Significant symbols

Do you know what our national aquatic animal or the national reptile is?

Published - August 08, 2011 03:23 pm IST

His Royal Highness in his kingdom: A King Cobra

His Royal Highness in his kingdom: A King Cobra

When India got Independence in 1947, a decision was taken to finalise the National symbols of the country. Some animals and birds were also given National status at that time. The peafowl was designated as the national bird, the tiger as the national animal, the gangetic dolphin as the national aquatic animal, the king cobra as the national reptile and the elephant as the national heritage animal.

Farida Tampal, the State Director of the World Wildlife Fund, Andhra Pradesh chapter, says it is imperative for adults to educate the younger generation about the lesser known animals of our country, Ms Tampal believes that “children can themselves log onto websites on the internet or read books on these animals. Studies and conservation activities with regard to the king cobra and the Gangetic Dolphin are very recent. There is a lot of material available on these two animals as well as so many others like spiders, frogs, ants or even skinks.”

The Peafowl

Pavo Cristatus , the Indian peafowl, is a colourful bird with a fan shaped crest of feathers. The male is has a blue breast and neck and a spectacular bronze and green tail of approximately 200 long feathers. The female is smaller in size, brownish in colour and does not have the grand tail, which the male displays for courtship which generally happens in the monsoon season.

The Tiger

Panthera tigris , the Royal Bengal tiger, has a thick yellow coat of fur with dark stripes. It is an extremely strong, graceful, agile and powerful animal. The population of tigers came down so drastically in the country that “Project Tiger” had to be launched in 1973.

The Elephant

Elephas maximus indicus , the Asian Elephant, is the largest mammal of the Indian subcontinent. Males are generally larger than females and they have tusks which is a pair of incisors which grows around 17 cms in a year.

The King Cobra

Ophiophagus hanna , the King Cobra is the largest venomous snake in the world. Growing to around 3m in length, the King has the ability to inject upto 6ml of venom in a single bite. A resident of dense rain forests and thick jungles, this shy animal is very rarely seen. The Gangetic Dolphin

Platanista gangetica , the Gangetic Dolphin is the chief indicator of the cleanliness of the river Ganga, as it lives in pure and fresh water only.

The female of these solitary creatures are usually much larger than the male.

They are called “susu” locally due to the distinct sound that they make when they breathe.

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