Some of the unique wild animals that tourists can see while visiting one of Kerala's 14 famous sanctuaries include the ever present elephants near the backwaters, the Nilgiri Tahr which is an endangered mountain goat, lion-tailed macaque, deer, monkeys, civet cats, squirrels and in the evening hours perhaps even a leopard or a tiger, the highly endangered Malabar giant squirrel can also be spotted by the discerning. One can encounter birds and butterflies, in this landscape resplendent with exotic wild flowers and orchids of every hue and colour. Among its 225 recorded species of birds you are sure to spot bulbuls, flycatchers, woodpeckers, Malabar hornbills, kingfishers, cormorants, darters, plovers, brahminy kites, bushcats, hoopoes and if you are lucky then even the rarer species like the green-billed malcoha. Amidst the forests, along the backwaters and lakes exists another ecosystem, here the tropical evergreen and deciduous forests, bamboos, reed banks and savannah's spread over a vast area of hills, valleys, plains and waterlogged land. Here, along the shorelines one can easily spot many species of crabs, mudskippers, turtles and deeper in the water you can see fish and even crocodiles.
Many visual treasures vie for your attention here, the rolling greens, wildflowers, shimmering silent winged butterflies, brightly feathered birds and majestic mammals. To absorb all of this magnificence choose from a leisurely walk down the trails to setting up temporary abode in a tree house or machan, there are cozy forest lodges for those looking at extended stays. In the backwater area a boat ride through the lakes and waters is the the best way to spot some of the gorgeous wildlife, just keep the binoculars handy and your eyes peeled to the shoreline. Bamboo rafting is another exciting option for the more adventurous and of course an Elephant safari offers the best views of the jungle and the wild in the bush.
Is a picturesque sanctuary on the slopes of the Western Ghats, here the highest peak of Katti Betta, covered with tropical and semi- evergreen forests rises to a majestic height of 1145 m above sea level. The best time to visit is between November and February.
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
Chinnar is famous for its dry deciduous forests and wet grasslands. The Forest Department organises many eco tourism programs here, including the popular river trekking programme. This sanctuary is open throughout the year but it can be dry and sometimes even uncomfortably hot as it stands in the rain shadow region of the Western Ghats. Any time is a good time to be here except the lashing downpour of the monsoon in the months of October and November.
Eravikulam Wildlife Sanctuary
This verdant sanctuary is located amidst the misty mountains of the Western Ghats. It is situated at a height of 1145 m from sea level. The sanctuary is open throughout the year except the months of January, February and March. The best time to visit this sanctuary however is between September and October when the flowers bloom and the sightings are the best.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Periyar lies in the cardamom hills in the Idukki district, its 26-sq km long lake and surrounding forestland host a large variety of wildlife. There are several eco-tourism programmes at this reserve , including day and night trekking, camping and bamboo rafting and of course boat rides for wildlife spotting. September to march is the best time to visit as the rains will not hamper your plans.
The Idukki wildlife sanctuary contains a picturesque lake, a majestic arch dam across two hills and roaming herds of elephants and gaur in its dense canopy of tropical semi-evergreen and deciduous forests. The best time to visit Idukki is between October and April.