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5 Secrets to Seeing More Wildlife

For many nature lovers, the chance to see wildlife in action is a highlight during any outing .  However, this
can be a rare occasion if we don’t necessarily know how/when/where to look.

Less than 5% of Sri Lanka’s original cloud forests remain due to widespread clearing of forests for cultivation of commercial crops, primarily tea. These forests are the only home in the world for at least 20 endangered and critically endangered species, and provide critical habitat for a total of 30 species threatened with extinction.

During my trip to Sri Lanka, I had the opportunity to walk over 18 miles (about 29 km) with a remarkable guide through the Knuckles Conservation Forest, a rare montane cloud forest.

As the guide was pointing out animals left and right, I was absolutely astounded by the amount of things he saw.

By no means would I call myself an expert, but I am usually able to spot a fair amount of animals when exploring . . and I was striking out this time.

leafnoselizardWhen my curiosity- mixed with a little frustration- was too much to handle, I asked him how he was able to easily spot so many animals that I was clearly missing.

With a smile he gave me these 5 secrets . . .

1. Research

Every creature has a habit.  The key is to understand these habits and place yourself at the right place-at the right time- to see these behaviors in motion.

By answering few simple questions, you can learn more about the behavior of the animal you are searching for.

-When are they most active? (Hint: Most animals are active during dusk or dawn- also known as the ‘golden hours’ .)

-What do they eat?

-What is there habitat like?

-How do they get water?

-Do they migrate?

All of these questions can provide valuable information as to where/when/how to see the animals you are desiring to see.

2. Slow Down and Keep Quiet.

Animals have acute senses and know you are coming long before you are close enough to see them.

Here is a good mental exercise about what wildlife may be thinking when they hear you coming. . .

3. Look For Clues

Animal signs are great indicators to see if you are in a wildlife rich location.  Tracks. Scat (feces). Trails. Dens. Burrows. There are so many clues to find if you know what you are looking for.

I love taking Tracking classes (most are free, given by your local chapter)  and reading any of Tom Brown, Jr.’s Guides about wilderness survival.  

4. Visit Often

Have ever been out exploring with a guide, or even a local? You will soon notice they have a knack for finding animals.  They can remain still for a moment or two and then. . . THERE!

And, lo and behold, there is an animal scurrying away.

How do they do it?  

They have been there before. . .many times, more than likely.

Becoming familiar with a location allows your to see the habits of individual inhabitants and, thus, improving your odds at finding them when you are out.

5. Patience

This is the one I struggle with often. Learn to simply sit still and just watch.

More easily said then done. I know.  But practice makes perfect.

More than likely there are animals watching YOU as you make your way through there home.

By sitting still (sometimes this may take an hour or so) and remaining calm, wildlife may deem you as unthreatening and begin going about their normal activity.

For me, viewing wildlife is one of the most rewarding experiences when exploring the outdoors.

 

Do you have any other ‘tips’ that have helped you spot wildlife?  I would love to hear them.  Please below and share.  By sharing your knowledge, you may help someone else enjoy the outdoors even more.

Until next time, this is Ms. Mallory inviting you to . . .

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