India is known as one of the wildest countries in the world, it is home to 10% of the world species including 45000 types of plants and 91000 different animals. If we only have in mind the fauna, there is still a lot, as 6.5% of the world´s animals are found in India.
Today we are going to tell you all about the wildlife in India, the animals you can see there and the best places to spot them. Before we start, we want to advise you that in this “animals in India” list you will only find the wild animals of India, we do not support any kind of zoo or “fake sanctuary” where animals are not free and have their own rights.
See below our top 10 Indian animals list:
National Animal of India
Of course, we had to start this list of animals in India with the most important one and the symbol of the country. We are sure that even before reading it, you can guess which one it is right?
1)🐯 Bengal Tiger
That´s right! The Bengal Tiger is considered since 1973 the Indian national animal, the main goal was to protect it from extinction.
About 70% of Bengal Tigers are found in India, but you will also be able to find it in Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh, the last one also declared it as the national animal of the country.
Although Bengal tigers are still classified as endangered, the efforts India made during the last years were worth it, as the population of tigers in their country went from 1900 in 2010, to about 2200 in 2014, to almost 3000 in 2019! Hopefully, the great news will last.
List of Endangered animals in India in 2020
Unfortunately, the tigers aren´t the only ones who suffered the consequences of human actions. There are many other animals in danger of extinction in India, some are doing better, and others are doing worst, but at the end all of them are being threatened:
2)🐘 Asian Elephants
Another one of the iconic Indian animals is in danger. Even though the number of Asian Elephant is now a days of more than 30000 ( it´s a lot comparing it with the tiger), their population have fallen by at least 50% over the last three generations, it is believed that more than 100000 Asian elephants may have existed at the start of the 20th century.
The reasons why their numbers are decreasing are again the same as always, human-wildlife conflicts, loss of habitat and in this case, we also must add the look for ivory.
3)🦏 Indian Rhino
Not all the news about the endangered animals in India are bad. Even though the rhino population is still low, they are still considered as vulnerable and the loss of habitat is an important threat, the number of one-horned has gone from just 200 in the wild early in the 20th century, to about 2600 now a days.
If you have always dreamed of seeing one Indian rhino in the wild, we totally recommend you joining a safari at the Kaziranga National Park. It is the place with the highest Indian rhino density in the world.
4)🐊 The Gharial
The Gharial is one of the longest of all living crocodiles on earth and one of the three different types of crocodiles you will find in India. Even though the Indian government is trying to change the situation, the efforts have not been enough yet, and this crocodile is getting close to extinction.
There wasn´t much hope for these crocodiles, but not a long time ago, a group of scientific from the Zoological Society of London discovered 100 baby crocodiles in a remote region of Nepal. The weirdest thing is that gharials had not been sighted in the area for 30 years!
5)🦊 Red Panda
This tiny and cute arboreal mammal is endangered as well, and its situation is very similar to the elephants´. The loss of habitat is the main danger to the red panda and even though there are still around 14000-15000 of them, its population has declined by 50 percent over the last three generations. It is projected to get even worst in the next years.
Just so you can have an idea of how in danger they are, the animal is protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 in India. This means it is at the same level as the Bengal tiger. The good news is that they´re trying to change the situation.
Endemic species: Animals only found in India
India is also the home to incredibly species of wildlife that you will not find in any other country. Some of them are well known animals in India and other not so much, let´s see which ones did you know about. Have in mind that although, we have selected them in a different category, some of these species are also endangered.
6)🦁 Asiatic Lion
The Asiatic Lion is probably one of the most famous animals in India after the Bengal Tiger. The Asiatic lion is the only kind of lion you will see outside of Africa and India is the only place where you will find.
Inside the country the things aren´t going well neither, as there are only 400 to 500 of them in the wild and their only habitat is the Gir National park in Gujarat. Therefore, if you are planning to see the Asiatic lion, Gujarat will be your only option!
The main differences it has with the African lion are a smaller size and a darker mane.
7)🙊 Lion-tailed macaques
These funny macaques are also of those animals you will only find India and unfortunately, they are endangered as well. Lion-tailed macaques are mainly recognized by the famous grey mane they have around their face, because of it, they are ofently called bearded monkeys.
As we started saying their homeland is India and they can be found in the Western Ghats hills and the mountains of southwestern India. Lion-tailed macaques are extremely sensitive to changes in their habitats and the constructions of roads, in the middle of their forests and mountains is what making them suffer so much these days.
8)🐐 Nilgiri Tahr
These famous goats are also iconic animals of India and are the national animal of the state Tamil Nadu. Again, due to poachin and the loss of habitat, these animals are also decreasing their population and could be in real danger very soon.
Eravikulam National Park, Nilgiri Hills, Anaimalai Hills, Periyar National Park, Palni Hills are the only places in the world where you will be able to see one of the 3000 Nilgiri Tahr left in the wild.
Other famous wild indian animals
We are sure you are missing many of the most famous Indian animals in this list, but don´t worry, we are not done yet! Here you have some more wild Indian animals that aren´t endangered or endemic from India, but are also extremely popular:
9)🐻 Sloth Bear
How many of you have seen the famous Disney movie, The Jungle Book? Well it appears the movie was mostly based in the Indian wildlife and one of the main characters, Baloo, is a sloth bear!
As it happens in the movie, the main food of this curious beards are insects, fruits, flowers and of course honey, which is the reason why they are also called honey beards.
Sloth beards are classified as vulnerable in the list of endangered animals. Their situation could be worst, but if we keep on destroying their habitat, they will end up like the animals listed before.
10)🐆 Indian Leopard & Black Panther
India is home to 15 different species of the cat family, so of course we had to finish our Indian animals list with a big feline.
It is turn for the Indian Leopard and the Black Panther. In despite of what most people think, these two animals are the same species, Panthera pardus, the only difference is that, the black panther as you may know is fully black, and the Indian Leopard has a yellowish body with dark brown/ black colored spots.
This animal is also in the list of endangered species, but like the sloth bear, is classified as vulnerable.
Rare wild animals found in India
Did you not have enough with our top 10 wild animals in India? Well, don´t worry, because there are many more. Here is a short list with more rare animals you can find in India:
- Snow Leopard
- Flying Squirrel
- Indian Fruit Bat
- Gee’s Golden Langur
Most dangerous animal in India
The title should say, animals that could attack you (even kill you), if you don´t leave them alone! Remember that most animals aren´t usually aggressive with humans, only if you aren´t respectful with their habitat, family, and themselves.
- Indian Red Scorpion
- King Cobra
- Saltwater Crocodile
Most Sacred animals in India
For different reasons, either religious believes or cultural thoughts, there are a few animals that are sacred in India. They even have gods with animal faces, and that just tells you how important these creatures are for them. Here is another short list of sacred animals in Indian culture:
Best places to see wildlife in India:
If you are like us and you don´t care which animal to see, you just want to spot Indian animals in the Indian forest, then you should know that this country has plenty of natural parks full of life, some of them with a bigger diversity that make the encounters easier. These are the best places to see animals in India:
- Nagarahole National Park in Karnataka
- Kaziranga National Park in Assam
- Keoladeo National Park in Rajasthan
- Satpura National Park, Madhya Pradesh
- Hemis National Park, Jammu And Kashmir
- Gir National Park, Gujarat
List of extinct animals in India
As you may have seen, many of the wild animals in India are close to extinction or in real danger, well, unfortunately, other animals already lost the fight and became extinct some time ago. Below you can find 3 extinct animals in India:
- Asiatic Cheetah
- Sumatran Rhinoceros
- Pink Headed Duck
Importance of wildlife in India
We hope you have enjoyed reading these wildlife in India information, but also hope you have learned how important these creatures are to this country. Doesn´t matter if you are planning to travel there or if you actually live in India, please never be part illegal wildlife trade, let them live their lives in their natural habitat and of course be respectful when visiting national parks.
If you have any other question or suggestion about our list of wild animals in India, or something else, please let us know!