Sacred cows, monkeys, and stray dogs in India

The most curious facts about Indian animals

The most curious facts about Indian animals


The animal world for the Hindus is an integral part of their religious beliefs, with many of their four-legged animals as deities, worshipped and feared for their mischief. Some of the animals have particularly interesting and even funny stories to tell.

Dogs of India

Pregnancy syndrome from dogs

Dog bites are a worldwide phenomenon, but in the West many stray dogs are vaccinated against rabies. In India, of course, no one gets such vaccinations, so there are more than enough accidents from bitten infected dogs.

India is home to more stray dogs than any other country – tens of millions of them attack people. According to a very rough estimate, about 20,000 people die each year in India from dog attacks.

In the countryside there is a rumor that if a person is bitten by a dog, his embryo begins to grow in his body; in other words, a dog bite can impregnate a person (and not only women)!

The dog bite syndrome has become a real hysteria among a population with a low level of education, of which there is plenty in India. People who have been bitten swear that they can feel the fetus moving inside them and even begin to behave strangely, such as barking.

Instead of seeing a doctor, these people mostly turn to witch doctors, who offer them medicine to dissolve the mysterious fetus. Only then does the bitten person more or less calm down.

Monkeys of India.

Sacred animals take advantage of their position

Like some other peoples, Hindus consider monkeys to be sacred animals. This is why they are very lenient when thousands of rhesus macaques quietly roam the streets of cities, climb into homes, damage property, and steal.

These animals are incredibly dangerous because they bite hard . Hordes of monkeys rampage through populated areas. For example, the situation in cities such as New Delhi is generally catastrophic, so sometimes people try to put traps on the streets. However, these animals are so clever that they easily evade them.

In 2007, the newspapers wrote about one tragic case. A certain Savinder Singh Baiva fell off a balcony and crashed while trying to fend off an attack by the hated monkeys. Although people are attacked by macaques on a daily basis, citizens do not stop feeding them. It seems that the problem will remain a problem for a long time to come.

Pig toilets

Pigs have a reputation for being quite dirty animals, but they boast excellent intelligence. Hungry pigs can eat almost anything, including garbage and human feces.

In Goa, there are so-called pig toilets – small stone structures – toilets for people that are connected to the pig stables. Through the holes in the stable, what goes into the toilet goes in, and the pigs gratefully accept the “treats” .

In the old days these structures were used for hygiene, but with the advent of running water they were largely no longer necessary. Some such toilets are still in operation in India.

Indian birds

The crisis of the Indian pipits

Indian vultures are by nature carnivorous scavengers. Their enormous wings allow them to swoop in circles in the air for hours at a time. Their beaks are designed to tear off pieces of flesh from their prey. Despite these intimidating qualities, vultures play an important role in the ecological cycle, helping to process carrion.

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Until 20 years ago, India was teeming with vultures, with flocks of vultures circling the air, turning the sky black. But by 1999 their numbers had plummeted due to a mysterious kidney disease. By 2008, the number of vultures had dropped by 10 percent. It was later discovered that the birds were dying because of a drug, diclofenac (a painkiller that ranks with aspirin and ibuprofen).

Hindus have a deep reverence for cows and, if they notice any signs of pain, they pump them full of diclofenac. After the death of the animals, the vultures usually eat their corpses . Although vultures have one of the most advanced digestive systems on the planet, they are unable to process the medicine.

India banned diclofenac for animals in 2006, but it is still widely used. The disappearance of the Indian vultures threatens a major disaster: their place will be taken by wild dogs and rats, which carry pathogens. Vultures are indispensable carnivores in this sense, because all harmful substances in their stomachs are destroyed.

Indian tigers.

Killer Cats.

When India was inhabited by tens of thousands of these big striped cats, they were a danger, so the locals were well aware that at night you can not go far from the fire, lest you become a victim of predators.

Hunting tigers is a serious matter, because the predator is not easy to kill. Even a tiger wounded in a vital organ will not die right away. A wounded animal can escape and then attack weaker prey. Tigers will often attack unsuspecting humans.

The famous Champawati Tiger Killer was considered one of the most dangerous predators, with over 400 deaths to her credit. In 1907 the legendary hunter Jim Corbett finally put an end to her rampage.

Today there are relatively few tigers left in India, according to the World Wildlife Fund, there are about 3200 big cats. Every year dozens of people are killed by these creatures, especially in the Sundarbans, mangrove forests, where about 500 tigers live.

There is speculation that bad water makes tigers irritable and unnaturally aggressive. Fishermen who come to these places wear masks with their faces on the backs of their heads, since tigers love to attack from behind.

Indian elephants

Drunkenness in the animal kingdom.

We will never cease to admire elephants, the largest land mammals with great intelligence. Elephants can resemble humans: some particularly intelligent representatives can even draw real pictures, as well as imitate human speech . Just like us, elephants sometimes want to drink something hot.

In 2012, a herd of 50 elephants got drunk on an alcoholic drink made from the flowers of the maduca tree. After about 500 liters of alcohol were drunk, the elephants went on a rampage and destroyed dozens of houses in the village of Dumurkota. A few hours later, they left the village, leaving behind much destruction.

This is not the first time elephants have caused drunken rampages. The problem has become so widespread that in some areas fences are hung with hot chili peppers in the hope that it will scare the elephants away. Chili peppers are known to be the spiciest, so uninvited guests at the sight of them try to stay away.

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Fishes of India

Dangerous underwater predators

Catfish can reach impressive sizes, but these fish usually do not cause thoughts of danger. The Kali River in India is home to the South Asian giant catfish , which has been blamed for the deaths of several people.

According to Indian custom, after death, the human body is burned and what remains is thrown into the river. These human remains are eaten by giant catfish. On such a diet, the fish can reach incredible sizes, up to 70 kilograms. There is no doubt that they are responsible for the mysterious disappearances of swimmers.

Although catfish do not have a reputation as dangerous predators as sharks, fish the size of a man can easily grab a swimmer by the leg and pull him to the depths, drowning him.

Lions of India

Rare and endangered species

Not only tigers are found in India, but also other big cats. Rare Asian lions live in the Gir Forest National Park in the west of the country. These animals could once be found not only in Africa, India and the Middle East, but even in Europe, in Greece and Hungary !

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Today, lion numbers have dwindled to a minimum. There are only about 400 lions, and they are separated from their African relatives by tens of thousands of years of evolution. Indian lions are slightly smaller in size than African lions and their manes are not as lush.

Unfortunately, there are so few of these predators left that they are forced to resort to inbreeding, which significantly weakens their immunity . Any epidemic or even a forest fire can completely wipe out the entire population. A small group of lions has been relocated to a neighboring state to preserve this rare subspecies.

Rats of India

Sacred Temple of Rats

A rat that has crept into a house can bring panic to all the housemates. These animals are uninvited guests to our homes. It turns out that in some parts of India, not only are rats not feared, but they are even revered as sacred animals .

In the temple of Karni Mata in northern India (Rajasthan) live thousands of rats, which are protected and fed. According to legend, Karni Mata was a Hindu saint – an incarnation of the goddess Durga on Earth. When one of Mata’s stepchildren drowned, she began praying to Yama, the god of death, to bring her son back. Yama turned all Mata’s children into rats.

In the temple of Karni Mata today lives, according to the ministers, about 20 thousand rats, which delight in milk, kindly provided them worshippers in large vats. Among the vast number of gray rodents are several white ones that are considered the embodiment of Carney Mata herself and her sons. Seeing these albinos is considered great luck.

The temple is open to the public, but not all tourists dare to enter it: rats are everywhere, and they are not afraid of people. Moreover, to enter the territory of the temple is allowed only barefoot.

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The enemies of dangerous cobras are mongooses

The story of Kipling’s Ricky-Tucky-Tavy is not fiction at all. The king cobra is one of the most dangerous snakes on the planet. It has a curious peculiarity: a cobra can climb up and even look a man of average height directly into the eyes, while it emits an intimidating hiss and blows its hood wide open. One cobra bite contains so much venom that it is enough to kill 20 people. However, even such a dangerous beast has its enemies.

Mongooses are cute little animals about the size of a ferret. However, these animals turn out to be very nimble predators: they are fast, agile and can kill a cobra or any other snake with incredible agility.

They have protection against deadly venom, so even after a cobra bite do not die, however, they are so skilled at hunting that the snake simply does not have time to bite them . They begin to dance from side to side in front of the snake, deftly bouncing back when the snake tries to strike. At just the right moment, the mongoose grabs the snake by the head and kills it.

Sacred cows, monkeys, and stray dogs in India

India is an eastern, multi-faith and mysterious country . Here you can find wealth and poverty, elite and outcasts, sacred cows, packs of unruly monkeys and packs of stray dogs feeding from garbage cans. It’s an amazing world full of old monuments . Lots of people walking freely among sacred animals. The ever-growing steps of civilization in this world are sometimes not even heard of. So, how do animals live in India? Which of them are considered sacred there? Would they be the envy of animals living in other parts of the world? How is man’s closest friend, the dog, treated there?

1. Sacred animals

Sacred Cows, Monkeys, and Stray Dogs in India - Photo 2

1. Sacred animals

There are many sacred animals in India. They are not only cows, monkeys, and dogs, but also elephants, cobras, peacocks, and even rats! Each of these animals is the embodiment of one of the many Indian gods. Not surprisingly, in India you can even get a life sentence for killing a sacred animal.

2. Cows in India

The cow in India became not only a valuable currency for exchange and payment, but something more because at some point it came to be considered a deity. If a cow died, it meant that its owner had many sins and must now make a pilgrimage to all the holy places of India to repent of them. Moreover, according to tradition, the Indian god Krishna, the eighth incarnation of the god Vishnu, grew up in a rural family where he grazed cows and played the flute to please the cattle. Hence his middle name, Gopal, which means cowherd. Through him, the cow gained religious significance in India, deepening the belief described in one of the most sacred Hindu texts, the Puranas. It says that a cow named Kamdhenu long ago emerged from the oceans of creation and has been fulfilling human desires ever since.

Sacred Cows, Monkeys, and Stray Dogs in India - Photo 3

2. Cows in India

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There is also a legend that says that an ancient king from the kingdom of Patliputra was looking forward to his son and future heir to the throne. One day he and his wife went to their guru, who asked him to worship the sacred cow Kamdhenu. The lord did so and was even about to sacrifice his life when the cow was attacked by a tiger. Then the cow spoke, and it turned out that the tiger’s attack was only a divine test. However, the ruler was rewarded for his loyalty by giving birth to a son and an heir.

Hindus also believe that in order to go to heaven after death, they must cross a mythological river through which they will be led by the sacred cow Kamdhenu. When crossing the sacred river, one must hold the cow firmly by the tail. Therefore, often after the death of a person, the local Brahman is given a cow by the family of the deceased.

However, even sacred Indian cows are sometimes beaten. For example, when they injure someone or start fecal contamination in places where it is not allowed. Cows are pushed, poked with sticks, and moved to a more appropriate place. Punching a cow with a foot or stick is not considered a sin. The main commandment of the Hindu is that we must not kill the cow!

3. the sacred monkeys of India

Monkeys are the best animal in the whole Indian zoo . No one hits them, and not only because they are sacred, but also because they are aggressive and can fight back an offender. For example, they can throw their feces at him or simply bite him. Even if someone dares to chase the monkeys away, seeing that they are mischievous, it is not possible to get close to them – they will still manage to escape beyond their reach.

Monkeys in India are known to litter the territory of the country, their packs roam the settlements, as do packs of stray dogs. These robbers steal food from the counters and tourists’ purses, cameras, hats, glasses, etc. At the same time they are extremely brazen. If it seems inedible or unusable, the monkey will simply spoil or break it, and then throw it away.

Sacred Cows, Monkeys, and Stray Dogs in India.

3. sacred Indian monkeys

Indian monkeys, like dogs, can also spread rabies, so tourists are advised to be especially careful not to be bitten or scratched by these unpleasant inhabitants of India. It is better to get out of their way and not make eye contact, because a direct look provokes an attack. In the larger cities (in Delhi, for example) monkeys have become such a big problem that special units have been created to catch them and move them to deserted areas.

Monkeys in India are worshipped by followers of the god Hanuman, who is believed to have the face of a monkey. Hanuman is worshipped by many people in this country, so this god has many temples in every corner of India, and all these temples are full of monkeys. Before entering such a temple, people are given sticks to ward off the monkeys. You can buy cakes and peanuts to bribe the ubiquitous creatures. The monkeys in the temples and cities are fed by Hanuman’s followers, which symbolizes the feeding of the god Hanuman and making sacrifices to him.

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4. Dogs in India

Sacred Cows, Monkeys, and Stray Dogs in India.

4. Dogs in India

The dogs that live in India mainly belong to a breed scientifically called the INDog (Indian aboriginal dog), which is an Indian type of rogue dog. They are semi-wild dogs, whose genus numbers at least 14,000 individuals . They can be found everywhere in India, in villages and cities, especially near garbage dumps, in slums and areas inhabited by less well-off people. Indian dogs are rarely crossed with other dog breeds. Their evolution took place mostly in rural India and near wild forests, where they fought wild predators. This dangerous life made the natives very wary and cautious even toward humans. Nevertheless, Indian dogs are very intelligent and strongly attached to their pack (which takes care of every member) and to people who are kind to them. If an indog trusts some people, it becomes a faithful friend to them.

5. Stray dogs on the island of Goa

Indogies are the result of natural evolution and selection, where only strong and healthy individuals survive and reproduce. Because of this, they are perfectly adapted to life in the Indian climate and rarely get sick, even after more than 15 years. Of course, the worst thing is for dogs living in cities where many of them fall ill and die prematurely from starvation (they mostly eat garbage and food scraps), high environmental pollution, polluted water and traffic accidents. Hunting in cities is very rare. Fortunately, many Indians take care of these street dogs by throwing them their leftovers from time to time, and their children even play with the animals outside. If people start treating and feeding the dogs better, these dogs then return to such a home for dinner. They wait patiently for the inhabitants to come home from work, and even defend the house as their territory, worrying when snakes appear and chasing away uninvited guests, including thieving monkeys. Officially, however, these dogs remain homeless.

Sacred Cows, Monkeys and Stray Dogs in India.

5. Stray dogs on the island of Goa

Domestic Indogs are always sleeping away from home , outside, participating in the life of the local pack, hunting (e.g. rats) and scouring landfills. They also fight for hierarchy in their pack, for females, for territory, for food, etc. They are nocturnal animals. During the day they usually sleep, peacefully and lazily, lying down wherever they have to.

There are tens of millions of stray dogs in India, the most in the world. The unwillingness of Hindus to kill any animals contributes to this phenomenon. In addition, a law from 2001 forbids the killing of stray dogs. Indian and international animal rights organizations also oppose euthanasia and there are increasing calls for stray dogs to be taken off the streets. The upper social classes, i.e. scientists, doctors and wealthy Indian businessmen are calling for stray dogs to be removed from the streets. On the contrary, slum dwellers and poor neighborhoods protect these dogs. Remarkably, poorer people are more compassionate to animals than wealthier people.

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