Chausingha - Four Horned Antelope
Umred Karhandla. 19/05/2016
" ... it was sheer luck to spot this elusive antelope from the forest. Extremely shy but curious enough to eye us through the bush ! We were on our last safari in Umred Karhandla and honest enough, we were looking for Bittu, Shrinivas, T 6, Chandi ... in short, only STRIPES ! But they seemed to elude us after Bittu granted us an amazing DARSHAN on our first safari in Umred Karhandla. So, while we looked about for the stripes, we decided to enjoy the sights of the forest as well. If the tigers, leopards here are well fed, the prey population must be good enough ... and that is what we found ... although they were elusive ... all of them ... now you imagine our happiness when we sighted this beauty ... love this image with the feel of the summer forest ! "
This image is now a part of the Animals Gallery on www.TheUntamedEarth.com
Do visit for more of such images from our natural world.
To contribute images and or articles, pl refer to the GUIDELINES FOR SUBMISSION on the site.
Equipment : Canon 100 - 400 mm with Canon 50 D
ISO 400, f 5.6, 1/500
Sloth Bear or Labiated Bear
Nagzira, Maharashtra. 16/05/2016
" ... it was the perfect recipe ... end of the safari, the evening shadows growing long, the light fading away ... this is when something exciting can get unfolded !
... like this Sloth Bear ... our guide as well as the driver happened to notice him and backed the gypsy ... we could only watch in fascination as it came closer and closer in that typical ambling bear walk ... we thought that it will walk straight in to us ... and we kept on watching him in fascination ... our driver decided to let the gypsy roll back down the slope but ultimately had to start it ... that was sufficient to spook the bear at that short distance ... and it bolted away with a surprising speed and agility ...
This was indeed one of the most fascinating wild life watch moments for us ... 3200 ISO at 250, was the best that I could manage to get this image ... but it will remain with us, etched brightly in our minds for ever !"
Do visit www.TheUntamedEarth.com for more of such images from our natural world.
To contribute images and or articles, pl refer to the GUIDELINES FOR SUBMISSION on the site.
Equipment : Canon 100 400 mm with Canon 50 D
ISO 3200, f 5.6, 1/250
Oriental Garden Lizard, Eastern Garden Lizard or Changeable Lizard
Scientific Name : Calotes versicolor
Dadar, Mumbai. 20/04/2015
Canon 50 D with Canon 400 mm f 5.6
ISO 400, f 6.3, 1/250
" ... there are times when simple elements come together in a synergy and suddenly even a very commonplace subject assumes a different look ... the dry moss on the backyard wall, the brick red colour of the wall in the background and the Garden Lizard just changing its colours ( probably getting the breeding colours ), come together in this image, to create a beautiful frame !"
The Garden Lizard is very widely distributed and is a common site among the undergrowth, even in the most urbanized areas. It is an insectivore and feeds mainly on insects and small vertebrates, including rodents and other lizards. Although they have teeth, these are designed for gripping prey and not tearing it up. So prey is swallowed whole. Occasionally they also consume vegetable matter.
The male gets a bright red throat during the breeding season, leading to a common but an incorrect name of a 'bloodsucker' !
Scineitific Name : Canis aureus indicus
Pench Tiger Reserve, MP. 31/03/2015
Cano 50 D with 400 mm f 5.6
ISO 400, f 6.3, 1/800
" ... we saw a large number of jackals in our Tadoba as well as Pench outing. Although we did see them in pairs, this one was by itself. So beautifully he was hidden against this backdrop thet we could see him only because he moved. It was quite amusing to see him gnaw on a fallen fruit * ... we did not know about its feeding habits !"
The Indian Jackal or the Himalayan Jackal is a sub species of the Golden Jackal, native to India. It typically inhabits lowlands on the outskirts of towns, villages and farms, where they shelter in holes among ruins or dense brush. Though primarily a scavenger which subsists on garbage and offal, it will supplement its diet with rodents, reptiles, fruit * and insects.
Lone jackals expelled from their packs, are known to form a commensal relation with the tiger ... following it and subsisting on the scraps of its kill. It is also known to alert a tiger to a kill !
‘The Basking Duo’
Indian Mud or Flap - shell Turtles
Scientific Name : Lissemys punctata
Canon 50 D with Canon 400 mm f 5.6 ISO 200, f 8, 1/640
“ … after our visit to the Nal Sarovar, near Ahmedabad in Gujarat, we decided to explore the surrounding areas. As we passed by a small village, we came across a pond on the outskirts. The sheer number of these turtles basking in the sun caught our eye. I made my way down to the water level along the bank but the turtles seemed to catch my presence. The speed with which most of them slithered in to the muddy water was remarkable. I was still able to get some on my camera and the presence of a lone Red - wattled Lapwing in the background lends an additional charm to this image of the ‘basking duo’ !
The Indian Flap – shell or the Mud Turtle is a fresh water turtle, quite well distributed in our country. It has flaps of skin which cover the limbs when they are retracted in to the shell and hence the name, ‘Flap – shell’. It lives in shallow water bodies. Waters with sand or mud bottoms are preferred because of its tendency to burrow. It plays an important role to reduce pollution in aquatic ecosystems by feeding on snails, insects, and fragments of dead animals.
It is known to be omnivorous and feeds on a variety of aquatic animals and plants.
Indian Palm Squirrel
Scientific Name : Funambulus palmarum
Timarni, Madhya Pradesh. 21/11/2012
“ … think fast, think agile, think nimble, think very acrobatic, think continuous chatter and we can immediately think ‘squirrel’ ! It is incredible to see them navigating their path high up in the trees with such an ease and whenever I see them climbing down head first, I am always awestruck !
Here is one creature who has been a buddy from every one’s childhood !
This image caught these two squirrels in some tender moment, as they were running about merrily on this dried tree !”
Equipment : Canon 50 D with Canon EF 100 - 400 mm at 400 mm
ISO 400, f 7.1, 1/1600
Scientific name : Chamaeleo zeylanicus
Panasonic DMC FZ 50
ISO 200, f 5, 1/30
“ … a creature so unique and one we have come to admire after watching countless wildlife documentaries … their colours and the ability to change them, their shape … a throw back on the ‘dino’ age, their gait, their prehensile tail, that independent eye movement and the culmination … their most lethal weapon … the tongue !
… imagine my excitement, when I came across this Chameleon !
We were in Kokan and one of our friends spotted him … I got a few shots and then we watched him go away and lost him in some vegetation beyond the house.”
“ We had discovered a colony of Fruit Eating Bats in the Five Gardens area in Dadar, Mumbai. Sometimes in the evenings, we have seen them dotting the sky, as they would go out hunting for their fruity meal and in the mornings, we see them resting for the day on their favourite trees.
Often I would jokingly say that I must do a ‘David Attenburrogh tree climbing act’ to reach and shoot them at eye level !
On one particular day as we were returning from our walk, we heard a peculiar squeaky sound and went to investigate. That is when we discovered this baby bat on a tree trunk. It was almost at eye level. It must have fallen off and seemed to be calling out anxiously.
I had never seen a bat so close, so I quickly went back to fetch my camera gear, while Ujwala stood guard. I could only hope that it would still be there when I returned …. and it was, giving me this wonderful opportunity to shoot a bat so close.
We have absolutely no clue as to what happened to it afterwords … ”
“ It was drizzling and very cold on our way to Hemkund Saheb, in Uttaranchal. We managed a visit to this holy place, up in the hills as much as for the ‘darshan’ of the Hemkund Saheb ( a holy place for the Sikhs ) as it was for the sighting of the Blue Poppy and the Brahma Kamal.
After a symbolic dip (… I barely managed to dip my hand ! ) in the freezing waters of the Kund ( a pond or a lake ) as we began our descent to our base, I sighted this furtive creature as it moved about to feed. The foggy conditions, the light drizzle, the strong breeze and hardly any light, made this a very challenging shot. But this Pika decided to oblige, as it nibbled on a leaf and I could get an image of this very elusive creature of such a high terrain.”
The name pika is used for any member of the Ochotonidae, a family within the order of lagomorphs, which also includes the Leporidae ( rabbits and hares )
It is a small mammal, with short limbs, rounded ears and no external tail. They are herbivores.
Pikas are native to cold climates, mostly in Asia,North America and parts of Eastern Europe. Most species live on rocky mountain sides, where there are numerous crevices to shelter in, although some also construct crude burrows.
Scientific Name : Calotes versicolor
Local Name (Marathi ) : Sarada
“ We were on a visit to Lonavala, a small hill station on the Mumbai Pune track. A sudden movement in the bush caught my eye, to reveal this Garden Lizard, looking around. It quickly got on to this moss covered wall and it kept a weary but watchful eye on me, as my lens followed it.
The dark wall and the blue backdrop of the sky and the pose of the Lizard come together to make a nice image.
Lizards are such fascinating creatures … it speaks of history ! There is something about reptiles which immediately transports you to the days and the age of the ‘dinos’ ! … perhaps it is their scaly bodies, the rows of dorsal spines, their mouths, their movements … it is difficult to say. But they have evolved over thousands of years in to their present form and now a common site across the urban, rural settings and in the wild as well !”
The Oriental Garden Lizard, the Eastern Garden Lizard, Crested Tree Lizard or the Changeable Lizard is an insectivore member of the Agamidae Family and widely distributed through out Asia. It has also been introduced in various other parts of the world.
Changeable Lizards are related to iguanas (which are found only in theNew World) Unlike other lizards, they do not drop their tails (autotomy) and their tails can be very long, stiff and pointy. Like other reptiles, they shed their skins. Like chameleons, Changeable Lizards can move each of their eyes in different directions. Both males and females have a crest from the head to nearly the tail.
During the breeding season, the male's head and shoulders turns bright orange to crimson and his throat black. Males also turn red-headed after a successful battle with rivals. This probably explains their other gruesome name of ‘Bloodsucker Lizard’, although they don't actually suck anybody's blood.
Canon EOS 50 D with Canon EF 100 – 400 L IS USM
ISO 400, f 9, 1/640, @ 190 mm
Scientific Name : Equus hemionus khur
Status : Endangered ( IUCN )
Little Rann Of Kutch,Gujrat,India
We saw these handsome animals for the first time when we visited the Little Rann of Kutch. These desert areas are a unique eco system and a home to a large number of animals and birds. Exploring the Rann was a fantastic experience.
We found them to be shy and ever so watchful and this group seemed to follow all our movements. I loved this particular image, where in all the three appear in almost an identical posture … as if clones !
Little Rann of Kutch and to a certain extent the Great Rann of Kutch in Gujarat is the last refuge of the Wild Ass in India. However, of late it is noticed to be extending its range outside these territories into neighbouring areas of Rajasthan as well. Saline deserts (rann), arid grasslands and shrublands are its preferred environments.
Scientific Name : Gazella bennettii
We found these Chinkaras, outside Ahmadnagar,Maharashtra. The sun was getting low and the entire grasslands were getting that soft golden light, just before sun set … but the light was fading fast !
We were quite excited with the sighting. The Chinkaras seemed to measure us up … that is when I got this image and then they proceeded in a group to a nearby watering spot.
I loved their alert faces, their intent gaze, the magic of the setting sun on the terrain …
Do read this story, ‘Ahmadnagar – some hidden treasures !’ on www.TheUntamedEarth.com here,
The chinkara is a small antelope, most standing about 1 m high at the shoulder and generally fawn coloured. Commonly known as the Indian Gazelle, it is a species of gazelle normally found in southern Asia.
They are swift animals. Gazelles, as a group, are mostly found in the deserts, grasslands, and savannas of Africa, but they are also found in southwest and central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. They tend to live in herds and will eat less coarse, easily digestible plants and leaves.
It is a shy animal and avoids human habitation. It can go without water for long periods and can get sufficient fluids from plants and dew. Although most are seen alone, they can sometimes be spotted in groups of up to four animals.
Leopards, dholes, wolves and jackals are their predators.
Malabar Giant Squirrel
Scientific Name : Ratufa indica
Local name (Marathi) : Shekhru
“Our first sighting of this cute, cuddly looking squirrel was at Bhimashankar in Maharashtra. And it was love at first sight ! Whether it was its long bushy tail, its shiny coat, that cute face, its demeanour or sheer agility . .. it is difficult to say !
It is a very shy animal and prefers the high canopy of deciduous, mixed deciduous and moist evergreen forests and needs tall, profusely branched trees for its nests.. It is a diurnal, arboreal and herbivorus squirrel.
After that we saw it in Matheran, a hill station near Mumbai. And very recently on my outing in Kokan belt in Maharashtra, near Goa. But this lovely portrait is from our recent outing to Periyar in Kerala. In this part of India, their coats seem to be darker. It was a pleasant surprise to see it so low down and almost posing for me, as it chomped on those leaves.
The Malabar Giant Squirrel or the Shekhru is also the State Animal and pride of Maharashtra."
Scietific Name : Panthera pardus
Leopard is smallest of the four big cats, the other three being the tiger, lion and the jaguar.
Because of its declining range and population , it is listed as a “ Near Threatened “ species on the IUCN Red List.
The species in the wild has survived in part due to its opportunistic hunting behavior, its adaptability to habitats, its ability to run at speeds approaching 58 kilometres per hour (36 mph), its unequaled ability to climb trees even when carrying a heavy carcass, and its notorious ability for stealth. The leopard consumes virtually any animal that it can hunt down and catch. They are powerful swimmers, although not as strong as some other big cats, such as the tiger. They are very agile,
Its habitat ranges from rainforest to desert terrains
Depending on the region, leopards may mate all year round. Females give birth in a cave, crevice among boulders, hollow tree, or thicket to make a den. Cubs are born with closed eyes, which open four to nine days after birth.The fur of the young tends to be longer and thicker than that of adults.
Shot in Bandipur National Park, Karnataka, India.
Also called the Asiatic wild dog or Indian wild dog
Scientific Name : Cuon alpinus
The Dhole is a species of canid native to South and Southeast Asia.
The dholes are classed as endangered, due to ongoing habitat loss, depletion of its prey base, competition from other predators, persecution and possibly diseases from domestic and feral dogs.
The dhole is a highly social animal, living in large clans which occasionally split up into small packs to hunt.
It primarily preys on medium-sized ungulates ( hoofed animals ), which it hunts by tiring them out in long chases, and kills by disemboweling them. Unlike most social canids (but similar to African wild dogs), dholes let their pups eat first at a kill.
Though fearful of humans, dhole packs are bold enough to attack large and dangerous animals such as wild boar, water buffalo and even tigers
Shot in the Kanha Reserve, Madhya Pradesh - India
SCIENTIFIC NAME : Axis axis
The name comes from the word “ Chitra” which means spotted.
The chital's coat is pinkish fawn, marked with white spots, and its underparts are also white. Its antlers, which it sheds annually, are usually three-pronged.
Chital are primarily grazers and feed on short, sprouting grasses. Axis deer most commonly occur in herds of ten to fifty individuals of both sexes. Large dominant stags without velvet stay in the center of the herd and are surrounded by the females and their young.
The spotted deer is found in large numbers in dense deciduous or semi-evergreen forests and open grasslands. The highest numbers of Chital are found in theforestofIndiawhere they feed upon tall grass and shrubs.
Shot at Knaha National Park, Madhya Pradesh.
Scientific Name ; Rucervus duvaucelii .
Barasingha is also called Swamp deer
It is a large deer species currently found in isolated localities in north and central India.
The most striking feature of a barasingha is its antlers, with 10 to 14 tines on a mature stag, though some have been known to have up to 20, The name is derived from this characteristic and means "12-tined or horned" in Hindi
In centralIndia, the herds comprise on average about 8-20 individuals, with large herds of up to 60. There are twice as many females than males.
During the rut they form large herds of adults. The breeding season lasts from September to April, and births occur after a gestation of 240-250 days in August to November.
They feed in the mornings and in the evenings. They feed on grass in the grasslands and they are also eating grass from the bed of wet swamps. They are less nocturnal than the Sambar deer. When alarmed they give out a shrill baying alarm call.
This is a female with a soft golden brown coat .
Shot at KanhaNational Park,MadhyaPradesh,India.