I hike in Western Ghats, Maharashtra, India. Most of the times the hike involves walking/climbing in day time and resting/sleeping, often in caves/unmanned temples/shaks of some kind at night. Sometimes the hike involves walking at night. I wonder which dangerous wild animals (predatory/non predatory) should I be worried about. What precautions should I take to avoid getting too close/alerting them.

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    This seems like an odd question, since you are native to this area and should know better than foreigners. But still, I can google some information on which dangerous wild animals can be ancountered in Western Ghats, which I have found to be all of them: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Ghats#Fauna - I mean dude... the biggest mammal I could encoutner are deer, and there just live 2 kind of snakes in my country, just one of them is mildly venomous. But you have Tigers, Elephants, Crocodiles, snakes, probably all kinds of freak insects and even plants that are out to kill you. Be careful
    – Peter1807
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 6:41
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    You do have to keep your wits about you in the Ghats. I've only had a few short wanders, but (1) was attacked by a group of monkeys who stole the food I was eating (2) was approached by some villagers who showed me a cobra the thickness of my arm sunning itself on a wood-pile, (3) had to help a friend who was stung by a scorpion while putting up his tent. And that was in a deforested area of Maharashtra largely denuded of its wildlife.(I've been visiting that area for 40 years, and the deforestation over that time is nothing short of tragic...) Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 19:33
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    @Tullochgorum I can relate your experience with monkeys, they are a nuisance especially where humans ( mostly tourists ) flock in large numbers and feed them
    – Captain
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 12:42
  • @Captain - yes, it was near a resort where I suspect the monkeys had learned to expect food. The attack was very well organised - two young males came straight at me to distract me, while a female with a baby on her back nipped in to grab the food. I only lasted three or four seconds max. I wasn't touched, but it wasn't a fun experience. Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 14:36

1 Answer 1


I've hiked the Ghats in Maharashtra, Tamilnadu and Kerala without issues, but did take sensible precautions. The most dangerous animals are gaur (wild relatives of cattle), boar, snakes, and elephants. Each requires its own precautions, but most will happily get out of your way if they know that you are coming.

In areas with known Gaur populations, use extreme caution. I'd recommend not travelling by foot in those areas. If you must hike in those areas, make some noise so that they can hear you coming.

Boar are mostly crepuscular (active near dawn and dusk) and can be very grumpy if surprised or if they are defending their babies. Again, make some noise so that you don't surprise them. You can often smell them before you can see them.

Snakes require attention while you are hiking. They are most likely to sense your presence by feeling the vibrations of your footsteps. Be especially careful if you are hiking in areas with lots of leaf litter, where it will be difficult for them to detect your footsteps. Watch ahead of you, and do not step or reach into brush or tussocks of grass. Brown cobras are especially fond of hiding in the vegetation.

Wild elephants are increasingly rare but can be a problem in some very wild areas (such as Mudumalai). Should you encounter elephants, back up slowly and calmly. Do not run from a false charge (ears out and trunk up), but seek cover immediately from a real charge (ears back and trunk tucked up under the chin).

When camping, the usual morning precautions are in order--shake out your boots before putting them on and shake out your bedding before rolling it up.

The chances of coming upon these creatures are slim, and they will (almost without exception) give way if you have announced your presence. Be alert and enjoy your hikes.

Wish I was there right now.

  • Till now I have seen scorpions, snakes, deers. Once I came across a herd of Gaur, I found them more aggressive than the others. Thumbs up for making noise to alert them of your arrival.
    – Captain
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 12:45

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