Read about the flora & fauna of Goa, India.
Fauna In Goa
In addition to these wild animals, there are the wellknown domestic animals (dogs, cats), and livestock (cattle, goats, horses, donkeys, pigs, sheep,) and poultry (hens, cocks, ducks and drakes).
As in the case of wild animals, Goa has a host of birds and this list, in includes:
Egrets, kingfishers, eagles, bee eaters, vultures, blue throated-barbets, pheasants, shallow, jungle, fowls quails, shrikes, white breasted-water hens, oriole, pigeons, drongos, parrots and parakeets, mynas, cuckoos, bul buls, owls, babblers, flycatchers, tai lor birds, magpie-robin, wagtails, house sparrow and weaver birds.
To this list must be added Goa's migratory water-fowls a flock of about 5000 fowls are seen at the wa ter ponds at Corlim and Carambolim.
With an abundance of flora which require a fair amount of rainfall, the region has a large number of snakes. Perhaps in keeping with such a large number of snakes in Goa, the famous temple of Shree Shatagurga has the diety holding two cobras by the up per hand: the cobra heads are between the grip and the body of the cobra is seen entwining the arms. Also, most of the temples in Goa keep silver idols of the cobra.
Among the large number of snakes in Goa, there are several non-poisonous ones while the poisonous can be very dangerous if their victims are not treated quickly since the venom of the poisonous snakes are generally neuro-toxic.
The non-poisonous snakes include:
The common blind snake, the "torava" with a rough tail, the russel sand boa, locally known as the 'Malun', the Indian python which could grow up to 14 feet in length and weight up to 40 kilos, the Indian wart snake — not a very common snake — but when seen is a horrible looking one since its scales are small, pointed and horny, the trinket snake is one that looks "pretty" in view of its light or dark brown colour with black cross bars containing white spots, the Indian rat snake, the golden tree snake: this is a beautiful coloured snake with variable colours — from black to greenish - and as age advances, the green colour increases, the common wolf-snake, the common green whip snake.
The poisonous snakes include:
The Naja naja or the Indian cobra whose poi son is neurotoxic, The Naja Hannah or the king cobra which can grow up to 4,270mm in length. Its venom is much more than the ordinary cobra but is, nevertheless, neurotoxic, the common Indian krait is one whose poison would need only 6 milligrams to kill a man (as against the cobra's 12 mg). A person, bitten by this snake and left untreated quickly does not really feel the pain nor find any swelling: he merely sleeps to death, the coral snake, the Hydrophis caer-ulescens is a sea snake whose venom is extremely toxic.
curtus is another sea snake found on the beaches of Goa.
The 'mandol' of Goa has fangs that are nearly a centimetre in length while its venom is vasotoxic which leads its victim's blood clotting level considerably; and this, in turn, gives rise to considerable pain for the victim, coupled with bleeding of gums, nose, kidney etc. Unlike other snakes, this snake lays young snakes (and not eggs).
Saw scalled viper is the common 'Phurshen' snake of Goa. This snake's victim has side reactions which can go on up to 24 hours after the bite.
Bamboo Pit Viper grows up to 7,5000mm in length and three inches in girth. As its name signifies, it is often found in the bamboo region and its venom is vasotoxic.
Despite Goa’s small size, the ststes unique geographical and environmental variations allows for an incredible variety of fauna, but some species now occur in only very small numbers. The forests areas of the ghats have traditionally provided a habitat for some extremely rare animals. Goa is particularly notable for its spectacular birdlife.
Although Goa Tourism's brochures would have you believe differently, wild elephants are rarely found in the state's forests nowadays. Most members of the cat family are now extremely rare too, and sightings of tigers and leopards known as panthers in India - are few and far between.
More common in this family is the jungle cat, which is about 60cm long excluding the tail. Notable for its long limbs and short tail, it is able to kill animals larger than itself. Also common are small Indian civets and common palm civets. Among the dog family, jackals, striped hyenas and wild dogs are occasionally sighted.
Goa has two common types of monkey that are frequently seen - bonnet macaques and common langurs. Much less commonly seen are slender loris, which are occasionally found in the dense forests of Molem and Canacona. There are also very occasional sightings of sloth bears, which can grow up lo 1.5m long and generally feed on bees and termites.
Other more frequently seen inhabitants are common mongooses, which are found near settlements, and common otters and smooth Indian otters, both of which are seen near water. The Western Ghats are also home to Indian giant squirrels, which are found in the forests of Molem, Valpoi and Canacona. Other relatives in Goa are three striped palm squirrels, five-striped palm squirrels and flying squirrels.
Among the animals to be found at ground level are common Indian porcupines and the wild boar, both of which are notorious for damaging crops. Particularly common are the large Indian bison or gaur. The animals you're most likely to see in Goa's wildlife sanctuaries are sambars and chitals, both species of deer. One of the rarer animals to inhabit Goa's forests today are nocturnal pangolins, otherwise known as scaly anteaters.
Common dolphins are found off the coastline and can often be seen on 'dolphin spotting' boat tours.
Reptiles & Amphibians
The ubiquitous common house gecko is often seen in buildings at night feeding off insects attracted to light. Snakes are common in Goa but the only place you're likely to see one is in a snake charmer's basket al a market.
Among the nonpoisonous variety are common blind snakes. Much higher in the Ghats, locally named torava snakes grow up to 50cm in length and are notable lor their yellowish colouring and rough tails. Indian pythons arc undoubtedly the largest of the snakes found in (ina, they have been known to grow up to 4.5m in lenth..
There are relatively few venomous snakes in Goa. The most distinctive are cobras, which are found near the coast and inland. There are three common varieties, as well as the much larger (and now rare) king cobras.
The common varieties can grow to more 1.5m in length, and the venom is likely in lethal if not treated quickly with antivenin Common Indian kraits are more poisons still, needing only half the volume of poison injected by a cobra to kill a human adult.
Mention also needs to be given to the sea snakes known locally as kusadas. Although common along the coastline and extremelypoisonous, they are very timid and their fangs are so far back that they rarely get enough grip to give a proper bite. Dead kusadm occasionally seen on the beach where the rumponkars throw them. Since they are completely adapted for life in the water, they cannot move on land, and if stranded, will die.
Goa has a small population of other reptiles including two species of crocodile. A though rare, it is still possible to see these along the banks of a few inland waterway and several companies advertise 'crocodile spotting' trips by motorboat along likely stretches.
Freshwater turtles are found throught the state and Goa is also a traditional breeding ground for marine turtles, which struggle ashore between October and December lay their eggs in the sand. The survival these amazing animals is growing increasingly doubtful, not only because more more ofl Goa's beaches are being turned over to tourism, but also because the eggs are highly valued by the local ramponkars.
Although Goa's flora and fauna may see impressive on the page, you really have to know what you are looking for to appreciate the variety. Not so with the birdlife; keen birdwatchers will be in seventh heaven and even those who have previously had little interest in birds will wonder at the richness
A trip to the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary on Chorao Island is recommended. Other sites of interest are the wetlands at Canu bolim (12km east of Panaji), at Shiroda (40km southeast of Panaji) and even the marshland south of the Baga River.
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