Wildlife in India – Wildlife species information and facts

by Mar 7, 2020

Wildlife in India

India is the land of National Parks, Tiger Reserves and Wildlife Sanctuaries. India is very rich in its wildlife. Collectively India has 870 Protected Areas, Including National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Elephant Reserves, and other Conservation and Community Reserves.

Tiger Reserves are generally constituted by joining National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries so Tiger Reserves are not counted directly in the Protected Areas of India.

All these protected areas cover more than 1,65,000 sq km which is approximately 5% of the whole country’s area.

With so much protected area, India is an amazing country for wildlife, wildlife lovers and photographers. Also, India is home to a wide range of wildlife that includes mammals, birds, reptiles, various species of herbs and plants holding medicinal importance and most importantly the top predators in the food chain “The Big Cats”.

India hosts the 3 prime big cats of the Felidae family, they are Tiger, Lions, and Leopards. Along with these big cats, there are many medium-sized wild cats roam in Indian Jungle and can be spotted in India forest.

Top Big Cats of India

  1. Asiatic Lion
  2. Royal Bengal Tiger
  3. Indian Leopard
  4. Black Panther

Medium-sized Wild Cats of India

  • Clouded Leopard
  • Snow Leopard
  • Jungle Cat
  • Caracle
  • Marbled Cat
  • Leopard Cat
  • Lynx
  • Golden Cat
  • Indian Civet

Big Five of India

Like Big Five in Africa, India also host Big Five and they are:

  1. Asiatic Lion
  2. Royal Bengal Tiger
  3. One Horned Rhinoceros
  4. Indian Elephant
  5. Wild Water Buffalo

Other wildlife in India

If we talk about other important mammals/animals, India is also the top adobe for One-Horned Rhino, Asian Elephants, Wild Water Asian Buffalo, Sloth Bear, Indian Guar / Bison, Sambar Deer, Hangul, Himalayan Wolf, Lion Tailed Macaque, Barasingha, Bengal Fox, Golden Fox, Striped Hyena, Honey Badger and many more. India is home to a variety of Wildlife, Flora & Fauna including many endangered & critically endangered wild species

Reptiles in India

India also has a wide range of Reptiles ranging from a Garden Lizard to King Kobra and Monitor Lizards. India hosts more than 600 species of Reptile and some of them are very rare to spot and marked critically endangered in the IUCN List

List of Reptiles in India

King Cobra

King cobra is one of the most dangerous snakes in the whole world. It can be commonly found in India and throughout Southeast Asia. It can grow up to 13.1ft. It has a lifespan of between 17 and 20 years

Marsh Crocodile

Marsh Crocodiles are also known as Mugger Crocodile. They have the broadest snout among living crocodilians. Marsh crocodile’s main diet consists of fish, birds, and mammals. It can live up to 45 years. They are commonly found in Asia, Mostly in India.

Saltwater Crocodile

Salt Water Crocodile are mostly found in Southeast Asia. Male Salt Water Crocodile can grow to a length of 6 meters, whereas a female can grow to 3 meters. Like any crocodile species, they too are hyper carnivorous hunters. They have a life span of 70 Years


The Gharial is also known as Fish-eating Crocodile. The female of Gharial can grow up to 4.5 meters whereas males can grow up to 3-6 meters. Sharp interlocking teeth and long narrow scout are their special features. The life span of Gharial is not exactly known and is thought to have 50-60 years.

Bengal Monitor Lizard

Bengal Monitor Lizard is also known as Common Indian Monitor. They are commonly found in Southeast and West Asia, especially in India. They can grow up to 175 cm. The lifespan of the Bengal monitor lizard is 22 years.

Monitor Lizard

There are about 80 species of Monitor Lizards all over the World. They can grow up to a length of 3 meters, some species can grow up to 7 meters, but they are now extinct. The lifespan of Monitor Lizard is 5 Years.

Water Monitor

Common Water Monitor is also known as the Asian Common Monitor. It is commonly found in Northeast India and Srilanka. Male Water Monitor can grow up to 1.5-2 meters whereas females are comparatively smaller. The lifespan of the Water Monitor is 20 years.

Indian Cobra

The Indian cobra is also known as Asian Cobra. It is commonly found in India, Pakistan, & Bangladesh. It can grow up to a length of 1-2 meters. Indian Cobras can live a lifespan of up to 3 Years.

Common Krait

The common Krait is also known as Indian Krait or Blue Krait. They are commonly found in all over India. It can grow up to 1.75 meters, but the average length is 0.9 meters. They have a lifespan of 10-17 years.

Russell’s Viper

The Russell’s Viper is commonly found in Asia, mostly in India, China, & Taiwan. They are considered as one of the most dangerous Snakes in India. They can grow up to a length of 5.5 ft, but the average length is 4 ft. The Russell’s Viper has a lifespan of 15 years.

Rock Python

Rock python is a non-venomous Snake. But it is as dangerous as any venomous Snakes. They are mostly found in Africa and in India. They can grow up to or more than 6 meters. It has a lifespan of 30 years.

Indian Softshell Turtle

Indian softshell Turtle is also known as Gange’s softshell Turtle. They are commonly found in India, in the vicinity of rivers Ganges. They can grow up to a length of 94 cm. The lifespan of the Indian Soft Shell Turtle is 50 Years.

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle

The Olive Ridley Sea Turtle is also known as Pacific Ridley Sea Turtle. It is commonly found near the coastal areas of Pacific and Indian Ocean. They can grow up to 61 cms and They are the second smallest among the Tortoise family. The life expectancy is 50 Years.

Indian Star Tortoise

The Indian Star Tortoise is commonly found in India, Pakistan, and Srilanka. They are an endangered species Tortoise. They can grow up to 10 inches. The patterns on its shell is highly attractive. It can live up to 30-50 Years.

Indian Chameleon

The Indian Chameleons are mostly found in India and Srilanka. They can change color rapidly in ease. They can grow up to a length of 7 inches and tail can have a length up to 8 inches. The lifespan of Indian Chameleon is between 2-3 Years.

Birds of India

There are more than 1300 types of Birds native to India and a wide range of Migratory birds that visit India every year. Right from the Himalayas to the western ghats and from Great Rann of Kutch to the North-East states of seven sisters, the skies of India see a variety of feathers.

Types of birds in India can be further classified into two categories. Native Indian Birds and Migratory Birds. Native Indian Birds are the type of birds residing permanently in India, Where are migratory birds are the birds of other continents who visit India during their migration from one continent to another every year.

Bor Wildlife Sanctuary near Nagpur Birds of India

Top Indian Birds (Native)

  1. Great Hornbill
  2. Great Indian Bustard
  3. Black Head Stork
  4. Peacock
  5. Painted Stork
  6. Sarus Crane
  7. Spot Billed Pelican
  8. Snow Goose
  9. Red Junglefowl
  10. Greater Erget
  11. Indian Pitta
  12. Indian Robin
  13. Indian Vulture
  14. Paradise Flycatcher
  15. White Throated Kingfisher

Top Migratory Birds in India

  1. Greater Flamingos
  2. Siberian Crane
  3. Amur Falcon
  4. Demoiselle Crane
  5. Northern Shoveler

Flora of India

India holds a record of hosting around 6-7% of the total plant species of the world. There are more than 50000 species of plants in India and many of them are very useful and hold very important medicinal values. Because of the wide range of climate, topologies and habitat India is heaven for the medicinal plants and herbs.

If we talk about Trees, still India has a huge variety of Trees ranging from trees found in High Altitude to the tropical rainforest trees in the Western Ghats of India.

The major flora species of India

  1. Sal Tree
  2. Teakwood
  3. Neem tree
  4. Babool Tree
  5. Sacred Fig
  6. Ashoka Tree
  7. Deodar Cedar
  8. Giant Calotropis
  9. Pongame Oil Tree
  10. Indian SandalWood
  11. Date Palm
  12. Banyan
  13. Java Plum
  14. Aloe vera
  15. Basil

India’s biggest advantage of hosting so many wild species of mammals, plants and other animals is India’s climate and it’s the weather. The diverse range of climatic conditions in India makes it favorable for most of the wild species, various types of birds, migratory birds, reptiles, plants & trees to flourish.