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A white cow lying down in the road in an Indian village

Indian animals: A white cow

Cows and bulls

Cattle were probably the most important animals in India for people. They came to India originally from Central Asia. Indian people did not eat cows, because Hindus thought of cows as sacred. But people used cows to pull carts, and for plowing fields, and also used cows’ milk to make yogurt.

Where are cattle from?
How do you make yogurt?
Early Indian plants
The Indian environment
All our India articles

Water buffalo

Indian animals: Water buffalo

Water buffaloes

People in India also got a lot of their milk from water buffaloes.  Water buffaloes were native to India and were probably domesticated there. Children (both boys and girls) often went out with the water buffaloes to take them out to their pastures and to water.

Chickens and eggs

Camel pulling a cart

Camel pulling a cart

Chickens reached India from Thailand or China about 2500 BC, and have been common in India since that time.

Where are chickens from?
History of sheep 
Who domesticated donkeys?
Where are camels from?

Sheep and goats arrived from West Asia, and donkeys from Africa, probably about the same time. Camels, on the other hand, were not common in India until the Islamic invasions around 1000 AD.

Monkeys and deer

Monkeys and deer

There were also a lot of wild animals in India. Tigers and monkeys and big snakes lived in the forests in some parts of India. There were also lots of other animals: deer, and foxes, and hares, and turtles.

More about chimpanzees
And about snakes

Baby elephants

Baby elephants

Elephants were born in the wild, but sometimes men caught and tamed them. These elephants pulled trees for building houses, carried heavy loads, and fought in battles. People also used the ivory from elephant tusks to carve statues and make jewelry.

What is ivory?

Learn by doing: visit a zoo to see animals from India
More about Indian plants
More about the Indian environment

Bibliography and further reading about the Indian environment:

Indian environment
More about Indian plants
More about Ancient India
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