Come monsoon season; it is the best time to go out exploring for reptiles & amphibians, and we at Wild India Eco Tours decided to visit Amboli this time. Mixed with rain & fog, the weather was fantastic throughout; add to it some fantastic sightings of 6 snake species including the Cat Snake & Striped Coral Snake; over 10 frog species including the Malabar gliding frog, Dancing frog & Amboli toad; 4 species of Geckos, over 20 species of birds and a variety of orchids, flowers, moths, butterflies, spiders & numerous insects species.
We visited Amboli twice in this monsoon, once in start of July, and then again in end of August. While early July was filled with heavy rains, August was completely foggy; both trips yielding some fantastic sightings and photographic opportunities. Here is how Amboli welcomes you 🙂
For starters, Amboli is a quaint hill station in the Sindhudurg district of south Maharashtra. Amboli lies in the Sahayadri hills of Western India, which is one of the world’s “Eco Hot-Spots” and hence is filled with a variety of flora and fauna. The tours focussed on sighting of reptiles, amphibians & other nocturnal species and hence were tailored accordingly; with night trails going upto 2:00 am.
We got to spend good time with most of the snake species we sighted, especially the Cat snake (2), Malabar pit viper (3) & Green vine snake (5). The best moment amongst all was coming across the Cat snake trying hard to swallow a Forest lizard alive! That was some wildlife moment for sure.
We sighted over 10 species of frogs included the tiny yet beautiful Dancing frog along with Malabar gliding frog and the beautiful Bicolored frog. We also got to see the eggs of Amboli bush frog (with the froglets in it) and a fresh egg clutch of the Wrinkled frog. Some of the other frogs species sighted included the Amboli leaping frog, Cricket frog, Burrowing frog & Bombay bush frog.
Geckos & Skinks
The various geckos sighted included the beautiful Banded gecko (1), Prashad’s gecko (6), Brooke’s gecko (3) and the tiny yet beautiful Day gecko (3). While exploring the plateau, we also came across the Snake-eyed Skink.
Spiders, moths, butterflies, insects & flora
While our prime targets were the snakes, frogs & geckos; we also had our eyes open for any other species & flora as well; and we did come across a lot of them. The most special one being the Tarantula species from Amboli – Neoheterophrictus amboli (discovered recently in 2014). Other highlights included sighting around a dozen of Ceropegia Jainii, Ground & Toothbrush Orchids, Hawk moth, wild mushrooms, the glowing Bioluminescent fungi, a Red-spotted Duke and a Malabar raven roosting at night.
Note: In-case we have identified any species incorrectly, do let us know and we shall correct it immediately.
Coming to the best part of our tours, the participants. Being part of Wild India Eco Tours; meeting like-minded nature loving people, sharing knowledge & learning more about nature is what we love (apart from the nature experiences of-course); and as with most of our tours – we had great time hosting all of you (Rohan, Nikhil, Sudha, Jayanti ma’am, Amrendra, Saiprasad & Akshata). Dedicating this image of Bioluminescent fungi we made during the tour to all of you, hoping to host you again.
How to reach
Once you are on the Mumbai – Bangalore highway road, drive till Nipani. After Nipani, take right atop the small Tawandi ghat. Once you take the right, you need to drive for another 70 odd kms to reach Amboli. Google maps is pretty accurate and we followed the instructions all along.
Another option is to arrive to Sawantwadi via train and you have multiple options to reach Amboli (shared taxi, rickshaw, bus).
1. Ensure you carry rain cover / protective gear for your camera equipment
2. Always carry a poncho / jacket and also an umbrella.
3. Do keep an eye for the leeches, leech socks are good to have.
4. Do not litter and keep the place clean.
Thanks for reading. We would love to host you in our tours in future, do visit and subscribe to www.wild-india.in to know more about our upcoming tours.
– Rudraksha & Shraddha