Keoladeo National Park, also known as “Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary”, is known for its diverse bird representation and a healthy python population. I originally posted a trip report here based on a trip I took in 2013, but Photobucket withdrew all of those photos. As I was re-uploading the pictures I decided to supplement them with photos from a second trip I took there a couple years later. So these pictures represent two long weekends, not just one!
On to the park.
The central area of Keoladeo is dominated by wetlands like this:
But the dry parts of the park hold a different array of wildlife:
Everything in the park can be reached on foot, though it does help to rent a bicycle.
Bharatpur is famous for its pythons and I made finding one my primary herping goal of the trip. I was not disappointed. On the first day, this young juvenile was hiding in an old log in a wetlands area right next to the main thoroughfare:
Indian Python (Python molurus)
On the morning of the second day, I was riding a bike through a more remote area of the park when I spotted this welcome sight in the distance:
Turned out to be an adolescent of about 3 meters:
Sadly, early morning on the third day turned up half of a DOR of a very small juvenile…method of death uncertain.
On a second trip I took later, I focused on finding basking spots. This was a more sensitive exercise as you do not wish to disturb the pythons in their basking, which is essential to their digestion and other life tasks, and thus you should never approach them too closely while they are basking or disturb the general site.
One enormous python was found inside of its hole, curled up in such a way that some of the sun’s rays still hit it. It appeared to be at least 4 meters in length but was of course impossible to judge well.
There were only a couple other snake species I found (midday in winter isn’t the best time to spot most species), though I uncovered several shed skins that appeared to belong to other species, possibly Indian Rat Snakes and Sand Boas. The primary lives snakes I found were Checkered Keelbacks, which would hide out in various nooks and crannies near the water.
Checkered Keelbacks (Xenochrophis piscator)
There was also one lone Brahminy Blind Snake near a building.
Brahminy Blind Snake (Indotyphlops braminus)
After finding my pythons, my second goal was turtles. Once again I was not disappointed at all.
The most obvious turtle species are the giant Indian Softshells, which can be seen sunning on a small islands out in the marsh or patrolling through the shallow waters. The largest ones are easily over 60cm long.
Indian Softshells (Aspideretes gangeticus)
While riding the bike alongside the marsh, I somehow looked through some brush on the side and managed to spot this turtle on a small log
Indian Roofed Turtle? (Pangshura tecta)
I was quite surprised to see this turtle running over the main road from one side of the marsh to the other. I wasn’t able to get too close before it made it across, but it was by far the largest adult example I’d seen of the common but wonderfully unique flapshell turtle
Indian Flapshell (Lissemys punctata)
Later I found another patrolling in a marsh. By only moving when his head was below the water, I was able to approach quite close to him without being detected.
There were several lizard species in the park, generally utilizing the drier regions.
Brooke’s House Gecko complex (Hemidactylus cf. brookii) – this species has recently been broken up into multiple species, and I believe there is a good chance that what Keoladeo holds are actually Hemidactylus gleadowi.
Oriental Garden Lizard (Calotes versicolor)
Striped Grass Skinks (Mabuya dissimilus)
Common Dotted Garden Skink (Lygosoma punctata)
One lizard species does take advantage of all those wetlands, and that is the huge Bengal Monitor.
Bengal Monitors (Varanus bengalensis)
Despite the unfavorable weather I came across a few common frog species.
Marbled Toad (Duttaphrynus stomaticus)
Cricket Frog (Limnonectus sp.)
Ornate Narrow-mouthed Frog (Microhyla ornata)
Indian Bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus)
Skittering Frog (Euphlyctis cyanophlyctis)