While on a safari in Nagarahole National Park with my friends, we heard a langur alarm call from a distance. We drove towards it, as the call got stronger. We decided to spend some time at this spot. For 40 minutes, the calls went on and off. We could also hear some kind of noise behind the bushes and the alarm calls were unstoppable; we had no clue what to expect. The only thing we were sure of was that there was a predator, and we just wanted to see it out in the open.
One of them in the jeep whispered, “leopard, leopard!” My heart began to pound the moment I saw the leopard, and the kill in its mouth. We assumed it was a langur kill and did not pay attention to its meal, but focused on photographing the leopard itself. This female leopard was very quick and kept an eye on us as she made a few leaps to cross over to the other side before disappearing into the woods.
When I reviewed my images later to find out more about the prey, the confusion began. It was not a langur and definitely not something that we could easily identify. All of us were left guessing as to what the kill could have been. After talking to a few people, we were able to identify the prey as a Flying Squirrel. I specially thank Divya Mudappa and Rana Belur for helping me.
Leopards are opportunistic predators and are known to have a very broad diet that goes with their exceptional adaptability. In few of the images, it appeared to be a lactating Flying Squirrel. Further reading revealed that Flying Squirrels tend to be nocturnal, except for the ones that are lactating and their offspring, which have a period of diurnality during the summer.