the wildebeest with its bulging forehead, it is a close relative of musk ox. Subspecies are distinguished by the colour of their coats.


The Wildass is endemic to the Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat and its great cousin Kiang inhabits the Changtang highlands in Ladakh.

Asiatic lion and Rajasthan leopard – Gujarat and Rajasthan – 14 days

Blue Sheep (Bharal)

The Great Bharal or Blue Sheep has a bluish-grey coat, which differs from the tone in individuals, some are even rather light brown. It is the most common wild sheep in Ladakh.


The Himalayan Ibex is considered a subspecies of the Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica). They are found in the western Himalayas in Pakistan and India, usually at altitudes of 3800m or more.

Red Panda

The Red Panda, nicknamed Fire Fox in China, wears a flamboyant red dress. Although classified among carnivores, it feeds mainly on bamboo and other plant-based foods. This inhabitant of the mountain forests of Asia is suffering the full force of excessive deforestation.

Hispid Hare (Assam Rabbit)

Characterized by its short ears (compared to other hares), the Hispid Hare or Assam Rabbit is one of the rarest hares in the world. It is endangered due to the destruction of its prairie habitat and is unevenly distributed in suitable habitat along the foothills of the Himalayas.

Wild boar in Chitwan National Park, Bruce Oswald
Wild boar at Chitwan National Park

Wild boar

“Forest Farmer”, the wild boar or wild pig is able to dig up the forest, soils and meadows with its hard snout in search of roots and tubers – but eats almost anything! Solid and weighing up to 100 kilograms, it bravely defends himself against any carnivore if attacked. Females are often seen with a litter of up to twelve small piglets.

Pygmy Hog

Very little is known about the world’s smallest pig species, the Pygmy Hog. The species is critically threatened with extinction due to the destruction of its habitat, and exists in very few known locations such as Manas National Park in Assam. Several efforts to raise the species in captivity have led to a recent increase in its population.


Porcupine marks are probably the only thing you’ll see of this amazing giant rodent as it sleeps underground during the day. Its back hairs have evolved into black and white peaks and are a danger to any creature that threatens them. You have to be careful! It attacks by projecting himself backwards.

Aquatic animals

Gangetic Dolphin

Found in the River Basins of the Ganges and Brahmaputra, the Ganges Dolphin has faced a sharp decline in its number due to hunting, trapping in fishing gear, pollution and habitat loss. It is the national aquatic animal of India.

A cruise on the Bhramapoutre is ideal for watching the Gangetic dolphin!

Irrawaddy Dolphin

The Irrawaddy Dolphin is a little different from other dolphins. It has no elongated beak, called a rostrum. It is grey and its front is wide and rounded, like a grey melon. Looks like he’s laughing all the time. The Irrawaddy dolphin is from the narwhal and beluga family. Its fins are also special. They are wide and have the shape of a spatula. The dorsal fin is very small.

Marsh Crocodile

The Marsh Crocodile lives on the shores of Lake Tadoba or the Andhari River. It likes to catch small mammals drinking or eating fish – he doesn’t make a fuss. They can reach up to 5 m and 450 kg. Never forget that these reptiles have been around for 220 million years and are well adapted to their lifestyle.


The Gharial is one of the largest species of crocodilians but also one of the most endangered on our planet. One of the characteristics of the Gharial is its elongated and narrow snout. The Gharial takes its name from the bulb-shaped nasal appendage found in adult males called “ghara”. This multi-function bulb serves as a vocal resonator with which the gharial can produce a buzzing noise during social behavior, a visual stimulus for females during courtship and an aid in the production of bubbles also during courtship.


Lion-tailed Macaque

The Wanderoo, also known as the Lion-tailed Macaque, feeds mainly on fruit and inhabits the Nilgiris and Anamalais in the southern Western Ghats. Populations of the species have succumbed to habitat loss for agriculture, making it one of the most endangered primates in the world. It takes its name from the bushy tail similar to that of the lion.

Hoolock Gibbon

The Hoolock Gibbon is part of the family of great apes or anthropomorphic apes, such as gorillas, orangutans, bonobos and chimpanzees. Because of its small size, you would think that it is not part of the family of great apes, but it is a mistake. It’s an ape, but a small one! A ape is recognized by the absence of a tail and its particular teeth.

India’s only ape, The Hoolock Gibbon is an incredible gymnast and can be seen twirling through the canopy of trees. He’s also a melodious singer. Males and females are of two distinctly different colors; females are cream-coloured and males are totally black with the exception of white eyebrows. Couples are monogamous and live together for life – but are unfortunately greatly affected by the destruction of their habitat.

  • Assam and Arunachal Wildlife (15 days) is one of the best routes to cross the Gibbon Hoolock
  • Sustainable tourism in north-east India – Meghalaya and Assam – 10 days

Gray Langur

The Gray Langur and mainly leaf eater with a long tail for a life in the trees are worshipped by Hindus like Hanuman, the monkey god. Young males live separately. They live in symbiosis with The Chital and sound the alarm when they detect a carnivore nearby!

Golden Langur

One of our most endangered primates, the Golden Langur only became known to science in the 1950s, thanks to naturalist EP Gee, after which the monkey was named Trachypithecus geei. It is found in an extremely limited range in Assam and Bhutan. Habitat loss is its main threat to conservation.

Phayre’s Leaf Langur

The Phayre’s Leaf Langur is an endangered species, found mainly in tropical forests of South-East Asia and India. They prefer to feed on leaves, flowers and fruit. and have a salivary gland that ultimately allows them to break the potentially hard envelope of their food.

Bengal Slow Loris

The Bengal Slow Loris is a nocturnal primate that inhabits the rainforests of Southeast Asia, especially India. It is threatened with extinction due to hunting, habitat loss, logging and the pet trade.


Royal Cobra

The Royal Cobra is the longest venomous snake in the world and can reach up to 5.5 m, weigh up to 15 kg and live for twenty years!

Spectacled Cobra

India’s most beloved snake, the Spectacled Cobra, is revered in Indian mythology and often finds itself in trouble at the hands of snake charmers. The glasses-shaped pattern on the hood gives the snake its name. It inhabits all kinds of land: forests, crops, hiding in tree holes or termite mounds during the day and becoming active at night.

Wildlife Itineraries

Eastern Routes is a local travel agency specializing in creating your tailor-made trip to India, meeting your expectations and desires. Protecting species, wildlife and the environment is one of our main missions. We are a partner of TOFTigers and Aaranyak, organizations engaged in this wildlife conservation in India.

Discover here all the examples of immersive wildlife itinerariesthat we offer and do not hesitate to contact us for any questions.

Bengal Tiger in Kaziranga National Park
Bengal Tiger