View Full Version : the crocodiles of Carambolim

Jim Manjooran
02-08-2013, 06:35 PM
If ever you are in Goa around mid-may to june..be sure to visit Carambolim lake..drive around the lake and come to the village side..and then walk a bit to where the village boys play football...come up to the edge of the lake and look at the tiny land strip away in the waters.....

This a guaranteed crocodile show for you and its free..!!!..
...no barrier...resting in plain sight with no care of the world...
..here are a series of shots of my "friendly" neighborhood crocodiles of Carambolim...!!!

Jim Manjooran
02-08-2013, 06:38 PM
and in May the water of the lake recedes quite a bit...and this allows us to get quite close to our "neighbors"..:)..

Jim Manjooran
02-08-2013, 06:41 PM
and it seems all the water birds here are quite used to having these big guns around with their mouths open..!!!....this purple heron certainly lived to tell the tale..!!!..:)..

Jim Manjooran
02-08-2013, 06:44 PM
a composite shot of one particular individual who appeared kind of irritated at being watched so closely....!!!
Just below the strip of land where they lie in the afternoon..I noticed burrows..and soon it was clear that this was actually their summer residence...!!!...:)...

Jim Manjooran
02-08-2013, 06:50 PM
the crocodiles are completely at ease ..as the daily life of the carambolim village passes by them....!!..

Jim Manjooran
02-08-2013, 06:57 PM
and more so...i realized..the villagers here have gotten so used to having these "friends" around...there is hardly anyone stopping for these sightings....amazing to see this kind of relationship...:)..especially because the lake here does not have barriers on the village side....(from where I perch myself)....its all continuous with the land of the village..

Jim Manjooran
02-08-2013, 07:03 PM
so...don't forget...:)...mid may to june..at the carambolim lake...its a free of cost crocodile show...close up and seen in the most natural habitat possible...no crowds...and so far no insensitive loud tourists like you find all over Goa..!!....:thumbup:

Mrudul Godbole
02-08-2013, 10:37 PM
Good to know these crocodiles are living freely so close to the human habitat. Nice series of images. This shows that man - animal can exist in close quarters, provided both give the others space and freedom :). Thanks for sharing this information and images.

Shyamala Kumar
03-08-2013, 10:50 AM
Great photographs of the elusive crocodilian species ,expressive of the peaceful cooexistence of man, beast and of course- birds ! The lake must be having plenty of fish for the crocodiles to be this large which also would mean that this part of goa has a healthy ecosystem which is more than what could be said of lakes in other parts of India.TFS

Jim Manjooran
03-08-2013, 12:50 PM
thanks for viewing Mrudul, Shyamala..
the lake has an abundance of fat Cat-Fish..a fish that is very strong in protein..
hence the size of these characters..:)..:).
When they are submerged..they grab the cat-fish and rise up above the water...its all very sudden..
..here is a rushed sequence of shots..as the scene unfolded in front of me..

Jim Manjooran
03-08-2013, 01:09 PM
..it is a spectacle..and with a lot of clacking noise..as those powerfull jaws clamp down on the Cat-fish..!!..

Jim Manjooran
03-08-2013, 01:44 PM
..in a matter of seconds..it is all over and the waters are still..!!!..
next time...may 2014...the preparation to photograph this must be 100%..!!.:)..

Jim Manjooran
03-08-2013, 01:47 PM
and just one more...before this series ends..:)..
"beware of what lurks underneath..!!!"..:)...

Abhishek Jamalabad
03-08-2013, 03:49 PM
Nice to know about this little population. I wonder if any biologists/conservationists have ever heard of this population. Good to know they are comfortable even with humans around.
Have you noticed any impact on their habitat owing to the human activity around? Is the lake in general affected by garbage disposal, detergents, fertiliser run-off etc.? It might be a good idea to maintain systematic records of the same.
Catfish are voracious, hardy fish that can grow to literally uncontrollable sizes if they find the food necessary. A good population of healthy catfish will ensure large, healthy crocs! :) Since catfish are omnivores with a huge appetite, it is also likely that they keep the lake clean. It would be great if you could document various aspects of the lake's wildlife, so that you could try to derive (or we could discuss here) this very interesting ecology.

Thanks for sharing!

Jim Manjooran
03-08-2013, 04:57 PM
thanks for viewing Abhishek...
Till now, I haven't noticed any adverse effect of human habitation on these crocodiles..
Every summer..they show themselves at the same spot and live in the burrows right underneath this strip of land..
Actually...these mugger crocodiles can be found all over Goa..in similar village lakes and ponds...
I haven't seen anyone "officially" documenting this population here at Carambolim..although everyone knows of this lake and its "natives"..:)..
Thankfully..the lake is remains unpolluted till now, no waste disposal of any kind into the waters..except for few of the villagers defecating at the edges....the waterweed Salvina, that covers some part of the lake..on the eastern edge..and ..lately..the indian railways are extending the track on the western edge...
..this lake is actually a manmade reservoir from ages ago..to help irrigate the large paddy fields of all the villages around...and in summers the waters are released into the fields on the southern side...
Here is a picture of the lake...from the village side..
I stay right next to this lake..and most of the photos that I would post here are all from this lake...and around it..unless mentioned otherwise..
Yes..it is quite an interesting ecology here...:)...and I am looking forward to seeing more of this, scenes coming summers..:)..

Saktipada Panigrahi
04-08-2013, 03:29 PM
Absolutely a splendid series of photographs on lives of Marsh Crocodiles.

(1) Amongst 3 species of Crocodiles found in India, Marsh Crocodile is most adaptable. If the villagers protect this man-made reservoir from pollution, encroachment, filling up of water body and do not disturb the food chain etc.; the ecological balance will be maintained and the species will slowly thrive. Muggers live peacefully close to human beings without conflict.
(3) I am not very sure why so much emphasis has been given on Cat Fish, as they do eat other fishes, birds, reptiles etc.
(4) Because of pressure on land, as an environmentalist, you may have to keep the information on the owners of the land. If the titles stand in the names of the villagers, we are better placed as after the latest judgement of Hon'ble Supreme Court, Right on land is quasi-fundamental now, not just legal as was made in the seventies.
What I intend to mean that villagers should understand the importance of water body for their long term survival and if remain united, law is in their favour.
(5) I find some short tunnels in your thought-provoking images, I think these may have been made my Muggers; as they do the same during dry months.

Thanks for sharing such a beautiful documentary on Mugger.SaktiWild

Roopak Gangadharan
04-08-2013, 09:09 PM
Nice write up and good set of images to go with it. As Abhishek says systematically documenting the habitat, its inhabitants and the effects of human activity will form a valuable record, since you live close it will be easy for you to document it. As we all know sooner or later there will be larger incursions of some sort. These records will help taking up the cause for protecting such habitats which support wildlife and not necessarily falling under a protected area. Such obscure habitats often throw up surprises in terms of the variety of animal and birdlife which they support as nobody would have bothered assessing their floral or faunal diversity and these days diversity and rarity of its inhabitants is critical to take up a fight for protecting a habitat in the name of conservation. Pls keep up the good job..all the best.


Sabyasachi Patra
05-08-2013, 04:56 PM
Nice series of images. It is nice that you have shown the habitat by showing closeups of the channels as well as wide shots showing the movement of people near by. How big is the area of this lake?

How is the situation in rainy season?

Do people take bath in this lake?

Jim Manjooran
06-08-2013, 08:38 PM
thanks Saktipada, Roopak, Sabyasachi...

Fortunately, this lake is zoned as a protected area in all the planning maps and regional plans.
It is recognized by the WWF too.
There is no private ownership of the lake, like all water bodies in Goa, this is owned by the village and government.
There is a 30.00 meters No-development zone from the edge of the lake.
This is a popular spot for birders, although because of the Konkan Railway, the variety of wild life has diminished over the years.

During the monsoons, the lake fills up completely with rainwater..and in the summers, this is released to the fields through a sluice gate.

No one enters the lake to bathe..fishing is prohibited..except for some school children who indulge in very minor fishing at one corner during their summer holidays.
The only problem is the traditional defecating at the edges by some of the villagers and the water weed on the surface.

Here is a snap shot from Google Earth.
The area is around 130 acres.

Abhishek Jamalabad
07-08-2013, 09:02 AM
Thanks for the detailed map, Jim. The weeds you refer to- are they algae or large water plants like water hyacinth? Any possibility of getting them identified, perhaps from the nearby IIAR? I'm no expert at botany, but the vegetation often indicates the impact of human activities on the water body. Maybe the IIAR may already have detailed reports on this. Humans encroaching the place for defecation often leads to man-animal conflict... let's pray it doesn't come to that. Is the lake monitored by WWF?
Look forward to more from this interesting place, maybe even visiting if I'm in those parts.

Jim Manjooran
08-08-2013, 04:39 PM
Abhishek..the weeds are called Salvina..and they are quite a thick on the surface of the lake...seen on the edges mostly....ironically, it is because of the Salvina..that one can walk up ...quite close to the crocodiles and the other residents of the lake..

The Salvina is well documented..and is seen on many of the water bodies all over Goa..
The villagers have been defecating on the edge of the lake for ages now..and it looks like it the crocodiles and these villagers have some kind of pact..!!!..:)..
There are some plans afoot to clean up the lake..lets see how far that goes..
Thanks for viewing.

30-08-2013, 09:54 AM
Hello Jim,
A superb bit of a write up on them Crocs. Excellent Pictures. Thanks indeed.

Atul Sinai
01-09-2013, 07:18 PM
Wonderful documentation Jim. Thanks for sharing !

Murugan Anantharaman
26-11-2013, 11:42 AM
Excellent information shared, thanks Jim. Right from the first image till the last satellite image everything clearly describes the ecology of the place. You have thoughtfully created these images to depict the habitat, human influence and environmental challenges that impacts the lake. As long as non biodegradable elements are not strewn across and in the lake it would be safe.. Its a good thing that the govt has banned fishing thereby ensuring the health of the fishes and crocs. Next time when in Goa, I will make it a point to visit for sure. Thanks for sharing such useful information Jim.