Where to herp in India?

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Herpy
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Where to herp in India?

Post by Herpy » September 19th, 2016, 2:24 am

Hello, I am having thoughts of making a trip to India, but I really have no idea where to start. I know there are plenty of national parks, but typically one would have to go on a guided group tour, and I really prefer to hike alone. Maybe we have some locals on the forum who can point me in the right direction?

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Paul Freed
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Re: Where to herp in India?

Post by Paul Freed » September 19th, 2016, 6:08 am

I had a great herpetological experience herping in the Western Ghats of southwest India. It's especially a hotbed for amphibians, but the reptile diversity is also fantastic. It would help to have a guide while you're there to assist with navigating and language issues. It's also advisable to plan on arriving there at the onset of the monsoon season (early June) to maximize herp diversity. The visa application is cumbersome (it's many pages of personal questions about family) as well as expensive ($150 U.S. in 2013). As you suggested, someone from that region may respond and provide you with additional help. If you would like any more info from me, feel free to P.M. me.
-Paul

Tom
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Re: Where to herp in India?

Post by Tom » September 19th, 2016, 10:39 am

Paul Freed wrote:I had a great herpetological experience herping in the Western Ghats of southwest India. It's especially a hotbed for amphibians, but the reptile diversity is also fantastic. It would help to have a guide while you're there to assist with navigating and language issues. It's also advisable to plan on arriving there at the onset of the monsoon season (early June) to maximize herp diversity. The visa application is cumbersome (it's many pages of personal questions about family) as well as expensive ($150 U.S. in 2013). As you suggested, someone from that region may respond and provide you with additional help. If you would like any more info from me, feel free to P.M. me.
-Paul
Thankfully the Indian VISA process has been streamlined significantly since you and I went - so it shouldn't be so much of an issue now.

I second the recommendation for Western Ghats and more specifically the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station. In 3 and a half days there we found 13 species of snake, including a wild king cobra. There may be the opportunity to track down their study king cobras as well. The start of the Monsoon season (around August time I think) is the best - but prepare to get rained on.

I'd agree that in the places you'd want to herp language could be an issue and I wouldn't recommend driving there...(it's orders of magnitude worse than anywhere in South East Asia or Africa I've seen). I'd contact the ARRS, maybe the Croc Bank or Gerry Martin (great guy) and see what they can suggest.

Hope that helps!

Herpy
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Re: Where to herp in India?

Post by Herpy » September 21st, 2016, 3:01 am

Thank you for your suggestions, guys. Yes, the visa application process is not too cumbersome now. As a matter of fact, I went to Thekkady, which I believe is part of the Western Ghats, last year, but from a herping standpoint it was not a great trip. I also went to Delhi earlier this year and was able to apply for the visa online. Anyhow, I might contact ARRS as suggested. I have also discovered Sanjay Ghandi National Park in Mumbai, which seems to be an easily accessible option. Any further suggestions would be most welcome.

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Chaitanya
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Re: Where to herp in India?

Post by Chaitanya » September 24th, 2016, 8:00 am

Herpy wrote:Hello, I am having thoughts of making a trip to India, but I really have no idea where to start. I know there are plenty of national parks, but typically one would have to go on a guided group tour, and I really prefer to hike alone. Maybe we have some locals on the forum who can point me in the right direction?
for protected areas in India you need permits even to enter. If you are caught without one, may god save you. In most national parks these days forest guards are ordered to shoot anyone found suspiciously walking around. drop me a mail, I can help you out with planning a herps here. Also monsoons will end soon, so I would recommend to hold onto plans for herping until next year.

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jonathan
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Re: Where to herp in India?

Post by jonathan » September 28th, 2016, 11:01 am

I can tell you where not to go. :lol:

As you've already figured out, somewhere in that Western Ghats stretch between Mumbai and Tamil Nadu is by far your best bet. There are great things I've heard about certain spots in the Northeast too, but I think you'd almost certainly have to go on an organized trip because access isn't easy. Rajasthan's deserts are the other place that gets some specific attention for interesting species you won't find anywhere else. Coming from abroad, I wouldn't recommend any of it without local, knowledgeable help somehow involved.

And, also like others have said, you're probably too late for this year.

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Fieldnotes
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Re: Where to herp in India?

Post by Fieldnotes » September 28th, 2016, 2:33 pm

I have yet to reach India, but I imagine the street markets have some interesting creatures for sale. Street herp'n, in addition to the above suggested wild locations.

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jonathan
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Re: Where to herp in India?

Post by jonathan » September 28th, 2016, 5:38 pm

Fieldnotes wrote:I have yet to reach India, but I imagine the street markets have some interesting creatures for sale. Street herp'n, in addition to the above suggested wild locations.
Not in any place I've ever been. That's SE Asia and China where you'll find that stuff. In India the predominantly Hindu/Muslim population has too many food taboos for herps to reach almost any street market that I've ever seen. The only place you'd find people eating that stuff is tribal areas, or possibly in the secrecy of their own homes.

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Fieldnotes
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Re: Where to herp in India?

Post by Fieldnotes » September 29th, 2016, 9:57 am

Bummer, India just got a bit less interesting, but the cuisine remains the best!

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Chaitanya
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Re: Where to herp in India?

Post by Chaitanya » September 30th, 2016, 3:29 am

Fieldnotes wrote:I have yet to reach India, but I imagine the street markets have some interesting creatures for sale. Street herp'n, in addition to the above suggested wild locations.
in North east you will find bushmeat available for sale. especially in small tribal villages. But even then it wont be any herps for sale only birds and mammals. Drop me a mail in case you want locations for herping in Ghats.

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