It’s our hope that you will appreciate this article about these 3 Remarkable Indian Mammals. Nature and the processes of evolution truly blessed this astounding portion of the globe. It teems with a wide variety of plant and animal life, of which these are just a tiny sample.
Obviously, these few select species barely scratch the surface of the marvelous creatures native to this region. It isn’t possible to adequately display the wonders of the area in this one article. We hope that learning about these few will whet your appetite for more.
Rusty-Spotted Cat Facts
- Leading off this article about 3 Remarkable Indian Mammals comes the only feline appearing on the list, the magnificent Rusty-Spotted Cat.
- The term for the small creature perfectly serves as the common name for this beautiful wild feline. It’s also far more pronounceable than the scientific name for the animal. That’s because that term’s the tongue-twisting name of Prionailurus rubiginosus.
- It’s held several other scientific names , though. The first scientific recognition, and naming, of the animal occurred in 1831, through the efforts of the French zoologist Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire. Several other proposed names later followed.
- Whichever name one uses for the magnificent mammal, however certain facts stand out about it. The primary one remains the fact that it’s quite a diminutive member of the cat family. In fact, it currently ranks as one of the smallest of all known wild felines.
- Sadly, like many of the species of the world, the Rusty-Spotted Cat now finds itself in peril. Its population numbers appear to be dwindling rapidly, for various reasons. As a result, the IUCN now lists the mammal as Near Threatened on its Red List.
- For the moment, habit loss appears to be the primary factor behind its decline. This occurs mainly due to its native habit being destroyed as part of cultivation efforts by humans. It also, however, now faces the threat of climate change, like other species.
Rusty-Spotted Cat Physical Description
The fabulous Rusty-Spotted Cat elegantly proves the principle that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. That’s because, by any measure, it’s a small species of feline, despite its great appeal. Nature continually demonstrates its apparent love of variety in its creations.
Like many mammals, though, this remarkable variety of wild cat displays the physiological characteristic of sexual dimorphism. It further follows the pattern of the majority of felines in that this trait primarily manifests itself in terms of sheer physical size.
More precisely, the males attain a greater average body weight than the females. That difference, however, remains comparatively minor. A male reaches an average body weight of roughly 3.75 lb (1.7 kg.) The slightly smaller female, meanwhile, averages about 3.1 lb (1.4 kg).
In terms of overall appearance, though, the genders appear essentially indistinguishable. Typically, the fur develops as quite short, and mainly displays a brownish color across most of the body. It further shows a mild rusty tinge, hence the common name.
The animal does, though, present a different pattern on the throat and the underside of the body. There, the fur develops as a light white. It’s also marked with random dark stripes and spots. Typically, individuals also have four dark stripes extending back from over the eyes.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Carnivora
- Family: Felidae
- Genus: Prionailurus
- Species: P. rubiginosus
Rusty-Spotted Cat Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Lamentably, the Rusty-Spotted Cat only appears to inhabit a very small portion of the globe. In this instance, that region covers a tiny section of the continent of Asia. More specifically, the only known habitat range of the animal consists of portions of Sri Lanka and India.
Its main habitat remains very specific in nature. The majority of individuals appear in regions of relatively dry forests. In recent years, however, small groups have begun to appear in agricultural areas inhabited by humans. The exact reason for this remains unknown.
Yet its adaptability does not end there. Perhaps in response to human encroachment on its natural territory, groupings now appear to be expanding their range. In fact, a few scattered individuals now inhabit both tropical and semi-arid areas.
Evidence indicates that the Rusty-Spotted Cat evolved as a mainly solitary animal. Most individuals live alone, and usually remain within clearly defined personal territories. Although mainly terrestrial in nature, it also displays tendencies toward arboreal activities.
Like its many related species, this mammal also evolved as carnivorous in nature. Given its size, its prey typically consists of smaller creatures. This largely consists of small birds and other mammals. Yet it also feeds opportunistically, including eating insects such as crickets.
Somewhat surprisingly for researchers, it appears to have no natural predators. It must be pointed out, however, that detailed studies of its habits and life cycle remain few. Most likely, it falls prey to a variety of larger carnivores sharing its native range.
Indian Giant Squirrel
Indian Giant Squirrel Facts
- Next up among the choices for inclusion on this list of 3 Remarkable Indian Mammals comes the physically and visually impressive one named the Indian Giant Squirrel.
- Clearly, the aptly-named animal represents an extremely large variety of tree squirrel. It also sometimes goes by the alternate common name of the Malabar Giant Squirrel. Its scientific name, though, remains the hard to pronounce Ratufa indica.
- This magnificent creature owes its technical name to the German naturalist, Johann Christian Polycarp Erxleben. That’s due to the fact that he made the first formal recognition of it as a separate and distinct species. This he did in the year 1777.
- Scientists also presently acknowledge four different subspecies of the mammal. Amazingly, all of these exist on the same continent as the primary species. Though not unknown, such close association among species and subspecies remains uncommon.
- It also boasts a status that not many species can make. Within its endemic range, the animal appears to exist in fairly large numbers. Due to this pleasantly surprising fact, the IUCN currently lists the stunning animal as a Species of Least Concern.
- Unlike most related species, this stunning creature actually evolved as quite vocal. This represents yet another manner in which the Indian Giant Squirrel distinguishes itself. It also produces different sounds for such things as warnings, mating, and territorial calls.
Indian Giant Squirrel Physical Description
The Indian Giant Squirrel impresses the viewer due to more than just its incredible appearance. That’s because it also qualifies as a true giant of its kind. Somewhat surprisingly, though, it displays no noticeable degree of the physiological trait of sexual dimorphism.
Mature adults of both genders therefore attain the same general size. That’s an average body length of about 14 in (35.5 cm). The tail then adds another 24 in (61 cm). Despite its size, it does not attain a great weight. Mature adults also typically average about 4.4 lb (2 kg).
Its size alone does not make this impressive species stand out to observers. It generally presents a stunning pattern of natural coloring. This holds true due to the amazing fact that it generally presents a two-toned, and sometimes even a three-toned, color pattern.
The amazing coloring of the Indian Giant Squirrel does not stop there. Its exact pattern and combinations of colors also varies between individuals. These, though, most commonly consist of shades of tan, buff, rust, brown, and even, on rare occasions, a creamy-beige.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Rodentia
- Family: Sciuridae
- Genus: Ratufa
- Species: R. indica
Indian Giant Squirrel Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Most unfortunately, the almost kaleidoscopic Indian Giant Squirrel evolved as endemic to a comparatively limited section of the globe. More precisely, the fabulous rodent inhabits a specific portion of Asian. That’s the region now known as the country of India.
More specifically, this range consists of the peninsular part of the country. That range is restricted, though, only extending as far north as the Madhya Pradesh. There, however, the wonder of Nature thankfully evolved a highly helpful versatility in regards to its habitat.
That’s because the visually breathtaking animal actually thrives in several different habitat types within that area. Due to this, it appears in evergreen forests, deciduous forests, and mixed forests, as well. This adaptability also sets it apart from related species.
This marvel of evolution also spends the vast majority of its time in the upper canopy of its region. In point of fact, the living kaleidoscope rarely ever descends form this location. Instead, it moves from tree to tree with great leaps, that can be as much as 20 ft (6 m).
Some of the subspecies of the creature evolved as omnivorous in nature. The Indian Giant Squirrel itself, however, has a herbivorous diet. It mainly feeds on various nuts, flowers, fruit, and tree bark. In turn, it itself mainly falls prey to leopards and birds of prey.
- Closing out this compilation of 3 Remarkable Indian Mammals is the one in the most precarious position of the three, the marvelous deer named the Sangai.
- The short and surprisingly simple term of Sangai serves as one of the common names for a subspecies of brown-antlered deer. As is the case with many species, however, this gorgeous mammal also goes by a few other common, locally used names.
- To be precise, three terms stand out, in addition to the generally accepted one. These alternate terms include those of the dancing deer, Eld’s Deer, and the Manipur brown-antlered deer. Its scientific name, however, remains the term of Rucervus eldii eldii.
- Even local residents had rarely seen it previously. The first recognition of this amazing creature by a non-native of its region occurred in the year 1838. Lt. Eldi Percy, an assistant political agent, made the initial recognition of the fabulous deer.
- One of the alternate names of the Sangai honors him for that well-deserved recognition. The first acknowledgement of the impressive animal as a member of a newly-recognized species in a scientific publication occurred in 1841.
- Unfortunately, the magnificent Sangai now also finds itself in a highly perilous situation. This occurs due to the facts that it has only a small population, and a highly restricted range. For these reasons, the IUCN now lists the species as Endangered.
- Consequently, this status appears on the organization’s Red List of Threatened Species. Although habitat loss definitely constitutes a danger, it nonetheless must deal with other threats. Likely, its greatest threat comes from climate change.
Sangai Physical Description
The Sangai also remains an impressive species. Tt does not earn this distinction based on size, though. In terms of measurements, it ranks as a medium-sized variety of deer. Like many related species, it also displays a respectable degree of the trait of sexual dimorphism.
It manifests these in three ways. Firstly, only the males possess antlers. This applies to all types of deer, except for the Reindeer. Secondly, the males attain a slightly greater height at the shoulder than females. Thirdly, the males reach a greater weight than the females.
Both genders display a reddish brown color in winter. This turns lighter in summer. Males average 45.3 – 51 in (115- 130 cm) in height, and 198 – 275 lb (90 – 125 kg) in weight. But females average 35.4 – 39.4 in (90 – 100 cm) in height, and 132 – 176 lb (60 – 80 kg) in weight.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Artiodactyla
- Family: Cervidae
- Genus: Rucervus
- Species: R. e. eldii
Sangai Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The Sangai inhabits an extraordinarily limited area of the world. The creature also appears in a restricted section of Asia. More specifically, though, the remarkably stunning animal only lives in the region on the southeastern shore of Loktak Lake, in India.
Within this range, the creature has specific needs for its choice of habitat. The mammal also only lives on and around the floating biomass, called phumdi, unique to this area. Fortunately, the entirety of this region now forms part of the Keibul Lamjao National Park.
Quite understandably, the minor size of its habitation area limits its options. The entire park only covers an area of roughly 15.4 sq mi (40 sq km). Yet, the fabulous animal itself only dwells within a portion of this, in an area only covering about half the total area of the park.
This regrettable further restriction occurs given its dependence on the phumdis. Sadly, these plants only appear in this area. Here, the Sangai lives an entirely herbivorous life. It feeds on a variety of local grasses, herbaceous plants, and various roots.
By day, the great majority of individuals generally rest under tall reeds and grasses. Before the enactment of various protective measures, the gorgeous animal nearly became extinct. Now, its numbers have thankfully risen to an estimated 260 individuals.
3 Remarkable Indian Mammals
We sincerely hope that you have thoroughly enjoyed this article about these 3 Remarkable Indian Mammals. Certainly, each of these choices deserves our appreciation. Nature has, after all, invested millions of years in their evolution to the wonders we see today.
Sadly, though, they and many of their fellow denizens of this fabulous region, and indeed the world, now find themselves facing great peril. It remains up to each and every one of us to do all that we can to protect and preserve these natural wonders for the future.