The Tree Whisperer!

by Basavanna H S
Basavanna H S

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

Like all cats, leopards have scent glands not just in the anal region but also on the face. By rubbing his face against the sapling this leopard is leaving a wealth of chemical data, which can be deciphered by another passing leopard.

The leopard is one of the key predators of Bandipur Tiger Reserve. It is elusive, graceful and an expert at climbing trees. It has fantastic camouflage, making it difficult even for a trained eye to spot this spotted cat. Over the years, I have seen many a leopard by following pugmarks or alarm calls, and every sighting has been a learning experience.

Including watching this male, which is rather bold and doesn’t seem to mind the safari vehicles. This individual hunts even when it is full, and I’ve seen it kill 2 sambar deer on the same day.

While on safari one day, we saw it scent-marking its territory. It stood braced against this sapling as though attempting to climb it! What on earth was it trying to do? Actually, like all cats, leopards too have scent glands not just in the anal region but also on the face and paws. This leopard was just advertising his scent in every way possible — comprehensive information that another leopard would be able to ‘download’ from the sapling.

About the author

Basavanna H S
Basavanna H S is a naturalist at Jungle Lodges & Resorts, Bandipur (Bandipur Safari Lodge).


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