Wildlife in the Western Ghats in Lonavala

The Machan -an eco-centric luxury resort in lonavala– proudly stands on forest land that has been recovering from slashing and burning for nearly thirty years now. Away from the hustles of the concrete lifestyle, the property stands at the heart of a unique system where flora, fauna, and humans can coexist without harming the others’ existence. 

In the process of repairing and building this jungle paradise, our team of naturalists have researched the species found in our primary and secondary forests. The Machan is home to a variety of animals and insects like butterflies, frogs, the Malabar whistling thrush, the funnel web spider, etc. Nature is vastly unexplored and there is something new to learn from and in it everyday. 

Malabar Whistling Thrush

Did you know that the Malabar whistling thrush is an omnivorous species with a dietary range from earthworms and berries to frogs and even crabs? Found in the Western Ghats and the associated hills of peninsular India (including central India and parts of the Eastern Ghats), this big thrush is blackish in color with shiny blue patches on its forehead and shoulders that are visible only in oblique lighting. Belonging to the muscicapidae family, they are also called the whistling schoolboy for their human-like whistles. You can find them nesting comfortably in a cavity by a stream or sometimes in a nearby building. 

Termites or White Ants

Also found in this ecosystem are termites or white ants. Termites are the descendents of wood eating cockroaches; they resemble ants due to their castism. A termite colony has a queen, workers, and soldiers. An interesting fact about them is that most worker and soldier termites are blind by virtue of not having eyes at all! The former is responsible for foraging, food storage, and nest or mound maintenance. Termites consume dead plants at any level of decomposition, hence they are detritivores. Due to this fact, they play a vital role in the ecosystem by recycling waste materials such as dead wood, faeces, and plants. 

Malabar Giant Squirrel 

Another thriving species found here is the Malabar giant squirrel. These members of the sciuridae family can live upto twenty years with a diet of fruits, flowers, nuts, birds’ eggs, and insects. Generally solitary, they are shy creatures with a deep red to brown coloured body with white patches on the belly and cream colored forelimbs. Their powerful and long tail is light brown with a creamy white tip. They are usually active early in the day and in the evening. During the day, they rest in their large, globe-like nests made of twigs and leaves. Each squirrel has about two to five nests- one for nursing their young ones and the others for sleeping. 

Purple Sunbird

The purple sunbird of the nectariniidae family is a glorious jewel in our ecosystem. These ferocious birds can live for nearly twenty-two years in captivity and will call to mob owls and other predators. They prefer lightly wooded country and gardenscapes and mainly feed on nectar. They have a short, downwards curving bill and a dark, short, and square ended tail ending in a white tip. 

Funnel Web Spider

Did you know there are more local spider species than just your house spider? For example, the funnel web spider of the agelenidae family. Per their name, they build funnel shaped webs to trap their prey. This funnel leads to a silk burrow that acts like a protective hiding place for quickly grabbing their prey. Males are less successful at this task than females, but all members of this family are very fast runners, especially on their webs.

If you think these creatures are interesting, you should explore our naturalist series and find out interesting facts about more commonly seen insects like frogs and butterflies to name a few. Do you know why frogs call at night? Hint: there’s romance involved! There’s a lot to look out for at our getaway near mumbai. 

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