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Keep an eye out for these amazing creatures during your tour of India

A tour of India will unlock countless secrets as your explore new foods, music and the many unique cities that dot the country. At the same time, however, India is home to many different ecosystems and animals that will delight visitors.

You may be able to spot these creatures along the road as your travel from city to city, but there are also many national parks and safari adventures specifically design to put you up close and personal with some of the nation's most iconic and interesting species. Ahead of your tour of India, check out a few of the best animals to watch for.

Bengal Tiger
Though these cats are endangered across the world, Newsweek reported that 2016 represented the first time the global tiger population went up in over 100 years. In India, the famous Bengal tiger may be relegated to wildlife reserves, but that does not diminish how magnificent these predators are.

Known for their characteristic stripes and stealthy disposition, spotting a tiger in the wild requires patience and a bit of luck. In Bandhavgarh National Park, however, the tiger population is healthy and stable, and tour guides know exactly where to find these beautiful animals. 

Indian Elephant
A centerpiece of Indian culture for centuries, elephants have been revered as mystical beasts as well as helpful animals for husbandry. In the wild, these pachyderms are integral to the forests and grasslands they call home. They will eat away overgrowth and their large bodies create new opportunities for other plant growth.

Though the Indian Elephant is smaller than it's African relative, these are still impressively massive animals. The World Wildlife Fund reported that these creatures may weigh as much as 5 tons and stand 11 feet at the shoulder. While elephants deserve respect and space while out on a tour of a national park or wildlife area, it is not uncommon to see these animals being used in rural agriculture or work, as well as in religious ceremonies or art.

Nilgai
This beautiful species of antelope is one of the most common large mammals in all of north India. Nilgai are rather large, and are as tall as a full grown man. 

These social animals may live in small family groups as well as herds 100 members strong. These creatures do well in the wild landscapes in India, but like white-tailed deer in the U.S., Nilgai can also be found in suburban areas and parks.

Though these antelope may be too large to be bothered by a leopard, an adult tiger will make a meal out of a full-grown Nilgai if given the chance.

Indian Flying Fox
Not all species of bat is interested in sucking your blood, and in fact India is home to one of the most charismatic species on the planet. Throughout south Asia, these massive fruit bats take to the sky in the hundreds to look for a delicious meal, and with wingspans well over 3 feet in length, these critters are hard to miss.

The flying fox is important for the health of Indian jungles and other environments because as they forage for fruit, they inadvertently spread seeds far and wide. This promotes diversity among a given plot of forest.

Mugger Crocodile
India is home to many fantastic reptiles that live alongside the larger, more familiar mammals. The Mugger crocodile, however, can certainly hold its own with the big boys.

According to the Crocodile Specialist Group, these animals can grow to 16 feet in length, and can be found in lakes, marshes and rivers. At the same time, these crocs have also found their way into man-made ponds and canals. In some instances, the Mugger crocodile will even look for pray in salt water environments. 

During a wildlife tour or safari, you may see these massive reptiles sunning themselves on the banks of a stream or lake, and like most crocodiles, these animals are excellent parents.

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