View Full Version : Gaur Snorting

Sabyasachi Patra
11-07-2010, 09:46 AM
We don't see this too often. Most of the times when you reach close to a herd of gaur, they move away. This Gaur (Bos gaurus) approached our vehicle menacingly. From its swaying tail and pose, I knew it would come close but because of the size of the vehicle it will stop close by. I was using a wide angle to capture it. When I saw it snorting, I immediately picked up my backup Mark II with the 300mm and captured this. They blow air through their nostrils. AJT Johnsingh mentions in his book Field Days:

"We did not see tahr that morning, but almost walked into a small group of gaur. We were just five meters from them, when the gaur snorted and ran from us.

This is the normal behaviour of this magnificent bovine, but at times, it can lead to near fatal or fatal encounters. RC Morris, who has written extensively about the gaur of the Biligirirangan hills at the southern end of the Eastern Ghats, reports that gaur, particularly a bull that has been harassed by a predator like a tiger, can be unpredictable and dangerous if a person carelessly approaches it on foot. The near-fatal encounter ERC Davidar, a leading naturalist from South India, had with a bull gaur in 1988 near Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary is worth mentioning. Davidar narrates this blood-chilling incident in his book Cheetal Walk. He had left home to investigate a fight that seemed to involve two large animals - possibly a tiger and sloth bears - when a bull gaur, perhaps alarmed by the contestants, attacked him. Badly mutilated, he crawled to a road bank where he was later picked up and taken to a hospital".

Canon EOS 1D Mark II, Canon EF 300mm F4 L IS USM, ISO 200, f4, 1/50, EV:+1/3, full frame image.


Saktipada Panigrahi
26-11-2011, 12:01 AM
Nice image.The behavior well documented.Beautiful write up.Thanks for sharing.SaktiWild
I may quote from the writings of M.Krishnan:

"The snort of surprise or alarm with head,and usually the tail as well,thrown up and the nostrils flared,isoften,but not invariably,the prelude to flight,and on a gaur coming out this sound the entire herd takes alarm ( ref:photo shows a cow at the moment of coming out with this sound,and also 2 seconds later, placid once more,having got over her surprise at suddenly seeing men atop a stationary elephant).Although this sound is an entirely spontaneous response to alarm,the initial part of it (which perhaps consists in sharp intake of breath) is muffled,and what follows is an eruptive snort.Dunbar Brander renders this 'pff-hong' and adds 'the "pff"' is the noise made by the rush of air past the lips before the note is struck'.To my ears, the sound is definitely nasal and eruptive,i.e., a snort.
Bulls and cows even,come out with short, deep bronchial grunts and snorts when excited or angry, as when a tiger or leopard is seen or when sorrounded by dogs."-M.Krishnan