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Old 12th June 2007, 21:35   #1
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Exclamation Wild Animals - A survival Guide

After the recent monsoon mayhem, I thought this thread makes a lot of sense.
I have been travelling through the Satyamangalam, Bandipur and Wayand forest ranges quite frequently over the past three years.

My few cents on what I learnt regarding driving through forests / chance encounter with the animals

Wildlife in South India

Elephants - This powerful gentle gaint can turn ruthless suddenly and can wreck havoc like no ones business. You have reason to fear and take precaution. Ask charen who has spent the whole night on a 20 feet high watch tower hiding from a pack of elephants. These gaints also cause the most number of deaths each year.

Elephants have a very keen smell and can sniff you out if you are up wind. Keep in mind that these are very intelligent beings too. They are usually found in herds and are very protective about their little ones. Woe betide anyone who harms a little one - knowingly or unkowningly.

The ones that are found separate - Lone tuskers are the most dangerous of the lot. They are usually in a rage and attack anything they see.

Bisons - Ok strictly speaking these are not bisons but the smaller variety called Gaurs. These one tonne beasts are very gentle. They stick to eating the grass and care about nothing else. You can stop and take photos of them provided you are at a reasonable distance. But always stay in the car. Keep the engine running and be ready to flee.

Deers - You can typically find the spotted variety which are normal size, the unspotted ones which can grow as big as a big calf. Nothing much to say about these humble little things.

Boar - A humble herbivore which keeps to its own business. Usually scamper when they see humans. But will attack ruthlessly when provoked. Since we arent Steve Irwin, better consider them hostile and stay away.

Predators - Most of them are very shy and wary about us humans. They hardly get in sight of us or wander near the roads. What you can see normally is leopards and at times the elusive panthers. Tigers are usually found only in the interiors and that too not so readily. But still dont risk getting out of the car in the night - you might never know.

Wild dogs - These are the most cunning, ruthless, savage predators that you can find. They hunt in packs and are very cunning. These are very much present in our forests and in pretty good numbers too. They look exactly like a street dog, but dont be fooled.

Bears - Not the cute and cuddly kind. You might never run into them unless you are trekking through the forests. These are very absent minded creatures and will start chasing you. Half way through they tend to forget what they are doing adn walk away. But they maul people to death. So take care when trekking.


Driving through forests
  • Whenever possible keep behind a truck, bus or atleast with some other cars. Driving alone is potentially dangerous esp. if you dont know the roads all that well.
  • Drive at no more than 60 kmph. This way you get to enjoy the drive and also watch out for wildlife.
  • Keep your eyes peeled out. Dont just look at the roads. Keep your speed at a comfortable pace and scan the forests on both sides
  • Never speed or take corners at speed. You never know what awaits you around the corner. Elephants and bisons dont take kindly to being bumped from behind
  • If its in the night, keep your speed really less. Alternate you high and low beams to catch any movements. Bisons and elephants are all but invisible during the night. More so with the elephants which are visible only from about 10-15 feet away
  • It pays to know what the elephant / deer corridors are. These animals mostly cross the roads at fixed locations.

Encounter with wildlife


Elephants, Bisons

  • If they are in the middle of the road, stop your car a good 20-30 feet in front.
  • Switch off your headlights, music system and roll up your windows
  • Dont make a noise or get out of the car.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY - NO CAMERA FLASHES
  • If the animal thinks you are not a threat they usualy continue with their work and move off the road pretty soon

Deers, Wild boar
  • These are pretty harmless creatures unless provoked.
  • Switch off your headlights and they will run away pretty soon
  • You can risk a camera flash if its a deer. But no getting out of the car whatsoever.
  • When provoked, deers are know to kick cars so hard that you can bust a radiator.
  • Similarly with wild boars. These are very ferocious when provoked and can maul a human to death.

Signs to Watch out for
  • A single elephant trumpetting loudly - Stay away at all costs. Turn and run for it if you have to. These are the human killers that can wreck cars before you can say ABC
  • Bisons fighting. You can at times see two fully grown males locking their horns over a female ( Happens even with animals ). Dont stop to take photos. Just continue driving. A Nat geo award winning photo is not worth the risk

Genral Donts
  • Dont stop your car to relive yourself - esp. in the night no matter what
  • No booze parties / picnics in the middle of the forest. Animals are very territorial beings and dont take kindly to intruders.
  • Dont litter, light fires, throw plastic bags
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Old 12th June 2007, 23:41   #2
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very nice tread harrie.
i am also a animal lover elephants can be stopped dead in their steps with chilli power villages use this technique they mix dry grass with chilli powder to make it like a cake and burn it this stops elephants but don't get adventurous and run after elephants with chilli powder.

snakes leave them alone they will go and no they wont follow you or kill you i your sleep and all that superstition's if at all you find a snake close to you throw a blanket over it and call a professional person if it strikes you kill it and take it with you to the hospital for identification.

monkeys they dont sound ferocious but stare one in the eye it will bite you best if a monkey is in front of you put your head down away from its eye and walk away.
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Old 12th June 2007, 23:49   #3
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Harrie awesome thread this. Specially when we have so many meets out in the wildlife.

KB read this fella! Its for your own good. Next time you jump out of the car when we stop to see if its an elephant remember this thread.
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Old 13th June 2007, 00:13   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harrie View Post
Signs to Watch out for
  • A single elephant trumpetting loudly - Stay away at all costs. Turn and run for it if you have to. These are the human killers that can wreck cars before you can say ABC
Running for it is fine if you are in a car. But if you are on foot, never ever do that unless you are at a sufficient distance and are certain of getting to safety. An elephant can easily outrun a human being and will almost certainly give chase if you run. When it catches up, you are as good as dead. If you are too close to the elephant and cannot reach safety, a better strategy is to keep absolutely still and don't get panicked by the elephant's hostile trumpeting or even if it prepares to charge. There is some hope that the elephant will lose interest in you and move on.

@pawan: I did get on the wrong side of a male monkey by rasing my hands and trying to shoo it off when it came close to me for some eatables in my hands. It then crouched and growled, as if to leap at me and bite. It was quite a ferocious sight, with mouth and eyes wide open and staring at me. My insides were like jelly but I immediately cut out my hostile moves, froze and just stared at the monkey without backing off. It worked; the monkey lost interest.

Last edited by rks : 13th June 2007 at 00:21.
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Old 13th June 2007, 00:17   #5
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Always run uphill when avoiding an elephant. Something about the way their legs or joints are structured makes it difficult for them to run uphill. Added to that, they're not exactly light.
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Old 13th June 2007, 00:29   #6
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Nice tips Harrie. Haven't got much of a chance to encounter wildlife, but lessons like these are good any time.
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Old 13th June 2007, 00:29   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rks View Post
@pawan: I did get on the wrong side of a male monkey by rasing my hands and trying to shoo it off when it came close to me for some eatables in my hands. It then crouched and growled, as if to leap at me and bite. It was quite a ferocious sight, with mouth and eyes wide open and staring at me. My insides were like jelly but I immediately cut out my hostile moves, froze and just stared at the monkey without backing off. It worked; the monkey lost interest.
wow you were lucky actually leared about it when a mokey chased me after staring at it but the sec you see away from its eyes it doesnt see you as a treat and leaves you lone and goes.
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Old 13th June 2007, 01:00   #8
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Here is the perfect website for this thread:

Dangerous Animals

Apparently staring at a hostile lion is a correct strategy. But not at a leopard. And as I said, it is fatal to try to outrun an elephant. But the website does advise running as the only option when the elephant makes a "real charge" (as opposed to a "mock charge", which is apparently in jest). Then run in zig-zag manner, make sudden turns, etc. Climbing trees will not work.
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Old 13th June 2007, 01:03   #9
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Excellent Thread!! I will have some interesting posts tomorrow, with pictures. Good initiative.
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Old 13th June 2007, 01:05   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rks View Post
Here is the perfect website for this thread:
Then run in zig-zag manner, make sudden turns, etc. Climbing trees will not work.
Similarly I have heard my elders say when you are being chased by a snake run in a straight line. Dont know how far this will work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sam kapasi
I will have some interesting posts tomorrow, with pictures.
Will this include the desert scene too?
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Old 13th June 2007, 01:59   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mclaren1885 View Post
Will this include the desert scene too?
I have no Pictures of my desert scene Mcl, but thank you for reminding me, this is good advice, which I will share.

When in the middle of a desert, (I mean proper desert, dunes and all, uninhabited for miles, when you intend to go on camelback for a few days with a compass, not tourist deserts)

1) Cover yourself completely, head to toe. Bedouins are not stupid and don't think shorts and a teeshirt will cut it. Most of us think of the heat, remember you don't sweat much in the desert. You need to preserve your skin, body moisture etc. Full sleeves and full pants. Cotton gloves and a cloth to cover your face. Now THAT is real sun block.

2) Sunglasses, Sunglasses, Sunglasses. UV400, high quality, big Sunglasses.

3) Headgear. A big hat, or a turban. baseball caps are no good, the back of your head and neck will burn.

4) Ladies: Sports Bra is a must. Unless you are athletic, the camel trot after a few hours will cause you immense pain.

5) If forming a mini caravan through a desert, Insist that atleast one camel be female If you are alone, take the female camel, they are stronger and more resilient. And wonderful if you like tea with milk. You will not be able to carry milk, in the heat. (I am very, very serious about this). Also, more importantly if lost, you will not die hungry for a while. Ask the locals, and learn how to milk a camel, it's not so difficult.

6) Do not, under any circumstances, decide to have a bonfire, in the desert, especially of it is cold. The warmth attracts scorpions and scarabs to the surface. If you must have a bonfire, do not sleep close to it, the warm embers will keep desert creatures attracted to it all night.

7) Scorpion Antidote: It's a simple injection, carry it. I've been to hell and back, just trust me and carry it.
Locals will tell you to either throw hot sand on it or cactus juice. Doesn't work. All government hospitals have the antidote, buy it with a new syringe and needle, keep it in your kit.

8) Don't drink too much. The nature of the desert air is hygroscopic. Your skin and body will dehydrate. Alcohol will worsen the dehydration. You will be sick, avoid it completely.

9) Sleep on your camel bedding, with your head resting on your raised arm. Keeps the bugs out of the ears.

Tomorrow: Advice on how to spend 2 months in the jungles of Africa. With a few old pics.

Last edited by Sam Kapasi : 13th June 2007 at 02:07.
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Old 13th June 2007, 02:24   #12
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man oh man! i am getting a lot of ideas for our next team-bhp meet.

how scared did you guys get out there! shucks lol.
Quote:
Don't drink too much. The nature of the desert air is hygroscopic. Your skin and body will dehydrate. Alcohol will worsen the dehydration. You will be sick, avoid it completely.
experienced i see! you must have seen and done a lot of things to be their.
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Old 13th June 2007, 02:39   #13
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A very nice thread.I can vouch about the elephant being almost invisible in the night.Sadly this also works against the animal at times trucks crash onto them leaving them fighting for life.

I have always wanted to ask this question but just did not where actually to put it forward,heres my chance,

Should we honk while going through areas with wild animals.If you come face to face with an aggressive wild animal is honking continuously going to scare them off.
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Old 13th June 2007, 06:43   #14
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Originally Posted by rahul_intlad View Post

Should we honk while going through areas with wild animals.If you come face to face with an aggressive wild animal is honking continuously going to scare them off.
Honking when going through forests will certainly scare away the animals. But when face to face with an aggressive animal, i am not sure. Here is what I would do. Try and stay still. Its very important that the animal think that you are no threat. It will most probably move away. Suppose you are in a situation where there is no way for you to run, like in a car with the animal very much in front of you and charging, then honking might help you.

Dont take my word for it. Pray that you dont ever get into such a situation
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Old 13th June 2007, 06:47   #15
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Originally Posted by v1p3r View Post
Always run uphill when avoiding an elephant. Something about the way their legs or joints are structured makes it difficult for them to run uphill. Added to that, they're not exactly light.
True, but when provoked, they can run like mad. Locals say that its almost imposssible to run away from a charging tusker. Only way to stay alive is to have a trained dog which will alert you and you could probably start running when its still 5 min away
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