Thursday, February 2, 2017

Travel: Explore Karnataka's Agumbe rainforest, where the snake is king

King Cobra. pics courtesy/ vrinda menon, shyam siddharth, tsn39
King Cobra. pics courtesy/ vrinda menon, shyam siddharth, tsn39

"A trip to Agumbe is like a combo pack of wildlife exploration and trekking through dense jungle," says Nilesh Patil, co-founder of Trek Mates India, which will be leading a trip into the rainforest next week.

Green Wine
Green Wine

Agumbe is located in Karnataka, in the beautiful Western Ghats, which are home to lush greenery, gushing waterfalls, and diverse flora and fauna. The bounteous nature here makes Agumbe an enticing pick not just for trekkers, but also for wildlife photographers and enthusiasts.

The roads that snake through Agumbe
The roads that snake through Agumbe

If you're travelling from Mumbai, you will be making your way to Agumbe by car from Udupi railway station. After settling into your tent, you ready to explore the forest. "After nightfall, we will set out on walks to look for amphibians and nocturnal mammals like the flying squirrel and slender loris," says Patil.

Nilesh Patil
Nilesh Patil

The next day begins with a trek under the thick canopy of the forest, in search of more insects, reptiles, amphibians and birds. Patil shares that there will also be a session on first aid for snake bites, which is a must for wildlife lovers and trekkers.

"On the last day, after a nature trail through the jungle, we will have an introduction to the snakes of Agumbe, and ecology of king cobras," says Patil. Here's what to expect on this trip.

ON: February 10 to 12
AT: Agumbe, Shimoga, Karnataka.
CALL 8422888006
COST: Rs 10,500 (inclusive of food, accommodation and transport to and from Udupi)

The hills in the Region; Barking Deer
The hills in  the Region; Barking Deer

What to pack

  • Refillable water bottle
  • Power bank
  • A few ready-to-eat packs of food
  • Torch with spare batteries
  • Sturdy sports shoes with rubber sole, plus a pair of floaters
  • Long cotton socks
  • Hat or cap
  • Toiletries
  • Prescription medicines
  • ID proof
  • Full sleeve T-shirts and full length trousers
  • Camera (optional)

Did you know?

  • Several rare species of reptiles call the Agumbe rainforest their home. Among these is the king cobra, the longest venomous snake in the world. In fact, this snake could be called the 'flagship' species of Agumbe, seeing that it draws wildlife enthusiasts from across India.
  • There are also frog species such as kottigehara, bicoloured frog, and golden frog to be sighted, in addition to different types of spiders. Mammals to keep an eye out for include leopards, deer, giant squirrels, dhole, sambar, gaur, barking deer, and the endangered lion-tailed macaque.
  • Agumbe also attracts birding enthusiasts, as you can find flycatchers, hornbills, orioles, and even endemic birds like the Malabar trogon, yellow-browed bulbul and Sri Lankan frogmouth here.

Dos and Don'ts

  • Take precautions to keep off leeches, ticks, and other insects. Wear full-length clothes and, preferably, leech socks.
  • Carry salt. If a leech attaches itself to you, sprinkle this salt on it to kill it.
  • Double pack your bags, as the area gets quite misty.
  • Wear walking shoes or gumboots while exploring the area.
  • Don't wear shorts or brightly coloured clothes when you're out in the forest.
  • Don't light bonfires or play loud music — it disturbs wildlife.
  • Don't agitate or try to handle any wildlife; it could result in strict action. No flora or fauna can be brought back from the rainforest.
  • Respect the culture of the locals.

from travel

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