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Animal Spotting Tips

If you're serious about observing wildlife there are a few things you can do to enhance your experience and bring you even closer to nature.

Once you've planned your trip, visit your local bookshop, library or go on the internet to find a wildlife guide for the area you intend visiting. This will give you the best idea of the kinds of plants and animals you can expect to see.

Always take services of a local and experienced naturalist/guide who knows the area better. There is nothing better than local knowledge when it comes to spotting wildlife.

Wild animals have their distinct daily and seasonal patterns of activities. a baisc knowledge of these patterns increases one's chances of seeing them. The frequency of wildlife sightings in national parks and reserves varies, depending on the time of year.In India the best times are from February to May,during these months the trees are often bare, so visibility is considerably improved. Since there is also a general scarcity of water, the animals concentrate near sources of water.

Many animals have an amazingly alert sense of sight which helps them survive in the wild. To get close takes a great degree of patience and time but you can increase your chances by wearing natural or neutral colours that blend into your surroundings. Keep your movements to a minimum and when you do move, do it slowly and quietly.

Animals are very wary of the human voice. So, in order to get close to them, absolute silence is essential. Walk softly and watch where you're placing your feet so as not to snap branches or twigs or create other noise as you make your approach. Even if you have to take a less direct route, avoid walking through dense undergrowth as the animal is more likely to hear you and run away. Avoid carrying any metal objects in your pockets which will make noise. This includes things like car keys and loose change.

A highly attuned sense of smell is one of the key aspects for many species of wildlife to detect where food is or, indeed, even prey. It is, for many, the most important of their senses in their battle for survival. Don't wear any aftershave or perfume and avoid scented soaps and deodorants. There are plenty of environmentally friendly non-scented soaps and toiletries on the market from specialist camping stores. Although you may baulk at this suggestion, wear your clothes for several days if you're really serious about wildlife spotting. The more you wear your clothes outdoors, the more the fabrics will absorb natural outdoors scents and smells. Always be aware of the wind direction and make sure that the direction in which you approach an animal is where the wind is blowing towards you. If it's blowing away from you, animals can detect your scent from many hundreds of yards away.

It shouldn't be important to get too close up to an animal to enjoy the experience and, in some instances, if you do get too near, it can even be dangerous and sometimes life-threatening. Binoculars can keep you at a safe distance from your quarry and means they are less likely to run away. Also, binoculars are the only way to view nesting birds or other forms of young wildlife. You should never get too close to a burrow, a nest or animals out and about with their young.

A magnifying glass will also come in handy if you're interested in examining insects and smaller wildlife alongside plants, flowers etc. Following these tips and advice will ensure that your experience will be heightened as you marvel at all the wildlife and nature you've witnessed.

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