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About Anamalai Tiger Reserve

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The Anamalai Tiger Reserve has a long management history since 1848. It is the erstwhile Coimbatore South Forest division, which was a model forest division for the Madras State. Till 1879 Anamalais was one range under the charge of Sub-Assistant Conservator.

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Anamalai Tiger Reserve is carved out of the Tamil Nadu portion of the Anamalais. The Tamil Nadu part of the reserve is called as Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR). It lies South of the Palakkad gap in the Southern Western Ghats. Geographically it is located between the longitudes 76° and 77° E and latitudes 10° and 10° N. The Anamalai Tiger Reserve falls within the Western Ghats mountain chain of South West India, a region designated as one of 25 Global Biodiversity Hotspots. The biogeographical classification of the country includes Western Ghats which are considered as one of eight “hottest hot spots”. The Tiger Reserve falls in four revenue taluks namely; Pollachi, and Valparai of Coimbatore district and Udumalpet of Tiruppur District and Kodaikanal taluk in Dindigul district in the State of Tamilnadu. The official headquarters of Anamalai Tiger Reserve is at Pollachi. Administratively, it falls under the Tamilnadu Forest Department.

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The Statement of Significance

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The Anamalai Tiger Reserve possesses diverse fauna and flora, well representative of the region. The Tiger Reserve supports diverse habitat types viz. Wet evergreen forests, semi evergreen forests, moist deciduous, dry deciduous, dry thorn and shola forests. Other unique habitats like montane grass lands, savannah and marshy grass lands are also present. Considerable extent of man-made teak plantations, exotics like eucalyptus, wattle, pines and deep fresh water ecosystem created by the construction of Parambikulam Aliyar Project dams etc, add to the diversity of the place.

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The endemism of the vegetation is very rich in the Tiger Reserve. There is a long list of red, endangered and threatened species of plants (≥ 39) distributed and well protected in the Tiger Reserve, The diversity of bamboos, canes, reeds, palms is also unique and interesting. Rich diversity of ferns including tree ferns with endemic elements is noticed.

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The Tiger Reserve supports healthy population of several endangered wild animals (Fishes ≥ 70 species, Amphibians ≥ 70 species, Reptiles ≥ 120 species, Birds ≥ 300 species, Mammals >= 80 species. The presence of more than 25 tigers underscores the healthiness of this eco system.

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Anaimalais is worth to be designated as ‘Anthropological Reserve’ as it supports 6 indigenous people viz. Malasar, Malai malasars, Kadars, Eravallars, Pulayars and Muduvars. This is very unique in the entire Tamil Nadu and probably the only Tiger Reserve with diverse groups of indigenous people.

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The Parambikulam – Aliyar Project and Amaravathy dam housed in the Anaimalais, play a vital role in the regional economy by providing water and power. The agricultural prosperity of the plains in Pollachi, Udumalpet and hilly taluk of Valparai, adjoining areas in Erode district, depends very much on this Tiger Reserve.

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The total area of the Tiger Reserve is 958.59 sq.km. The Tiger Reserves holds a large number of population of endangered species of fauna and flora. The Tiger Reserves supports diverse habitat types. The floral diversity of the Tiger Reserve is extraordinary.

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Anamalais, a bio-diversity hotspot in western ghats is a home for six different indigenous people and is fit to be designated as an anthropological reserve.

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Malai Malasars are a primitive tribal group endemic to Anamalais alone.

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Wildlife you may encouter in Valparai and Anamalai Tiger Reserve

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The Indian Elephant

Indian Elephant, Wildlife of Valparai, Anamalai Tiger Reserve

The Indian elephant (Elephas maximus indicus) is one of three recognized subspecies of the Asian elephant and native to mainland Asia. Since 1986, Elephas maximus has been listed as Endangered by IUCN as the population has declined by at least 50% over the last 60 to 75 years or three generations. Asian elephants are threatened by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation.

In general, Asian elephants are smaller than African elephants and have the highest body point on the head. The tip of their trunk has one finger-like process. Their back is convex or level. Indian elephants reach a shoulder height of between 2 and 3.5 m (6.6 and 11.5 ft), weigh between 2,000 and 5,000 kg (4,400 and 11,000 lb), and have 19 pairs of ribs. Their skin color is lighter than of maximus with smaller patches of depigmentation, but darker than of sumatranus. Females are usually smaller than males, and have short or no tusks.

The largest Indian elephant was 3.43 metres (11.3 ft) high at the shoulder. In 1985, two large elephant bulls were spotted for the first time in Bardia National Park, and named Raja Gaj and Kanchha. They roamed the park area together and made occasional visits to the females. Raja Gaj stood 11.3 ft (3.4 m) tall at the shoulder and had a massive body weight. His appearance has been compared to that of a mammoth due to his high bi-domed shaped head. His forehead and domes were more prominent than in other Asian bull elephants.

Indian elephants have smaller ears, but relatively broader skulls and larger trunks than African elephants. Toes are large and broad. Unlike their African cousins, their abdomen is proportionate with their body weight but the African elephant has a large abdomen as compared to the skulls.

The Lion - Tailed Macaque

Lion - Tailed Macque, Wildlife of Valparai, Anamalai Tiger Reserve

The lion-tailed macaque, or the wanderoo, is an Old World monkey endemic to the Western Ghats of South India.

The hair of the lion-tailed macaque is black. Its outstanding characteristic is the silver-white mane which surrounds the head from the cheeks down to its chin, which gives this monkey its German name Bartaffe - "beard ape". The hairless face is black in colour. With a head-body length of 42 to 61 cm and a weight of 2 to 10 kg, it ranks among the smaller macaques. The tail is medium in length at about 25 cm, and has a black tuft at the end that is similar to a lion's tail, although this tuft is more pronounced in males than in females.

Gestation is approximately six months. The young are nursed for one year. Sexual maturity is reached at four years for females, and six years for males. The life expectancy in the wild is approximately 20 years, while in captivity is up to 30 years.

The lion-tailed macaque is a diurnal rainforest dweller. It is a good climber and spends a majority of its life in the upper canopy of tropical moist evergreen forests. Unlike other macaques, it avoids humans. In group behavior, it is much like other macaques; it lives in hierarchical groups of usually 10 to 20 animals, which consist of few males and many females. It is a territorial animal, defending its area first with loud cries towards the invading troops. If this proves to be fruitless, it brawls aggressively.

Lion-tailed macaque behaviour is characterized by typical patterns such as arboreal living, selectively feeding on a large variety of fruit trees, large interindividual spaces while foraging, and time budgets with high proportion of time devoted to exploration and feeding. It primarily eats indigenous fruits, leaves, buds, insects and small vertebrates in virgin forest, but can adapt to rapid environmental change in areas of massive selective logging through behavioural modifications and broadening of food choices to include fruits, seeds, shoots, pith, flowers, cones, mesocarp, and other parts of many nonindigenous and pioneer plants. In the forests of Kerala they were observed preying on nestling and eggs of pigeons.

Malabar Giant Squirrel

Malabar Giant Squirrel, Wildlife of Valparai, Anamalai Tiger Reserve

The Indian giant squirrel, or Malabar giant squirrel, (Ratufa indica) is a large tree squirrel species genus Ratufa native to India. It is a large-bodied diurnal, arboreal, and mainly herbivorous squirrel found in South Asia.

Malabar Giant Squirrel has a conspicuous two-toned (and sometimes three-toned) color scheme. The colors involved can be creamy-beige, buff, tan, rust, brown, or even a dark seal brown. The underparts and the front legs are usually cream colored, the head can be brown or beige, however there is a distinctive white spot between the ears. Adult head and body length varies around 36 cm and the tail length is approximately 2 ft. Adult weight - 2 kg

The Malabar Giant Squirrel is an upper-canopy dwelling species, which rarely leaves the trees, and requires "tall profusely branched trees for the construction of nests." It travels from tree to tree with jumps of up to 20 Feet. When in danger, the often freezes or flattens itself against the tree trunk, instead of fleeing. Its main predators are the birds of prey and the leopard. The Giant Squirrel is mostly active in the early hours of the morning and in the evening, resting in the midday. They are typically solitary animals that only come together for breeding. The species is believed to play a substantial role in shaping the ecosystem of its habitat by engaging in seed dispersal. Diet includes fruit, flowers, nuts and tree bark. Some subspecies are omnivorous, also eating insects and bird eggs.

The Malabar Giant Squirrel lives alone or in pairs. They build large globular nests of twigs and leaves, placing them on thinner branches where large predators can't get to them. These nests become conspicuous in deciduous forests during the dry season. An individual may build several nests in a small area of forest which are used as sleeping quarters, with one being used as a nursery.

Captive breeding of the Malabar Giant Squirrel, a close relative has indicated births in March, April, September and December. The young weigh 74.5 g at birth and have a length of 27.3 cm. In Canara, the Malabar Giant Squirrel has been spotted with young in March

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Leopard

Leopard, Wildlife of Valparai, Anamalai Tiger Reserve

The leopard subspecies widely distributed on the Indian subcontinent. The species Panthera pardus is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because populations have declined following habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching for the illegal trade of skins and body parts, and persecution due to conflict situations.

The Indian leopard is one of the big cats occurring on the Indian subcontinent, apart from the Asiatic lion, Bengal tiger, snow leopard and clouded leopard.

In 2014, a national census of leopards around tiger habitats was carried out in India except the northeast. 7,910 individuals were estimated in surveyed areas and a national total of 12,000-14,000 speculated.

In 1794, Friedrich Albrecht Anton Meyer wrote the first description of Felis fusca, in which he gave account of a panther-like cat from Bengal of about 85.5 cm, with strong legs and a long well-formed tail, head as big as a panther’s, broad muzzle, short ears and small, yellowish grey eyes, light grey ocular bulbs; black at first sight, but on closer examination dark brown with circular darker coloured spots, tinged pale red underneath. Male Indian leopards grow to between 127 cm and 142 cm in body size with a 76 cm to 91 cm long tail and weigh between 50 and 77 kg. Females are smaller, growing to between 104 cm and 117 cm in body size with a 76 cm to 87.6 cm long tail, and weigh between 29 and 34 kg. Sexually dimorphic, males are larger and heavier than females.

The coat is spotted and rosetted on pale yellow to yellowish brown or golden background, except for the melanistic forms; spots fade toward the white underbelly and the insides and lower parts of the legs. Rosettes are most prominent on the back, flanks and hindquarters. The pattern of the rosettes is unique to each individual. Juveniles have woolly fur, and appear dark due to the densely arranged spots. The white-tipped tail is 60–100 centimetres long, white underneath, and displays rosettes except toward the end, where the spots form incomplete bands. The rosettes are larger in Asian populations and their yellow coat tends to be more pale and cream coloured in desert populations, more gray in colder climates, and of a darker golden hue in rainforest habitats.

The clouded leopard can be told apart by its diffuse "clouds" of spots compared to the smaller and distinct rosettes of the leopard, longer legs and thinner tail.

Sambar Deer

Sambar Deer, Wildlife of Valparai, Anamalai Tiger Reserve

The sambar deer is a large deer native to the Indian subcontinent, southern China, and Southeast Asia that is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 2008. Populations have declined substantially due to severe hunting, insurgency, and industrial exploitation of habitat.

The name "sambar" is also sometimes used to refer to the Philippine deer, called the "Philippine sambar" and the Javan rusa, called the "Sunda sambar".

The appearance and the size of sambar vary widely across their range, which has led to considerable taxonomic confusion in the past; over 40 different scientific synonyms have been used for the species. In general, they attain a height of 102 to 160 cm (40 to 63 in) at the shoulder and may weigh as much as 546 kg (1,204 lb), though more typically 100 to 350 kg (220 to 770 lb). Head and body length varies from 1.62 to 2.7 m (5.3 to 8.9 ft), with a 22 to 35 cm (8.7 to 13.8 in) tail. Individuals belonging to western subspecies tend to be larger than those from the east, and females are smaller than males. Among all living cervid species, only the moose and the elk can attain larger sizes.

The large, rugged antlers are typically rusine, the brow tines being simple and the beams forked at the tip, so they have only three tines. The antlers are typically up to 110 cm (43 in) long in fully adult individuals. As with most deer, only the males have antlers.

The shaggy coat can be from yellowish brown to dark grey in colour, and while it is usually uniform in colour, some subspecies have chestnut marks on the rump and underparts. Sambar also have a small but dense mane, which tends to be more prominent in males. The tail is relatively long for deer, and is generally black above with a whitish underside.

Adult males and pregnant or lactating females possess an unusual hairless, blood-red spot located about halfway down the underside of their throats. This sometimes oozes a white liquid, and is apparently glandular in nature.

Sloth Bear

Sloth Bear, Wildlife of Valparai, Anamalai Tiger Reserve

The sloth bear also known as the labiated bear, is an insectivorous bear species native to the Indian subcontinent. The sloth bear evolved from ancestral brown bears during the Pleistocene and shares features found in insect-eating mammals through convergent evolution. The population isolated in Sri Lanka is considered a subspecies. Compared to brown and black bears, sloth bears have lankier builds, long, shaggy coats that form a mane around the face (similar to that of a lion), long, sickle-shaped claws, and a specially adapted lower lip and palate used for sucking insects. Sloth bears breed during spring and early summer and give birth near the beginning of winter. They feed on termites, honeybee colonies, and fruits. Sloth bears sometimes attack humans who encroach on their territories. Historically, humans have drastically reduced their habitat and diminished their population by hunting them for food and products such as their bacula and claws. These bears have been used as performing pets due to their tameable nature. The sloth bear is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN due to habitat loss and poaching.

Initially thinking it to be related to the South American sloths, Shaw and Nodder in 1791 called the species Bradypus ursinus, noting that it was bear-like, but giving weight to the long claws and the absence of upper middle incisors. Meyer (1793) identified it as a bear and called it Melursus lybius, and in 1817, de Blainville called it Ursus labiatus because of the long lips. Iliger called it Prochilus hirsutus, the Greek genus name indicating long lips, while the specific name noted its long and coarse hair. Fischer called it Chondrorhynchus hirsutus, while Tiedemann called it Ursus longirostris.

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Asiatic wild dog

Asiatic wild dog , Wildlife of Valparai, Anamalai Tiger Reserve

The Asiatic wild dog (Dhole) is a canid native to Central, South and Southeast Asia. Other English names for the species include Asiatic wild dog, Indian wild dog, whistling dog, red dog, and mountain wolf. It is genetically close to species within the genus Canis, though its skull is convex rather than concave in profile, it lacks a third lower molar and the upper molars sport only a single cusp as opposed to two to four. During the Pleistocene, the dhole ranged throughout Asia, Europe and North America but became restricted to its historical range 12,000–18,000 years ago.

The dhole is a highly social animal, living in large clans without rigid dominance hierarchies and containing multiple breeding females. Such clans usually consist of 12 individuals, but groups of over 40 are known. It is a diurnal pack hunter which preferentially targets medium and large sized ungulates. In tropical forests, the dhole competes with tigers and leopards, targeting somewhat different prey species, but still with substantial dietary overlap.

It is listed as Endangered by the IUCN as populations are decreasing and are estimated at fewer than 2,500 adults. Factors contributing to this decline include habitat loss, loss of prey, competition with other species, persecution due to livestock predation and disease transfer from domestic dogs.

The etymology of "dhole" is unclear. The possible earliest written use of the word in English occurred in 1808 by soldier Thomas Williamson, who encountered the animal in Ramghur district. He stated that dhole was a common local name for the species. In 1827, Charles Hamilton Smith claimed that it was derived from a language spoken in 'various parts of the East'. Two years later, Smith connected this word with Turkish: deli ‘mad, crazy’, and erroneously compared the Turkish word with Old Saxon: dol and Dutch: dol (cfr. also English: dull; German: toll), which are in fact from the Proto-Germanic *dwalaz ‘foolish, stupid’. Richard Lydekker wrote nearly 80 years later that the word was not used by the natives living within the species' range. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary theorises that it may have come from the Kannada: tōḷa (‘wolf’).

Nilgiri Tahr

Nilgiri Tahr, Wildlife of Valparai, Anamalai Tiger Reserve

Nilgiri Tahr in the Tamil language it is called varaiaadu (வரையாடு), is a stocky goat with short, coarse fur and a bristly mane. Males are larger than females and of darker color when mature. Both sexes have curved horns, reaching up to 40 centimetres (16 in) for males and 30 centimetres (12 in) for females. Adult males weigh 80 to 100 kilograms (180 to 220 lb) and stand about 100 centimetres (39 in) tall at the shoulder. Adult males develop a light grey area on their backs and are thus called "saddlebacks".

The Nilgiri tahr inhabits the open montane grassland habitat of the South Western Ghats montane rain forests ecoregion. At elevations from 1,200 to 2,600 metres (3,900 to 8,500 ft), the forests open into grasslands interspersed with pockets of stunted forests, locally known as sholas. These grassland habitats are surrounded by dense forests at the lower elevations. The Nilgiri tahrs formerly ranged over these grasslands in large herds, before but hunting and poaching in the nineteenth century reduced their population.

Indian Gaur

Indian Bison, Wildlife of Valparai, Anamalai Tiger Reserve

The Indian bison also called as Gaur, is the largest extant bovine, native to the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. It has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1986. Population decline in parts of its range is likely to be more than 70% during the last three generations. However, population trends are stable in well-protected areas, and are rebuilding in a few areas which previously had been neglected.

The gaur is the tallest of wild cattle species.

The gaur is a strong and massively built species with a high convex ridge on the forehead between the horns, which bends forward, causing a deep hollow in the profile of the upper part of the head. There is a prominent ridge on the back. The ears are very large; the tail only just reaches the hocks, and in old bulls the hair becomes very thin on the back. In colour, the adult male gaur is dark brown, approaching black in very old individuals; the upper part of the head, from above the eyes to the nape of the neck, is, however, ashy grey, or occasionally dirty white; the muzzle is pale coloured, and the lower part of the legs are pure white or tan. The cows and young bulls are paler, and in some instances have a rufous tinge, which is most marked in groups inhabiting dry and open districts. The tail is shorter than in the typical oxen, reaching only to the hocks. They have a distinct ridge running from the shoulders to the middle of the back; the shoulders may be as much as 12 cm (4.7 in) higher than the rump. This ridge is caused by the great length of the spinous processes of the vertebrae of the fore-part of the trunk as compared with those of the loins. The hair is short, fine and glossy, and the hooves are narrow and pointed.

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Barking Deer (or) Muntjacs

 Barking Deer (or) Muntjacs , Wildlife of Valparai, Anamalai Tiger Reserve

Muntjacs, also known as barking deer and Mastreani deer, are small deer of the genus Muntiacus. Muntjacs are the eldest deer, thought to have begun appearing 15–35 million years ago, with remains found in Miocene deposits in France, Germany and Poland.

The present-day species are native to South Asia and can be found in India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, the Indonesian islands, Taiwan and Southern China. They are also found in the lower Himalayas (Terai regions of Nepal and Bhutan) and in some areas of Japan (the Boso Peninsula and Ōshima Island). They have been introduced to England.

A large feral population of barking deer exists in England. Reeves's muntjac has been introduced to England, with wild deer descended from escapees from the Woburn Abbey estate around 1925. Muntjac have expanded very rapidly, and are now present in most English counties and have also expanded their range into Wales, although they are less common in the north-west. The British Deer Society coordinated a survey of wild deer in the UK between 2005 and 2007, and they reported that muntjac deer had noticeably expanded their range since the previous census in 2000. It is anticipated that muntjac may soon become the most numerous species of deer in England and may have also crossed the border into Scotland with a couple of specimens even appearing in Northern Ireland in 2009; they have been spotted in the Republic of Ireland in 2010, almost certainly having reached there with some human assistance.

Inhabiting tropical regions, the deer have no seasonal rut, and mating can take place at any time of year; this behaviour is retained by populations introduced to temperate countries. Males have short antlers, which can regrow, but they tend to fight for territory with their "tusks" (downward-pointing canine teeth). The presence of these "tusks" is otherwise unknown in native British wild deer and can be discriminatory when trying to differentiate a muntjac from an immature native deer, although water deer also have visible tusks; however, they are much less widespread.

Muntjac are of great interest in evolutionary studies because of their dramatic chromosome variations and the recent discovery of several new species. The Indian muntjac (M. muntjak) is the mammal with the lowest recorded chromosome number: The male has a diploid number of 7, the female only 6 chromosomes. Reeves's muntjac (M. reevesi), in comparison, has a diploid number of 46 chromosomes.

Indian pangolin

Indian pangolin, Wildlife of Valparai, Anamalai Tiger Reserve

The Indian pangolin, thick-tailed pangolin, or scaly anteater (Manis crassicaudata) is a pangolin found in the plains and hills of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan. It is not common anywhere in its range. Like other pangolins, it has large, overlapping scales on its body which act as armour. It can also curl itself into a ball as self-defence against predators such as the tiger. The colour of its scales varies depending on the colour of the earth in its surroundings.

It is an insectivore, feeding on ants and termites, digging them out of mounds and logs using its long claws, which are as long as its fore limbs. It is nocturnal and rests in deep burrows during the day.

The Indian pangolin is threatened by hunting for its meat and for various body parts used in traditional medicine.

The Indian pangolin is a solitary, shy, slow-moving, nocturnal mammal. It is about 84–122 centimetres long from head to tail, the tail usually being 33–47 cm long, and weighs 10–16 kg. Females are generally smaller than the males and have one pair of mammae. The pangolin possesses a cone-shaped head with small, dark eyes, and a long muzzle with a nose pad similar in color, or darker than, its pinkish-brown skin. It has powerful limbs, tipped with sharp, clawed digits. It is an almost exclusive insectivore and principally subsists on ants and termites, which it catches with a specially adapted long, sticky tongue. The pangolin has no teeth, but has strong stomach muscles to aid in digestion. The most noticeable characteristic of the pangolin is its massive, scaled armour, which covers its upper face and its whole body with the exception of the belly and the inside of the legs. These protective scales are rigid and made of keratin. It has 160-200 scales in total, about 40-46% of which are located on the tail. Scales can be 6.5–7 cm long, 8.5 cm wide, and weigh 7-10 grams. The skin and scales make up about one-fourth to one-third of the total body mass of this species. The Indian pangolin has been recorded from various forest types, including Sri Lankan rainforest and plains to middle hill levels. The animal can be found in grasslands and secondary forests, and is well adapted to desert regions as it is believed to have a tolerance to dry areas, but prefers more barren, hilly regions. It is distributed throughout India, Pakistan, and South Asia, occurring in Sialkot, Jehlum, Gujrat, districts northwest of Punjab, Kohat, Attock, Khyber, Sidh, and Baluchistan. This pangolin species may also sometimes reach high elevations, and has been sighted in Sri Lanka at 1100 meters and in the Nilgiri mountains in India at 2300 meters. It prefers soft and semi-sandy soil conditions suitable for digging burrows.

Pangolin burrows fall into one of two categories: feeding and living burrows. Feeding burrows are smaller than living burrows (though their sizes vary depending on the abundance of prey) and are created more frequently during the spring, when there is a greater availability of prey. Living burrows are wider, deeper, and more circular, and are occupied for a longer time than feeding burrows, as they are mainly used to sleep and rest during the day. After a few months, the pangolin abandons the burrow and digs a new one close to a food source. However, it is not uncommon for the pangolin to shift back to an old burrow.

Unlike its African counterpart, the Indian pangolin does not climb trees, but it does value the presence of trees, herbs, and shrubs in its habitat because it is easier to dig burrows around them. Features that promote an abundance of ants and termites (grasses, bare grounds, bases of trees, shrubs, roots, leaf litter, fallen logs and elephant feces) are often present in pangolin habitats.

Smooth-coated otter

Smooth-coated otter, Wildlife of Valparai, Anamalai Tiger Reserve

The smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) is a species of otter, the only extant representative of the genus Lutrogale. The species is found in most of the Indian subcontinent and eastwards to Southeast Asia, with a disjunct population in Iraq. As its name indicates, the fur of this species is smoother and shorter than that of other otter species.

Smooth-coated otters are relatively large for otters, from 7 to 11 kg in weight and 59 to 64 cm in head-body length, with a tail 37 to 43 cm long. They may be distinguished from other species of otters by a more rounded head and a hairless nose in the shape of a distorted diamond. The tail is flattened, in contrast to the more rounded tails of other species. The legs are short and strong, with large webbed feet bearing strong claws. As their name suggests, they have unusually short and sleek fur; this is dark to reddish brown along the back, while the underside is light brown to almost grey in color. Females have two pairs of teats.

The smooth-coated otter has been recorded in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, southwest China, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesian islands of Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Brunei. An isolated population is also found in the marshes of Iraq.

It occurs in areas where fresh water is plentiful — wetlands and seasonal swamps, rivers, lakes, and rice paddies. Where only otter species occurs, the smooth-coated otter lives in almost any suitable habitat, but where it is sympatric with other otter species, it avoids smaller streams and canals in favour of larger water bodies. Although it is often found in saltwater near the coast, especially on smaller islands, it requires a nearby source of fresh water.

Smooth-coated otters are social and hunt in groups. They are mainly diurnal, and have a short lull in activity during midday.

They spend the night in dens dug in dense vegetation, under tree roots, or among boulders. They use scent to communicate both within the otter species, and with other animals. Each otter possesses a pair of scent glands at the base of the tail which are used to mark land or objects, such as rocks or vegetation, near feeding areas in a behavior called sprainting. They also communicate through vocalisations such as whistles, chirps, and wails.

Some may construct permanent holts near water, in a layout similar to that of a beaver dam, with an underwater entrance and a tunnel that leads to a nest above the water.

Fish comprise over 70% of their diet, but they also eat reptiles, frogs, insects, crustaceans, and small mammals Especially in areas where other species of otter are also found, they prefer larger fish, typically between 5 and 30 cm in length. They sometimes hunt in groups of up to 11 individuals.

In the Kuala Selangor Nature Park, an otter group was observed hunting. They formed an undulating, slightly V-shaped line, pointing in the direction of movement and nearly as wide as the creek. The largest individuals occupied the middle section. In this formation, they undulated wildly through the creek, causing panic‑stricken fish to jump out of the water a few metres ahead. They suddenly dived and grasped the fish with their snouts. Then they moved ashore, tossed the fish up a little on the muddy part of the bank, and swallowed it head‑first in one piece.

A group of otters can have a feeding range of 7 to 12 km2. A single adult consumes about 1 kg of food per day in captivity.

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Indian brown mongoose

Indian brown mongoose, Wildlife of Valparai, Anamalai Tiger Reserve

The Indian brown mongoose (Herpestes fuscus) looks similar to the short-tailed mongoose from Southeast Asia and is sometimes believed to be only a subspecies of this latter. The Indian brown mongoose is found in southwest India and Sri Lanka.

The Indian brown mongoose appears large compared to the other mongoose species in southern Western Ghats. This species has a dark brown body and its legs are noticeably in black colour. The tail length is two third of its body length and more furry than that of the small Indian mongoose. A pointed tail and fur beneath the hind leg help to distinguish this species from others.

In South India, it is found from 700 to 1,300 m from Virajpet in south Coorg and Ooty in the Nilgiri hills, Tiger Shola in the Palni hills, High Wavy Mountains in Madurai, Kalakad-Mundanthurai in Agasthyamalai hills, Valparai plateau in the Anamalai hills, and Peeramedu in Kerala.

Malabar spiny dormouse

Malabar spiny dormouse, Wildlife of Valparai, Anamalai Tiger Reserve

The Malabar spiny dormouse (Platacanthomys lasiurus) is a species of muroid rodent endemic to the Western Ghats of India. It is the only extant species in the genus Platacanthomys and although resembling a dormouse, it is not closely related. About the size of a brown rat, this arboreal species lives in tree holes in dense forest habitats in a small family group. They are distinguishable from other species in the area by their bushy tuft tip to the tail and the spiny fur on the back.

This rodent is about 5 in long with a 4-in tail. The ears are large and pointed at the tip. The whiskers are numerous and some are very long. The hairy tail is covered with longer hairs towards the end, making the tail wider at the tip. The hairs arise on the sides towards the base of the tail (an arrangement termed as "subdistichous") giving the tail a slightly flattened appearance. The pollux ("thumb") and hallux ("big toe") are without claws. The skull is broad and flat above and the infraorbital foramen is large. They are brownish above and whitish below with a distinct border. The feet are whitish. The tip of the tail is sometimes whitish, but is otherwise like the colour of the back.[2] The fur on the back has scattered broad and flat spiny hairs with white tips. Finer spines are also found on the fur of the underside.

The species is found only in the denser forest regions of the Western Ghats and the Nilgiri hills. They are found in altitudes up to 2000 m (such as at Ootacamund and Coonoor) and are found at very low densities. The northernmost record is from Sagar in Shimoga district of Karnataka. Records are few and scattered and published records are from Aralam, Coorg, Peppara and Karianshola.

The species was however considered to be common when it was first discovered by Reverend H. Baker (from Mundakyam, Allepey). He obtained the first specimens for Edward Blyth and noted that they lived in hole nests in large trees and that they were considered a minor pest of fruit trees and in cardamom and pepper plantations.

The species is nocturnal and is largely frugivorous. A specimen in captivity fed voraciously on a diet of fruits. When sleeping, it curls its body, hedgehog-like, with its tail protruding. The species is believed to feed on pepper in plantations, but trapping surveys suggest they are mainly restricted to undisturbed forest habitats.

Four young have been noted in one litter.

Nilgiri langur

Nilgiri langur, Wildlife of Valparai, Anamalai Tiger Reserve

The Nilgiri langur (Trachypithecus johnii) is a lutung (a type of Old World monkey) found in the Nilgiri Hills of the Western Ghats in South India. Its range also includes Kodagu in Karnataka, Kodayar Hills in Tamil Nadu, and many other hilly areas in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This primate has glossy black fur on its body and golden brown fur on its head. It is similar in size and long-tailed like the gray langurs. Females have a white patch of fur on the inner thigh. It typically lives in troops of nine to ten monkeys. Its diet consists of fruits, shoots and leaves. The species is classified as vulnerable due to habitat destruction and poaching for its fur and flesh, the latter believed to have aphrodisiac properties.

The head-plus-body length is 78–80 cm in adult males and 58–60 cm in adult females, with the tail adding between 68.5 and 96.5 cm. The males weigh 9.1-14.8 kg, the females 10.9–12 kg. The gestation period is not precisely known but assumed to be similar to the closely related Hanuman Langur, i.e. 200 days.