The Jungle Book… in Real Life!

With Disney’s latest release, The Jungle Book, tantalisingly close to hitting the big screen we’re eagerly awaiting the rush of cinematic excitement. All signs look promising, with positive reviews filling the press, and we’re sure that nearly two hours of mysterious jungle is going to spark some wanderlust, leaving viewers inspired to seek out a real-life Jungle Book encounter of their own.

Will you see a python slithering through the undergrowth? Come face-to-face with an orangutan swinging from tree to tree? Maybe you’ll see the tell-tale orange and black stripes of a powerful tiger slinking through the vegetation.

Join us as we take you through how and where to see these incredible creatures in real life.

Bengal tiger

Bengal Tiger Bengal Tiger

Kipling’s descriptions of the jungle’s big villain, Shere Khan, may be terrifying, but nothing compares to the visceral thrill of seeing a real one up-close. The first encounter, that magical moment when you lock eyes with one of these precious big cats, stays with you for life. There are even reports this month that tiger populations have increased for the first time in over 100 years – good news!

See tigers in: India
Take the family: Taj, Tigers & Temples

Python

Python Python

While they don’t have Kaa's power of hypnosis, pythons are remarkable hunters in their own right. These massive predators can be spotted all over the world, lying in wait, draped over branches and tree trunks until the perfect moment to strike arrives and they slowly constrict their prey.

See pythons in: India, Kenya, Tanzania
Take the family: Taj, Tigers & Temples

Orang-utan

Orangutan Orangutan

Originally introduced by Disney and never featuring in Kipling’s original novel, King Louie is a non-native anomaly, with orangutans hailing from the jungles of Borneo not India. The on screen presence of the character is entertaining enough that we’ll let it slide though. To see these huge, gentle primates in their natural habitat avoid India entirely and head to the mist-shrouded jungles of Borneo.

See orangutans in: Borneo
Take the family: Borneo Wildlife Adventure

Sloth bear

Sloth bear, India Sloth bear, India

I know what you’re thinking: “bears in the jungle?” But it turns out that Baloo is a Sloth bear, one of the jungle-dwelling relatives of grizzlys that can be found on the Indian subcontinent. In keeping with Baloo’s laid-back nature in the story, Sloth bears aren’t carnivorous, instead feeding upon insects and fruits.

See Sloth bears in: India, Sri Lanka
Take the family: Taj, Tigers & Temples
Take the family: Tropical Island Wanderer

Vultures

Vulture Vulture

Shown in the classic animated film as a comedic group of bickering birds, these carrion-eaters can be found all around the globe, including the jungles of India and Sri Lanka. Vultures can be huge, some of them boasting a fearsome wingspan of almost three meters.

See vultures in: India, Sri Lanka
Take the family: Taj, Tigers & Temples
Take the family: Tropical Island Wanderer

Black panther (Leopard)

Leopard in Sri Lanka Leopard in Sri Lanka

Mowgli’s mentor and friend Bagheera is a sleek and serious Black panther. The Black panther is not in fact a distinct species – they are leopards (or jaguars) with melanism, which is the opposite of albinism, where the dark pigment changes their colouring. Spotting the sleek midnight fur of a Black panther is extremely difficult; your chances of seeing the dappled rosettes of a leopard rippling in the sun are much higher.

See Leopards in: India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tanzania
Take the family: Taj, Tigers & Temples
Take the family: Tropical Island Wanderer

Wolves

Wolf in Yellowstone NP Wolf in Yellowstone NP

In the Jungle Book, Mowgli was raised by Indian wolves, a subspecies of the grey wolf. These lustrous canines are both rare and shy, with only 2,000-3,000 still living in the country. They have a difficult relationship with Indian people; you won’t find any of them raising humans of their own any time soon. Grey wolves can be found across Eurasia and North America.

See wolves in: North America, Finland, Romania

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