The idea of seeing a wild tiger up close can be very scary if you have time to react. The second tiger we spotted was the 22 month old girl cub, and she too isn’t named yet. This time we weren’t first row and we had limited time to see her pass by in front of us.
What surprises you at first is the amount of wildlife, monkeys, birds, boar and spotted deer, sambar deer and antelope. Plenty of food for the tigers to eat and everywhere you look there were animals feeding, walking or jumping.
In zone 4 there is a watering hole, a smallish lake with grass to encourage tigers to hunt and hide. Tigers once they kill prey they drag it into the grass to be discrete and avoid any unwanted predators.
Tigers work hard to find their prey and they are very comfortable and calm when hunting, using the utmost patience while ignoring whatever is going on around them. They have jungle confidence as they are at the top of the feeding cycle here.
It almost seems unnatural and strange to be sitting beside multiple vehicles, however this happens mostly when tigers are in the area and visitors packed into jeeps are anxious to spot a tiger. The viewings are limited as we watch people all huddled together in park vehicles. Waiting for the roar of a deer, (not a tiger) to alert the other wild life of the presence of a tiger. We take advantage of this to located tigers because once you know a tiger is in the area you have a good chance to find it.
The deer are always eating, its none stop and they are either picking off the ground or in the water feasting on grass. You would think they are easy prey for a hungry tiger but the sense of smell of a sambar deer is tremendous. They are often confused with the Elk due to the bulky body and long, thin legs. They also have very long antlers that can get sharp but that doesn’t help them in defending a tiger attack.
Due to the very large size of it, the sambar Deer will eat lots of food every single moment of the day. They travel and form small herds of no more than six members. Generally it will be one male and several females. However, you will find all female herds as well as many bachelor herds of young males. They have amazing senses of both hearing and smell. When they feel that their herd is in danger they will give of a wild sound one that is very similar to a car theft device.
It’s almost as if we don’t exist for the tigers, their focus is feeding and a jeep with people smothered in it, is just too large a challenge for the tigers. But I can tell you, if you encounter close up a tiger, it will scare the shit right out of you. /news about that later/
The deer are nervous and seem always on edge, staying on their tippy-toes not to get eaten by a tiger, but for the tiger its a waiting game. Tigers are patient, fast but cannot run long distances or climb into trees easily. These are the spotted deer and there are ample herds everywhere you look.
The most annoying animals are the monkeys and they seem to sit around chewing, picking or just observing the visitors. Beware that some monkeys can get close and can be aggressive – I hate them. The simple rule is; stay alert and never underestimate wildlife and especially an animal that is hungry, and never underestimate the jungle mischief of a monkey.