Tiger and Civet, Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, Karnataka

Vinay NP

Vinay NP
The large male tiger looked upwards, seemingly trying to smell something

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

Animal behaviour is endlessly fascinating, and each day can lead to new observations in the jungle. Civets are known to exude a strong odour from their anal glands, and perhaps this is what the tiger picked up.

Nagarahole Tiger Reserve offers a variety of habitats with its mix of dry and moist deciduous forests. It is one of the best places to experience a wildlife safari full of surprises and thrills. 

On a cool February afternoon in 2020, we were all excited to see a huge male tiger resting on the bund of a waterhole. Initially he appeared to be very calm. But soon he seemed a bit uneasy and stood looking up at the trees, seemingly trying to smell something. We couldn’t understand his behaviour.  After a while, the tiger decided to move on. It was then that our attention was drawn towards a small mammal resting on a tree – an Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus)!

The palm civet is nocturnal, primarily moving about after dusk. Seeing it in broad daylight was indeed a rare sighting. But we couldn’t fathom why its presence made the tiger uncomfortable!

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