Along the western coast of India rise the Western Ghats, a mountain range older than the Himalayas. Part of this range is named Nilgiri (நீலகிரி) or ‘Blue Mountains.’ Every twelve years, the Neelakurinji flower that once covered these hills would bloom, carpeting with mountains with blue. The Paliyan, a nomadic hunter-gatherer tribe of the Western Ghats reference the blossom to track their age.
Within the tropical Nilgiri forests lives the small and shy Nilgiri long tailed tree mouse. It builds spherical nests made of grass and leaves in forests and undisturbed plantations of coffee, banana and cardamom. Most active at night, it nibbles on spruce leaves, small insects, flowers and buds.
Scientific Name: Vandeleuria nilagirica
Local Name (Dialect): சுண்டெலி / Cuṇṭeli (Tamil)