I was driving up to my field station (trying to keep a low profile to avoid the poochandi who haunted the hairpin bends). As I turned on one of the hairpin bends and started accelerating, I saw some kind of a gigantic black thing on the road ahead of me. I slammed on the brakes, and in the headlights through the mist I saw a huge king cobra – eating a monitor lizard.


Elephant trenches and brave dogs

The first time I saw a wild elephant herd (I was maybe 10 years old), I tried feeding them a branch of juicy leaves. Luckily I was on the right side of a well-constructed elephant trench and my grandmother was around to drag me away. More importantly, the elephants were in a good mood –…

Leopard attack

What would you do if you felt a heavy weight and sharp claws digging into your chest in the middle of the night, opened your eyes and saw a leopard’s face a couple of inches away from yours? You would probably scream very loudly. And thats exactly what a colleague did many years ago.

Do tigers drink elephant milk?

My field assistants have an interesting belief. They say that tigers are very fond of elephant milk, because it is nutritious. So when there is a young calf in an elephant herd, tigers follow that herd, in the hope of getting some milk from the lactating cow elephant. Though I think that if a tiger…

The most confused bird on the planet

The Sri Lanka Frogmouth is definitely the funniest bird that I have come across (I cant quite decide whether it is also the ugliest).  It is a nocturnal bird, found only in the Western Ghats of India and in Sri Lanka. It’s pretty difficult to spot, so I got very excited the first time I…