Feb 28

Today marks the 26th anniversary of National Science Day in India. With lectures, debates and activities held across the country on all things science, it’s the perfect time to take a virtual trip to this species-rich country on the ARKive blog. Let’s see if you knew all these species were found in India!

Probing proboscis

Green sawfish photoGreen sawfish swimming

Check out the nose on this guy! Very few fish are as easily spotted as the green sawfish. With its 23-27 pairs of teeth, the sawfish ambushes its prey by sitting upon the ocean floor and swiping at slow-moving fish as they swim by.

Turtle titan

Batagur photo

Close up of a batagur

Keeping with the theme of critters with unusual noses, the batagur is one of Asia’s largest freshwater turtles. Sadly, nearly 90% of the population has been lost in the last century to egg harvesting and the demand for turtle meat. If you ever see turtle on the menu, give this species a helping hand and order something else.

Fast feline

Caracal photo

Caracal cub

Don’t let it fool you, the caracal may not be the biggest of cats, but it’s capable of taking down prey three times its size. Another interesting fact? The caracal is so efficient with water that it hardly ever needs to drink and obtains most of its fluids from its food.

Fancy fowl

Indian peafowl photo

Male Indian peafowl displaying impressive tail feathers

Did you know that the Indian peafowl, otherwise known as the peacock, is the national bird of India. Interestingly, peacocks are among the few bird species that do not migrate and tend to stay in the same location for life. Talk about a homebody!

Hefty heifer

Asian buffalo photo

Female Asian buffalo wallowing in muddy pool

You might recognize this face from photographs of India. The Asian buffalo is widely domesticated for use in farming but what you might not know is that it can weigh over a ton. Additionally, Asian buffalos have the longest gestation period of any other bovine species – lasting nearly a whole year!

Who knew that India was home to such diverse species? Do you have a favorite species from India that we haven’t featured? Better yet, have you been to India and seen one of these with your own eyes? We’d love to hear about it!

Liana Vitali, ARKive Science, Education and Outreach Officer, Wildscreen USA