Does Size Matter? A Tale from Bandhavgarh

Bandhavgarh. January 2016. Known to the world as Land of the Tiger. Made famous by tigers like Charger, B2 & Bamera.

I had the opportunity to visit Bandhavgarh after a couple of years. Working with an travel organization as a Tour Instructor lets you explore a lot of destinations & experience some amazing moments in the wild. The January 2016 Bandhavgarh trip gave an opportunity to see, one such moment in the wild.

BANDHAVGARH – NO TIGER SIGHTING

To start of with, I did not see the tiger! This one sentence, is a topic of discussion. “You went to Bandhavgarh and didn’t see a tiger??!”. We tend to forget of the 100s of other things that we did see!

THE INCIDENCE.

Ride no 3, Morning safari in Tala zone: We were on route C and saw a Changeable Hawk Eagle on the group, pecking away at something. We knew that there was something that the eagle was attempting to catch. We decided to wait. Every couple of minutes, the Eagle would fly to the ground, peck at whatever it was trying to catch, and fly back to a perch nearby.

The prey, was hidden behind a log & we couldn’t really see what it was. This continued for the next 10 minutes, after which the Eagle flew away. Without catching the prey. We were wondering what that prey, really was. We drove a bit closer to the place where the prey was & finally were able to see it. It was a Cat-snake, all wound up. By the naked eye, it looked as if it was just protecting itself by striking back at the eagle every time it attacked. But then, we put our cameras to work & clicked a few photographs. That was when we found out what the bad luck had stricken the snake.

It might have felt relieved by being left alone by the eagle, but its troubles were not over yet. A group of fire ants were all over the snake. The snake, could not even move, for (probably, I am guessing here!) the fear of being caught by the Eagle. Every passing moment, the number of ants increased.

I have been visiting forests since quite a few years & never had the opportunity to see a moment like this.

This made me ponder, a small snake was able to defend itself from an Eagle. Yet, it could not save himself from fire ants! David and Goliath, in its true form?

THE MOMENT.

Bandhavgarh - Changeable Hawk Eagle trying to find the cat snake

Changeable Hawk Eagle trying to find the cat snake

Bandhavgarh - Cat snake being bitten by Fire Ants

Cat snake being bitten by Fire Ants

Conclusion

We waited at the same spot for another hour-or-so. Sadly, neither the snake moved nor did the Changeable Hawk Eagle return. With the park timings about to close, we had to leave that spot. Don’t really know what happened later, but for me, it was a moment in the wild I will never forget.

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17 Comments

  1. Lovely… Happy to read a blog of a forest without a tiger in it!!! 😊

  2. Omkar Shelke

    Sweet ! 😀

  3. Anand aTHAWALE.

    Dear Mihir ,

    By going thru your experience I went back to my old Golden days when we all boys use to weak up early in the morning to go for a long stroll on sea beach & the small sea crabs on wet sand used to come out from the holes very cautiously to avoid unexpected strikes from seagulls & vanish in the holes with lightning speed or to camouflaged themselves in the sand by standstill posture to survive from the air attack.

  4. Ashlesha Phatak

    Oh i remember this v clearly Mihir. It was such a sight to see nature in action

  5. Yes.. I do remember this… It’s always “expect the unexpected” in forest.. nice write up Mihir.👍

    • Hey Kanchan,
      Following this we had that amazing Jungle Cat sighting. An eventful ride void of a tiger sighting. Fun times.

  6. Interestingly Presented.
    (I was half expecting a Tiger, the moment I read Bandhavgarh)

    Enjoyed reading. 🙂

  7. Very interesting experience! I have been to India several times but never had the time or option to explore the forests there. Will definitely check this out if I can next time!

    • Hey! If you do plan coming to India again, do drop me a message. We can plan a couple of days in one of these awesome forests in India. Thanks!

  8. Bandhavgarh wild reserve I saw with a difference in your impressive post. Snake & eagle in a conflict. Interesting outcome.

  9. Really an interesting piece. I would love to get close to the wild like this someday! Thanks for sharing.

  10. You have put across your point so well! Keep writing more!

  11. This is the first post on Bandhavgarh (or other tiger reserves), I am reading that mentions not seeing tigers. People usually boast about that only.

    Your post proves that size does not always matter ..great read 🙂

    • Thank you! I have been visiting these forests since 2004 & I agree that most of the crowd goes in with only 1 thing in mind. They forget to notice the other 100s of things going on in the forest. Thanks for visiting 🙂

  12. This reminds me of my own tiger experience in satpur forests.
    Well written. 🙂

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