Goa has a rich bio-diversity of domestic and wildlife animals abounding within its state's geographical boundaries. Many a time's domestic animals such as cows & buffaloes are cherished as humans can benefit directly from their domestication. There is a love-hate relationship existing with the wild animals especially when wild animals and human's cris cross in their respective boundaries. Snakes are loved by some and loathed by many, mainly because of lack of wildlife education.

Very less known too many, Goa is one of the few places in India where cultural gems such as active worship of crocodiles, tigers and snakes are still practiced. India has a long history of almost 200 years of history in studies of Herpetology (the science of the study of amphibians & reptiles especially snakes).



Sir Amrut Singhbal Singh, self dedicated and self motivated animal lover and animal rescuer has this to say about his love & knowledge about snakes. "Contrary to belief, snakes are deaf and they hunt for their prey with the aid of sight, chemical smells and also by heat sensing ability. Most of the snakes keep on flickering their "bifid" tongues, which are directly connected to a special & strong sensory organ, located on the roof of the mouth, called the Jacobson's organ. Snakes such as Pit Vipers and pythons have very effective thermal receptors around their lips which help them to easily detect warm blooded life around them."

According to Sir Amrut Singh, three types of species of crocodilians are found in India. There are three different types of crocodiles in India - the marsh or 'mugger' crocodile, which has the broadest snout of all crocodiles; the saltwater crocodile; and the gharial crocodile. In Goa, Amrut further elaborates that Mugger crocodiles or Crocodylus Palustris exists in the Opa River and also in the brackish waters of Cumbarjua Canal. Another unique thing about the crocodiles of Goa is that these Mugger crocodiles are actually freshwater crocodiles but they have adapted themselves to the saline mangrove eco-system as the salty waters of the Arabian Sea enter into their habitat.

Recently, in the animal census conducted by the Government of Goa, Forest Department shows positive signs of Goa having its own mini population of the Tiger cat family.

The Olive Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys Olivacea) visits the western coast of India along the beaches of Goa at Morgim Beach. Besides Morgim beach, in North Goa, Galgibag and Agonda in South Goa are the three main nesting sites of the Olive Ridley"s in Goa. Other than Goa, the only other state in India where the Olive Ridley Turtles nesting sites are spotted is in the coast of Orissa.

Wildlife to prosper and be protected need wild areas. Known to few people, Goa is blessed with a large forest cover area in proportion to its total land area. The state has 38.5 % of its land under forest cover, which is much higher than the national average. In absolute terms, 1,424.38 sq. km. of area is under forest, of which 1,224.38 sq. km. is government forest and 200 sq. km. is private forest. Topographically, the state of Goa consists of three narrow strips, viz. the coastal belt, the middle plateau and the uplands. Of these the uplands constitute the greatest extent of forest, which fall in the Western Ghats areas running through almost parallel to the Western Coast of the peninsula. The entire forest cover of Goa is part of the Sahyadri landscape or more commonly known as the Western Ghats. Wildlife is abounding and flourishing within these areas.

Goa's wildlife sanctuaries include the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Mollem Wildlife Sanctuary, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary, Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary located on the island of Chorao. Goa's wildlife sanctuaries boast of more than 1512 documented species of plants, over 275 species of birds, over 48 kinds of animals and over 60 genera of reptiles. Foxes, wild boars and migratory birds are found in the jungles of Goa. The avifauna includes kingfishers, mynas and parrots.

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