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SUNDERBAN TIGER TENTS
ABOUT SUNDERBAN TIGER TENTS   TOUR DETAILS   SUNDERBAN FLORA, FAUNA & ANIMALS   CULTURAL UNIQUENESS

FLORA OF SUNDERBANS:

Sunderbans mostly comprises of mangrove forests. Mangroves are salt-tolerant plants occurring in the tropical and sub-tropical intertidal estuarine regions, sheltered coastline and tidal creeks. Sunderbans are the largest mangrove reserve in the world. The specialties of mangrove plants are that they are inundated by salt water during high tides. Hence to adapt to these adverse situation the plants develop negatively geotropic breathing roots which occurs vertically from the ground. These roots are known as pneumatophores. There are more than 80 species of mangrove in Sunderbans including the mangrove associates and the true mangrove species.

Some of the common mangroves are listed below:
Hatal(Phoenix paludosa)
Genwa
(Excoecaria agallocha)
 Dhundul
(Xylocarpus granatum)
 Kankra
(Bruguirea gymnorrhiza)
Champa(Bruguiera parviflora)
Dhani ghas
(Porteresia coarctata)
 Garjan
(Rhizophora apiculata)
 Keora
(Sonneratia apelata)
Sundari tree(Heritiera fomes)
Golpati(Nypa frutcans)
FAUNA OF SUNDERBANS:

Sunderban has rich faunal diversity. Nature in its pristine form exists here. The mangrove forests of Sunderban consist of a complex eco-system. Sunderban is rich in wildlife. It is mainly because the forests of Sunderban is protected by the government and hence it is more or less undisturbed especially the core area.
ANIMALS:

The Sunderbans provide ideal habitat to a number of species. Some of important animals of the Sunderbans are listed below.
" BENGAL TIGER (Panthera tigris tigris)
The Bengal tiger is the national animal of India. The Sunderbans is the single largest home of the Bengal tiger. It is the icon species of Sunderbans and of India. At present there are about 250-300 tigers in Sunderban. This is the nominate species of the eight sub-species of tigers found in the world. Tigers are the apex predators of this mangrove eco-system. They are right at the top of the food chain. The Sunderban tigers are extraordinary beasts. Perfectly at home both on land and water, it is known to cross more than one river at time to find food. Whether the Sunderban tigers have well marked territory is still a debatable issue. However it seems that the tiger is ready to explore new territory in order to find food and shelter. This unfortunately brings it in conflict with human being as the tiger enters village to prey on livestock mainly due to shortage of food. However people are less susceptible to tiger attacks in inhabited areas than those who enter tiger territory in the forest. No doubt this top predator is full of mysteries.
The Sunderban tiger preys mainly on cheetal or spotted deer, wild boar, goats and livestock. It is a nocturnal and ambush predator.
However the tiger is rarely seen even by the experts. This is because of the perfect camouflage of the tiger and the dense mangrove swamps forms a formidable fortress in which the tiger rules supreme.
On the whole it may be said that the Sunderban tigers differs from tigers of the other parts of the world in many ways than one. And there is a lot to be studied about this illusive beast.
" JUNGLE CAT (Felis chaus)
This is a stout bodied cat found in Sunderbans. A nocturnal animal which preys on small animals. This cat is often met with in Sunderbans. It is a good climber and an ambush predator.
" LEOPARD CAT(Felis bengalensis)
This cat is an agile climber and a good swimmer. It preys on birds, bats, hares and fawns.
" FISHING CAT (Prionailurus viverrina)
This is a powerfully built cat. It is a nocturnal predator and an expert swimmer. It is known to dive in water to catch fish hence the name. It also preys on small and medium size animals such as wild pigs and cheetal fawns.
" WILD BOAR (Sus scrofa)
This animal is often seen in Sunderbans. This is a heavily built animal. It is basically a herbivore but is also known to take small animals, insects and even carrion. This animal also acts as a prey species for the tiger.
" CHEETAL OR SPOTTED DEER (Axis axis)
This is the only deer found in Sunderban. It is also the most common deer in India. It is a herbivore. This animal is the major prey for the tigers. It is commonly seen near water holes.
" COMMON OTTER (Lutra lutra)
This is the species of otter found in Sunderbans. It is found in water bodies like rivers and tidal creeks. It is omnivorous but feeds mainly on fish.
" ESTUARINE CROCODILE (Crocodylus porosus)
This is another species which is critically endangered due to poaching and loss of habitat. However this is an animal commonly seen in Sunderbans. It is often seen in rivers, tidal creeks and mud banks basking in the sun. This is a large sized reptile. Like the Bengal tiger it is a fearsome predator. It is nocturnal. It is another ambush hunter. Although it feeds mainly on fish and crabs it is also known to bring down sufficiently large animals.
" WATER MONITOR LIZARD (Varanus salvator)
This is the largest lizard in India and one of the largest in the world. In Sunderbans it is easily seen inhabiting the water holes. They have a bulky body and move like miniature dinosaurs. They have a stout tail which they use for self defense. They also have sharp teeth and claws to tear flesh. This is an oppertunatunistic species and prey on fishes, frogs, small mammals, crustaceans, snakes and eggs. They also feed on carrion.
" KING COBRA (Ophiophagus hannah)
This is snake which is quite rare but found in Sunderbans. This is the largest venomous snake in the world growing to over 18 feet in length. It is a venomous reptile but very few people are actually bitten by the king cobra. So human fatalities are rare. It produces huge amount of venom. The staple food of this species of snakes is other snakes. It has a hood which is narrower than the typical cobra.
" MONOCELLATE COBRA (Naja kaouthia)
It is a common snake of Sunderbans. It is venomous. It is nocturnal and prey on rodents mainly, frogs, toads. It is also known to swallow eggs. It is easy to identify as it has a distinct hood which possesses a disc shaped mark on the back.

" COMMON RAT SNAKE (Ptyas mucosus)
This is a common snake of India and of Sunderbans. It is non-venomous. It is commonly seen in agricultural fields, forests and in haystacks. This is a snake which seems to benefit from human proximity. Although known as the rat snake it also takes frogs, toads, small birds and even other snakes besides rodents.
" COMMON KRAIT (Bungarus caeruleus)
This is the most venomous snake in India. This is strictly nocturnal snake. It feeds mainly on snakes.
" BLACK CAPPED KINGFISHER (Halcyon pileata)
This is a common bird of the Sunderbans. Seen frequently on river banks. It feeds mainly on fish and crabs.
" GOLIATH HERON (Ardea goliath)
This common bird of Sunderbans is huge in appearance. It is a solitary creature. It feeds mainly on fish and frogs.
" LESSER ADJUTANT STORK (Leptoptilos javanicus)
Normally solitary. Feeds on fish, frogs and reptiles.
" BRAMHINY KITE (Haliastur indus)

This is a raptor which is often found besides water bodies such as lakes, pools, ponds and rivers. It feeds on fish, frogs, snakes, small mammals and bats.
In addition to this sunderban has few species of sharks the most common being the Indian Dog shark (Scoliodon laticaudus). There are also dolphins to be found in Sunderbans the most common being the Gangetic dolphin (Platinista gangetica).

There are also turtles to be found in Sunderban like the River Terrapin (Batagur baska) and marine turtles like Olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olvacea) , Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Hawksbill Turtle (Eritmochelys olivacea).
Among Crustaceans one can see the fiddler crab, hermit crab, mud crab and the king crab.
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