In this blog, we will cover How one can track tigers through pug marks & alarm calls when in the wild.

A tiger safari in India’s enchanting woods is an exhilarating experience unlike any other. Every nature lover anticipates the thrill of being surrounded by rich foliage and the prospect of sighting the majestic Bengal tiger. While we are accompanied on these safaris by qualified guides, naturalists, and skilled drivers, there is something special about actually participating in a search for the elusive big cat.

Tracking tigers in the wild requires a keen eye and an attentive ear. As we delve into the heart of the jungle, we find ourselves immersed in a world where every pug mark and alarm call holds significance. This active engagement with the environment allows us to truly connect with the intricate web of life in the wild and enhances our understanding of the magnificent creatures that call these forests home.

Here are some of the ways one can track tigers easily in the jungle.

 

1. Tiger Pug Marks: Decoding the Footprints of Tigers

One of the most fascinating aspects of tracking tigers in the wild is deciphering their footprints, known as pug marks. If you have done tiger safaris in India, you must be familiar with the fact the Bengal tiger tends to walk on the pugdundee created naturally or by the movement of safari jeeps and on fire-lines in the jungle as the surface is soft and hence easy to walk leaving behind pug marks.

These distinct impressions left behind by tigers hold valuable information about their presence, behavior, and even their physical characteristics. By understanding the anatomy and characteristics of tiger pug marks, we can gain insights into the lives of these magnificent creatures.

 

tiger pugmarks in jungle - tiger tracking guide

 

What can pug marks reveal about a tiger?

The size and shape of pug markings can provide information about the tiger who left them, including the animal’s height and weight. The front paws of tigers are larger than the rear paws, which can be seen in the unique appearance of their prints.
Depending on the tiger’s age, gender, and size, the pug mark might vary in size. Typically, male tigers have larger pug markings than females. This is due to the size difference between the sexes. This allows skilled hunters to distinguish between male and female footprints, which in turn allows us to estimate the density of tiger populations.

Furthermore, pug markings might provide interesting information into tiger behavior by analyzing stride patterns and speed. Tigers use what is called “direct register,” an unusual gait in which the animal’s hind paws step straight into the tracks made by the forepaws. The resulting track is crisp and clear. We can calculate the tiger’s velocity by measuring the time it took for two pug marks to go the same distance. If you want to go fast, take long steps, if you want to go slow, take small ones.

The depth and clarity of the pug marks can also indicate the substrate on which they were made. In softer soils, the impressions will be more pronounced, capturing intricate details of the paw pads and claw marks. On harder surfaces, such as rocky terrain, the pug marks may appear shallower and less distinct.

Decoding tiger pug marks requires a trained eye and experience, as they can vary depending on environmental factors and the individual tiger’s behavior. However, through careful observation and analysis, tiger trackers can unlock a wealth of information about the presence, size, speed, and even the gait patterns of tigers in their natural habitat.

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2. Tiger Tracking with the Help of Warning Calls by Other Wildlife

In the dense jungles where the majestic Bengal tiger reigns supreme, a hidden network of communication exists among the wildlife. This intricate web of warnings and alarms is our window into the world of the elusive big cat. By tuning in to the warning calls of other wildlife, such as spotted deer, sambar deer, monkeys, and birds, we can unravel the presence and movements of tigers in the vicinity.

 

spotted-deer-making-alarm-calls-after-spotting-a-tiger

 

Alarm calls and their role in alerting other animals to the presence of tigers

Spotted deer, who are noted for their acute hearing and smell, are frequently the first to detect a tiger’s presence. A deer will make a succession of loud and unique warning sounds when it detects a tiger or other threat. These sounds act as a warning to other animals and humans alike that a predator is in the vicinity, not only to other deer. Listening to the volume, duration, and direction of the tiger’s cries allows tiger trackers to determine how close the animal is and which direction it is headed in.

Sambar deer use similarly resonant warning sounds that echo across the forest to warn of impending danger. Other sambar deer might benefit from these alarm calls, and tiger trackers can use the information to better their chances of finding a tiger in the area.

Because of their alertness and quickness, monkeys serve as watchful sentinels in the canopy. Their piercing alarm sounds may be heard throughout the forest when a tiger or other predator is nearby. These sounds act as a warning signal, letting other animals and humans know the tiger is around.

Species such as the langur, hornbill, and others have distinct calls that change in tone and intensity when a predator is near. By familiarizing themselves with these bird calls and their variations, tiger trackers can gain valuable insights into the movement and proximity of tigers.

Through the symphony of warning calls, the jungle becomes a living, breathing guide, guiding us toward the magnificent Bengal tiger.

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3. Tiger Communication Tracking: Deciphering Tiger Calls

Tiger calls can be categorized into various types, each with its own distinct meaning. The mighty roars of tigers are iconic and are primarily used for territorial marking. These powerful vocalizations announce their presence and assert their ownership of a particular area and hence it becomes easy for tiger trackers to locate the wild beast. Roars can travel vast distances, serving as a warning to other tigers and potential intruders.

Growls, on the other hand, are deeper and more guttural sounds. Tigers emit growls when they feel threatened or aggressive. It is a warning signal to other animals or even humans to maintain a safe distance. Growls can convey a sense of dominance and are often accompanied by body languages, such as bared teeth and raised fur.

 

bengal tiger growling roaring in bandhavgarh national park in india

 

A chuff is a gentle and welcoming sound. Tigers utilize them for friendly, non-threatening communication. Greetings, comfort, and requests to play are just some of the many possible interpretations of a chuff. They’re crucial for the cohesiveness of the tiger family unit.

One of the best ways to find a tiger in the wild is to listen for its distinctive vocalizations, which serve a variety of reasons, including territory marking, mating calls, and warning signals.

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4. Tree Scratches: Clues Left Behind by Tigers

In the quest to track and understand the movements of tigers in the wild, tree scratches emerge as valuable clues left behind by these enigmatic creatures. By observing and interpreting these distinctive markings, tiger trackers can gain insights into tiger behavior and navigate the intricate world of their territories.

 

bengal tiger scratching trees to mark its territory in jungle

 

Tree scratches hold significant importance in the realm of tiger behavior. They serve as powerful markers of territory, allowing tigers to establish and maintain their boundaries. By clawing at the trunks of trees, tigers leave behind visible and olfactory cues for other tigers in the area, effectively communicating their presence and asserting their dominance. These scratches act as signposts, proclaiming ownership and warning potential intruders to proceed with caution.

 

trees scratched by bengal tiger in indian jungle

 

Patterns and peculiarities of tiger scratches on trees can cast light on the tigers’ gender. Generally speaking, male tigers leave deeper and more extensive scratches than females. Female tiger scars are frequently shorter and shallower. On the basis of their scratch patterns, male and female tigers can be distinguished from one another, providing valuable information for population studies and conservation efforts.

Through careful observation and analysis of tree scratches, tiger trackers can gain a glimpse into the world of tigers, deciphering their movements and territorial boundaries. These markings become part of a larger puzzle, connecting with other tiger tracking methods to paint a more complete picture of tiger behavior in the wild.

 

While our experienced guides will undoubtedly play a crucial role in our tiger-tracking endeavors, actively participating in the process allows us to immerse ourselves fully in the magic of the jungle. It provides an opportunity to deepen our connection with nature, expand our knowledge of wildlife, and contribute to the conservation efforts aimed at protecting these magnificent creatures.

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