21 Wild Animals in India

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Want to know more about the wildlife in India? Here’s a list of 21 animals in India that you can see in the wild:


Bengal tiger

The Bengal tiger is renowned for its power and strength. They live primarily in India, but can also be found in Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and China.

The female Bengal tiger gives birth to litters of 2-6 cubs, which they raise with a little help from the male, or no help at all. The tiger cubs start hunt when they’re around 18 months old and stay with their mother for around 2-3 years before leaving to find their own territory.

The Bengal tiger is not only one of the most powerful animals in India, but it’s also India’s national animal.

  • Common name: Bengal tiger
  • Scientific name: Panthera Tigris Tigris
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 8-10 years
  • Body length: 1,5- 2 m (5-6 ft)
  • Tail length: 0,5-1 m (2-3 ft)
Bengal tiger

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Indian elephant

The elephant is one of the biggest mammals on earth, and therefore one of the biggest animals in India. Elephants live in a matriarchal family group of related females called a herd. A herd can consist of around 100 elephants, and it’s often led by the oldest and largest female.

Indian elephants like to eat grass, roots, fruits, and leaves. A fun fact is that they can eat about 330 pounds of food a day.

  • Common name: Indian elephant
  • Scientific name: Elephas maximus indicus
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 60-70 years
  • Length: Up to 6,5 m (6 ft)
  • Height: 2-3,5 m (6 – 11 ft) at the shoulder
  • Weight: 5 tons
animals in india

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Indian rhinoceros

The Indian rhinoceros lives primarily in northern India and Nepal. These big animals look a bit different from their African relatives. The skin of the Indian rhinoceros makes it look like they have a natural body armor on – which is very different from the African rhinoceros.

You can also hear from the Latin name, Rhinoceros unicornis, that they only have one horn.

  • Common name: Indian rhinoceros
  • Scientific name: Rhinoceros unicornis
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 40 years
  • Length: 4 meters (12,5 ft)
  • Height at shoulder: Up to 1,8 m (6 ft)
  • Weight: 2,2 tons
Indian Rhinoceros

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Lion-tailed macaque

The lion-tailed macaque lives in the Western Ghats mountains of India. It’s a diurnal animal, which means that it’s active during the day.

The lion-tailed macaques have hair that’s either dark-brown or black. They have a black tuft at the end of the tail, just like the lions. Unlike most other macaques, the lion-tailed macaques avoid humans.

  • Common name: Lion-tailed macaque
  • Scientific name: Macaca silenus
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 20-38 years
  • Length: 20-61 cm (1,6-2 ft)
  • Weight: 3-10 kg (6,6-22 lb)
Lion tailed macaque

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Asiatic lion

Almost all wild lions on this planet live in Africa, but there’s a small population of Asiatic lions that live in India. They live in the Fir Forest in “prides” (a group of lions) where there can be up to 3 males, a dozen related females, and their cubs. The females are the primary hunters, and they often hunt together to kill large animals. The Asiatic lion is one of the fastest animals in India.

It’s only the male lions that get characteristic manes, which is the long hair around their heads.

  • Common name: Asiatic lion
  • Scientific name: Panthera leo persica
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 16-18 years
  • Length (body and tail): Around 2,8 m (9 ft)
  • Weight: 136-226 kg (300-500 lb)
Asiatic Lion

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Indian leopard

The Indian leopard is a subspecies to the leopard and lives in India as well as in Nepal, Bhutan, and parts of Pakistan. It’s one of the most beautiful animals in India. They live in tropical rain forests, temperate forests, northern coniferous forests, and dry deciduous forests in India.

This leopard is known for being an excellent climber, fast runner, and a good swimmer. It can run over 58 km per hour (36 mph), leap over 6 m (20 ft) horizontally, and jump up to 3 m (9.8 ft) vertically.

  • Common name: Indian leopard
  • Scientific name: Panthera pardus fusca
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 12-17 years
  • Body length (male):  1,3-1,4 m (4,2-4,8 ft) + 76-91 cm (2,6-3 ft) tail
  • Body length (female): 1-1,2 m (3-3,1 ft) + 76-91 cm (2,6-3 ft) tail
  • Weight: 50-70 kg (110-170 lb)
Indian leopard

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Sloth bear

Sloth bears are native to the Indian subcontinent. It’s a lanky bear famous for its shaggy fur and mane around the face. The sloth bear is also characterized by its long lower lip and sickle-shaped claws.

They’re excellent hunters of termites, which they can locate by the smell.

  • Common name: Sloth bear
  • Scientific name: Melursus ursinus
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: Up to 20 years
  • Length: 1.4-1.9 m (4-7.6 ft)
  • Height: 60-92 cm (2-3 ft) at the shoulder
  • Weight: Females: 80-145 kg (176-320 lb), Males: up to 192 kg (423 lb)
animals in india

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Wild water buffalo

The wild water buffalo is a large bovine native to the Indian subcontinent and live mainly in Assam, Kaziranga, Manas, and the Dibru-Saikhowa National Parks. Kaziranga National Park is home to the biggest population of wild water buffaloes in India.

A wild water buffalo can weight up to 1200 kg (2600 lb), which makes them one of the heaviest of the wild bovine species.

  • Common name: Wild water buffalo
  • Scientific name: Bubalus arnee
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Average life span in the wild: Up to 25 years
  • Length: 2.6 m (8.6 ft)
  • Height: 1.3 m (4.2 ft)
  • Weight: 300-500 kg (661-1102 lb)
Wild Water Buffalo

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Indian wild ass

Indian wild ass, also known as Ghudkhur is a subspecies of the onager that’s native to Southern Asia. They live in western India, as well as in areas in southern Pakistan, Afghanistan, and south-eastern Iran. Today, their last refuge is the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary in Little Rann of Kutch in the state of Gujarat.

The Indian wild ass is characterized by its sand-colored fur and dark mane, followed by a dark brown stripe running along their back to the root of their tail.

A fun fact is that they’re one of the fastest animals in India, and can run up to 70-80 km per hour (43-49 mph).

  • Common name: Indian wild ass
  • Scientific name: Equus hemionus khur
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 20-25 years
  • Length: 2.6 m (8.5 ft)
  • Height: 1.2 m (3.9 ft) at the shoulder
  • Weight: 250 kg (551 lb)
indian animals

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Gaur – One of the heaviest animals in India

The gaur, also known as the Indian bison, is the largest of bovines. It’s native to south and Southeast Asia and can be spotted in several national parks in India. Nagarhole National Park, Bandipur Nationalpark, and Periyar National Park are just to name a few.

It’s characterized by its big horns, dark fur, and a strong and massive body that can weight up to 1500 kg (3306 lb). It’s one of the heaviest animals in India.

  • Common name: Gaur
  • Scientific name: Bos gaurus
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Average life span in the wild:
  • Length: 2.5-3.3 m (8.2-10.1 ft) + a tail of 70-105 cm (28-41 in)
  • Height: 1.4-2.2 m (4.8-7.3 ft) at the shoulder
  • Weight: 500-1500 kg (1102-3306 lb)
gaur

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Nilgai

The largest Asian antelope is the nilgai, also known as the blue bull. They’re endemic to the Indian subcontinent and can be found in the scrub forests and grassy plains of northern India.

They’re big animals characterized by its bluish-grey coat, white spots on each side of its face, ears, cheeks, lips, and chin. Only the males grow horns, and they can get 15-24 cm long (5.9-9.4 in).

  • Common name: Nilgai
  • Scientific name: Boselaphus tragocamelus
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 10 years
  • Length: 1.7-2.1 m (5.6-6.9 ft)
  • Height: 1-1.5 m (3.3-4.9 ft) at the shoulder
  • Weight: Males: 109-288 kg (240-635 lb), Females: 100-213 kg (220-470 lb)
Nilgai

Photo: Shutterstock

Indian pangolin

Indian pangolins lives in the forests and grasslands of India, and as well in Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Pakistan.

They have small heads, eyes, and ears, but a long tongue that can be up to 25.5 cm (10 in) long. Indian pangolins are covered in hard brown/yellow colored scales, and they roll up into a ball and emit a strong smelling fluid from their anal if feeling threatened.

  • Common name: Indian pangolin
  • Scientific name: Manis crassicaudata
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Insectivorous
  • Average life span in the wild: 13 years
  • Length: 45 – 75 cm (18 – 29.5 in)
  • Length of tail: 33 – 45 cm (13 – 17.7 in)
  • Weight: 5 – 35 Kg (11 – 77 lb)
Pangolin

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Indian Flying Fox

The Indian flying fox is the largest bat in India, as well as one of the largest bat species in the world. They have chestnut-brown fur on their bodies, long snouts, and large eyes – they look much like a fox, hence the name. An Indian flying fox can weight up to 1.6 kg and have a wingspan of 1-5 meters.

Like most other bats they rest during the day and are active during the night.

  • Common name: Indian flying fox
  • Scientific name: Pteropus giganteus
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Frugivorous / nectarivorous
  • Average life span in the wild: 15 years
  • Length: 15.5-22 cm (6.1-8.7 in)
  • Wingspan: 1.2-1.5 m (3.1-4.1 ft)
  • Weight: 1.6 kg (3.5 lb)
animals in india

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Chital

The chital, also known as the spotted deer is a species of deer that is native to the Indian subcontinent. Other than India they can also be found in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.

They have a golden-brown fur with white spots. Their rump, throat, abdomen, ears, tail, and inside of their legs are all white, and their horns can get 1 m (3.3 ft) long.

  • Common name: Chital
  • Scientific name: Axis axis
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 5-10 years
  • Length: 1.7 m (5.6 ft)
  • Height: 70-90 cm (28-35 in) at the shoulder
  • Weight: 25-75 kg (55-165 lb
Chital

Photo: Shutterstock

Bengal fox

The Bengal Fox or Indian fox, as its also called, is a fox endemic to the Indian subcontinent. It can be found in most parts of India, as well as in eastern Pakistan, southeastern Bangladesh, and in the Himalayan foothills and Terai of Nepal.

It’s a small fox with grayish-beige fur and long pointy ears. It weights around 2.3-4.1 kg (5-9  lb) and has a body length of 46 cm (18 in) and a 25 cm (10 in) long tail.

During the hottest hours of the day, the Bengal fox hides in their dens. It’s during sunset and sunrise when the Bengal fox is the most active.

  • Common name: Bengal fox
  • Scientific name: Vulpes bengalensis
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 10-12 years
  • Length: 46 cm (18 in)
  • Length of tail: 25 cm (10 in)
  • Weight: 2.3-4.1 kg (5-9 lb)
Bengal fox

Photo: Shutterstock

Striped hyena

The striped hyena is lives in western India, as well as in the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula and in parts of Africa.

Striped hyenas are characterized by its big pointy ears, vertical stripes on their flanks, and vertical stripes on their legs. Like many other animals that live in hot climates, their ears radiation heat.

When a striped hyena is feeling threatened, the mane can be erect, which makes them look much bigger and more intimidating to predators.

  • Common name: Striped hyena
  • Scientific name: Hyaena hyaena
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 12 years
  • Length: 85-130 cm (33-51 in)
  • Length of tail: 25-40 cm (9.8-15.7 in)
  • Weight: 22-55 kg (49-121 lb)
Striped hyena

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Red panda – One of the cutest animals in India

One of the most loved animals in India is the cute red panda. It’s native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. A part of the population lives in the Meghalaya Plateau of north-eastern India.

It likes to sleep on tree branches or in tree hollows during the day and is the most active during late afternoon. When it’s hot outside it sleeps stretched out with its legs dangling from the tree branch and all curled up with its tail over its face when its cold outside.

They’re excellent climbers and loves to eat bamboo, but can also eat small mammals, birds, eggs, flowers, and berries.

  • Common name: Red panda
  • Scientific name: Ailurus fulgens
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Herbivore / Omnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 8 years
  • Length: (20-26 in) + a (12-20 in) long tail
  • Weight: (12-20 lb)
Red panda

Photo: Shutterstock

Gee’s golden langur

The gee’s golden langur, or golden langur, lives in a small region of western Assam in India, as well as in the foothills of the Black Mountains of Bhutan. Today, it’s one of the most endangered primate species in India.

The golden langur is characterized by its golden/cream-colored fur, black face, and its long tail. They spend most of their time up in high trees where they use their long tail as a balancer when jumping between branches. They like to eat fruit, leaves, seeds, buds, and flowers.

The gee’s golden langur is today an endangered animal in India.

  • Common name: Gee’s golden langur
  • Scientific name: Trachypithecus geei
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Average life span in the wild: Unknown
  • Length: 50-75 cm (19.6-29.5 in)
  • Length of tail: up to 50 cm (19.6 in)
  • Weight: 9.5-10.5 kg (21-23 lb)
Gee’s golden langur

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Gharial

Gharials, also known as gavials, are a type of Asian crocodilian that’s famous for its long thin snouts and jaws that are lined with more than 100 sharp teeth. They’re found along the Chambal river, Girwa river, and Son river, as well as in Nepal along the Narayani river.

They can weight up to 998 kg (2200 lb) and can get as long as 4.7 m (15.5 ft).

The gharial crocodile is today one of the endangered animals in India.

  • Common name: Gharial
  • Scientific name: Gavialis gangeticus
  • Type: Reptiles
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 40-60 years
  • Length: 3.7-4.7 m (12.2-15.5 ft)
  • Weight: 998 kg (2200 lb)
Gavial crocodile

Photo: Shutterstock

Indian Cobra – One of the most dangerous animals in India

The Indian cobra is a species that’s found in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. It’s a member of the ”big four”, which means that it’s one of four venomous snake species responsible for causing the greatest number of snake bite on humans. It’s one of the most dangerous animals in India.

They inhabit plains or open forests, as well as rocky terrains and wetlands. They’re often found near water and hides in tree hollows, caves, cracks, rock piles, and small dens.

The Indian cobra varies in both colors and patterns – they can be grey, yellow, tan, brown, black or reddish in color. Most of them have the famous dark hood mark, as you can see in the picture below.

  • Common name: Indian cobra
  • Scientific name: Naja naja
  • Type: Reptiles
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 20 years
  • Length: 1-1.5 m (3.3-4.9 ft)
Indian cobra

Photo: Shutterstock

Great hornbill

The great hornbill is one of the larger members of the hornbill family. They’re famous for its big size and for its beautiful colors.

The great hornbill likes to eat fruits but can also prey on small mammals, reptiles, and birds.

  • Common name: Great hornbill
  • Scientific name: Buceros bicornis
  • Type: Birds
  • Diet: Frugivorous
  • Average life span in the wild: 33 years
  • Length: 95-130 cm (37-51 in)
  • Wingspan: 152 cm (60 in)
  • Weight: 2.1-4 kg (4.77-8.8 lb)
animals in india

Photo: Shutterstock


10 critically endangered animals in India:

Like many other countries worldwide, there are, unfortunately, endangered animals in India too. Down below you have a list of 10 animals that are critically endangered in India:

  • Peacock tarantula
  • Ganges shark
  • Red-crowned roofed turtle
  • Asiatic cheetah
  • Himalayan wolf
  • Jenkins’ shrew
  • Pygmy hog
  • Namdapha flying squirrel
  • Chinese pangolin
  • Gharial

Do you have any other questions about animals in India? Leave a comment below!

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