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Onam — The Harvest Festival

Onam — The Harvest Festival

The harvest festival of Kerala, Onam, falls on Shravan day in the month of August or September. After a lush harvest, Onam is the time for the farmers to celebrate the bounties of nature and make merry. Like most festivals of India, Onam too has a legend associated with it. The story goes: A long time ago an Asura king named Mahabali ruled Kerala. He was dearly loved by his subjects and was known to be a just and wise ruler....

Monu Makes his Mark

Monu Makes his Mark

Monu the mongoose crawled out of the ditch in the back garden. His mother was already out with his three little brothers. They had long bodies with short legs. They had bushy tails and tiny ears. And they had bright eyes, which shone like beads. They did things fast. They were already good hunters like their mother. But Monu was not smart like his brothers. He didn’t like chasing mice and garden rats like they did....

The Deadly King Cobra

The Deadly King Cobra

Belonging to the family Elapidae, the name Cobra is popularly applied to African and Asian snakes that are capable of spreading long ribs in their necks into a hood when threatened. There are six species of cobras: the Naja, the south African ringhal (Hemachatus), king cobra (Ophiophagus), water cobra (Boulengerina), tree cobra (Pseudohaje), and shield-nose cobra (Aspidelaps). The Deadly King Cobra [Illustrations by Amarjeet Malik] The king cobra or Hamadryad holds a record length of 5....

How do Animals Camouflage?

How do Animals Camouflage?

Remember the last time you played hide and seek. You hid behind a bush while your friend tried to find you. If you were wearing a green dress, the chance of you being seen was automatically reduced as you could be mistaken for a bunch of leaves. Hide and seek is a very old game and it seems human beings are not the only ones to play it. Small fish use the tactics of the game to hide from bigger ones, while moths and butterflies use them to hide from birds and other attackers....

Excerpts from Snake Trouble

Excerpts from Snake Trouble

Grandmother was tolerant of most of his pets, but she drew the line at reptiles. Even a sweet-tempered lizard made her blood run cold. There was little chance that she would allow a python in the house. “It will strangle you to death!” she cried. “Nonsense,” said Grandfather. “He’s only a young fellow.” “He’ll soon get used to us,” I added, by way of support. “Lock that awful thing in the bathroom,” she said. Excerpts from Snake Trouble [Illustrations by Mickey Patel] “Go and find the man you bought it from, give him twenty rupees or twice as much, and get him to come here and collect it!...

Why are Some Reptiles Brightly Coloured?

Why are Some Reptiles Brightly Coloured?

Most animals have skin colour that makes them merge into their surroundings. They become near invisible unless you look very closely. But some reptiles such as the sea-snakes, coral snakes and frogs of Central and South America are brilliantly coloured or have bright bands like deep yellow, orange, pink on their bodies. They are easily visible among the green leaves or brown earth. This is because these animals are poisonous. The colouring is a warning to other animals, especially their natural enemies, to avoid eating them....

The Farmer and the Serpent

The Farmer and the Serpent

A long time ago a farmer’s son was going to meet his friends. It was dark and he was in a hurry, so he didn’t see a cobra that was relaxing in the path. He trod upon the cobra’s tail. He stepped back immediately afterwards, but it was too late. The angry cobra lashed at him and bit him. A cobra’s poison is one of the deadliest in the world. The farmer’s son stood no chance against it and died....

A Tale of Tails

A Tale of Tails

Dear reader, I am sure you know that a snake and a mongoose are sworn enemies. They are always ready, willing and waiting to kill each other. But I do not think you know that this wasn’t always the case. Once upon a time, not very long ago, they were the best of friends. Surprised? Let me tell you the full story…. On the foothills of the Himalayas, there was a forest. In one corner of the forest, beside a huge river called Neera, lived a snake and a mongoose....

Deception and Mimicry Among Animals to Fool Enemies!

Deception and Mimicry Among Animals to Fool Enemies!

All living beings have enemies. And they all have developed interesting ways to keep them at bay. Some animals hide, others run, or just fly away when faced with danger. These are their defence mechanisms. Some animals can hide without moving. They have the unique ability to change their colour to merge with the surroundings. They become invisible to the predator. This method of defence is called “camouflage”. Some rabbits change colour with the change of season....

Golu Rabbit's Day Out

Golu Rabbit's Day Out

In the Kanha forest in India, lived a little bunny rabbit called Golu. He was called Golu because of his small round ball of a tail. Golu lived with his mother Molu in a deep burrow under the tall grass of the forest. The burrow had large rooms and many doorways and Golu loved to run from room to room hoppity-skip. Every morning Molu went out into the forest and nearby farms to hunt for carrots and radishes....

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