Thekkady is probably the best place in Kerala to observe wildlife and hence its a dream destination for any tourist visiting Kerala. From the mighty Indian elephant to the Great Indian Tiger, Thekkady has all of it. Elephants, Deers, bears, bison and lion-tailed macaques are a common sight in the reservoir area.
The tourism department of Thekkady offers trekking right into the heart of the forest either in foot or atop elephants. The resorts located on the island in the centre of the lake is an ideal place to observe animals. Boating through the lake is a very pleasant experience and one can observe many water birds at close range. Thekkady is ideal for wildlife photography.
Over 1965 flowering plants including 171 grass species 143 species of orchids. The only south Indian conifer Podocarpus Wallachians grow in the forests of Periyar Tiger Reserve.
- Mammals:- Thirty five species which include the Asian elephant, Tiger, Indian bison, sambar deer, Indian wild dog, Leopard, Barking deer, Smooth-coated otter which can be sighted during a boat cruise in the Periyar Lake. The Nilgiri tahr is confined to the higher rocky areas whereas the endangered lion-tailed macaque can be found in the interior evergreen forests. Both the bonnet macaques and Nilgiri langur can be seen foraging from the trees near the boat landing. Malabar giant squirrel is omnipresent.
- Birds:- 265 species including migrants. The Malabar Grey Hornbill, The Indian Pied Hornbill, White-bellied Treepie, many species of Drongos, woodpeckers, flycatchers, babblers, the spectacular Malabar trogon, etc can be seen near the boat landing.
- Reptiles:- Cobra, viper, krait, a number of non-poisonous snakes, and the Indian monitor lizard.
- Amphibians:- Frogs like the colourful Malabar gliding frog, fungoid frog, bi-coloured frog, many species of toads, and limbless caecilians.
- Pisces (fish):- The Periyar lake and streams have several species of fish including the masheer, the famous and endangered game fish of India. The Smooth-coated otter can be frequently spotted from the boat.
- Plantations:- Tea, cardamom, pepper and coffee plantations abound in the areas adjoining the Tiger Reserve.
- Watch Towers:- There are a few watch towers inside Periyar Tiger Reserve which are excellent for viewing wildlife. Reservations can be made at the Forest Information Centre, Thekkady.
Permitting authority: The Wildlife Preservation Officer, Periyar Tiger Reserve, Thekkady.