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bengal tiger

The Jungle Book in Real Life

Read time - 3 minutes

Disney’s recent remake of The Jungle Book was eagerly awaited and stirred a rush of cinematic excitement.

Positive reviews flooded the press, and we’re sure those two hours of the mysterious jungle will spark some wanderlust, leaving viewers inspired to seek out a real-life wildlife encounter of their own.

Will you see a python slithering through the undergrowth? Come face-to-face with an orangutan swinging from tree to tree? Maybe you’ll see the tell-tale orange and black stripes of a powerful tiger slinking through the vegetation.

Join us as we take you through how and where to see these incredible creatures in real life.

Real Life Wildlife Encounters

Bengal tiger

bengal tigerBengal Tiger 

Kipling’s descriptions of the jungle’s big villain, Shere Khan, may be terrifying, but nothing compares to the visceral thrill of seeing a real one up-close. The first encounter, that magical moment when you lock eyes with one of these precious big cats, stays with you for life.

Recent reports indicate tiger populations have increased for the first time in over 100 years – good news!

Experience tigers in India



While they don’t have Kaa's power of hypnosis, pythons are remarkable hunters in their own right. These massive predators can be spotted all over the world, lying in wait, draped over branches and tree trunks until the perfect moment to strike arrives and they slowly constrict their prey.

Experience pythons in Tanzania



Originally introduced by Disney and never featuring in Kipling’s original novel, King Louie is a non-native anomaly, with orangutans hailing from the jungles of Borneo not India.

The on-screen presence of the character is entertaining enough that we’ll let it slide though. To see these huge, gentle primates in their natural habitat avoid India entirely and head to the mist-shrouded jungles of Borneo.

Experience orangutans in Borneo

Sloth bear

Sloth bear in India Sloth bear in India 

I know what you’re thinking: “bears in the jungle?” But it turns out that Baloo is a Sloth bear, one of the jungle-dwelling relatives of the grizzly that can be found on the Indian subcontinent. In keeping with Baloo’s laid-back nature in the story, Sloth bears aren’t carnivorous, instead, feeding upon insects and fruits.

Experience Sloth bears in Sri Lanka



Shown in the classic animated film as a comedic group of bickering birds, these carrion-eaters can be found all around the globe, including the jungles of India and Sri Lanka.

Vultures can be huge, some of them boasting a fearsome wingspan of almost three meters.

Experience vultures in Sri Lanka

Black panther (Leopard)

leopardLeopard in Sri Lanka 

Mowgli’s mentor and friend Bagheera is a sleek and serious Black panther. The Black panther is not in fact a distinct species – they are leopards (or jaguars) with melanism, which is the opposite of albinism, where the dark pigment changes their colouring.

Spotting the sleek midnight fur of a Black panther is extremely difficult; your chances of seeing the dappled rosettes of a leopard rippling in the sun are much higher.

Experience Leopards in Sri Lanka


wolfWolf in Yellowstone NP 

In the Jungle Book, Mowgli was raised by Indian wolves, a subspecies of the grey wolf. These lustrous canines are both rare and shy, with only 2,000-3,000 still living in the country.

They have a difficult relationship with Indian people; you won’t find any of them raising humans of their own any time soon. Grey wolves can be found across Eurasia and North America.

Experience wolves in North America

View our wildlife trips below and experience The Jungle Book animals in real life.

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