Skip to main content


Table 1 Animals with their uses in the study group Tamang

From: Man-animal relationships in Central Nepal

Common name/Family/Sub-family Scientific name Local name Uses Use category Consensus index
Pheretima spp. "Gadeula" Earthworms are ground and the mixture is filtered. The filtrate is administered orally to children suffering from high fever due to measles and chicken pox. M xx
Honey bee/
Apis spp. "Mauri" Honey is used in cuts, wounds, burns, gastritis and urinary problems. Bees are allowed to sting heart patients to cure heart problems. (Bee venom therapy) M xxx
Himalayapotamon atkinsonianum Woodmason, 1871 "Gangato" Crabs are used in a number of ways. These are administered orally to small children to stop bedwetting (enuresis). Cooked or roasted crabs are eaten to sharpen memory and to treat gastritis. M xx
Wasps &Hornets
Polistes spp.
Vespa spp.
These are fried and eaten. Broods are preferred to the adults in taste. F xx
Limax sp. "Chiplekira" Slugs are eaten raw either mixing with a ball of clarified butter or mixing with hot milk for nutrition usually by patients of chronic illness like TB.
Slugs are also used to join the fractured bone. For this purpose these are ground to fine paste and the paste is then applied at the site of the fracture.
M, F xxx
Hill Trout/
Schizothorax plagiostomus (Heckel, 1838) "Sun Asala" Alimentary canal along with the inner contents is cooked and eaten by persons suffering from gastritis. Bile juice has a medicinal value and is purported to cure a number of ailments along with gastritis. M, F x
Nepalese Minnow/
Psilorhynchus pseudecheneis (Menon & Dutta, 1964) "Tite Maccha" This fish is eaten to cure high fever and to maintain free passage of urine in case of its obstruction due to some unknown reasons. Bile is administered orally to cure fever. M, F x
S fam. Cyprininae
Tor tor (Hamilton, 1822) "Sahar" Bile juice is administered orally in cases of high fever. M x
Liebig's frog/Ranidae Paa liebigii
(G√ľnther, 1860)
"Man Paha"
"Kalo Paha" "Beng"
It provides a good source of protein and nourishment to the local people. A small piece of dried skin is soaked in water and rubbed on stone to obtain a paste, which is then applied to wounds and burns. M xx
Paa polunini (Smith, 1951) "Sano Paha" Dried frog is ground to a smooth paste and is given to children suffering from diarrhea and dysentery. The paste is also used to reduce scars in the skin caused by wounds and burns. M xx
---------- "Sarpa" It is believed that if a snake crosses the road before setting on a journey, it is inauspicious.
Meat of any species of snake is eaten to improve the eyesight.
Fat from cooked snake is believed to cure even cancerous wounds.
Hemidactylus spp. "Mausuli", "Cchipkili" Charms are made out of bones of the lizards and it is believed that these drive evil spirits away. MR xx
Gallus gallus
(Linnaeus, 1758)
"Kukhura" Chicken soup is considered to be nourishing food especially for women just after delivery.
Fat is used to give massages for the treatment of sprains and strains.
Both incidents such as crowing of the cock at a time other than morning and crowing of hen are thought to be bad omens.
F, M, OI xxx
Sturnus spp. "Saraun" Raw blood is eaten to be cured from chronic blood dysentery. The cooked bird may also cure diarrhea and dysentery. M x
Whistling Thrush/
Myiophonus caeruleus (Scopoli, 1786) "Kalchaude"
Cooked flesh is given to women suffering from menstrual irregularities and infertility. Its meat is also thought to lessen pain during delivery. M xx
Crested serpent eagle/
Spilornis cheela (Latham, 1790) "Kakakul" Cooked flesh is given to the person suffering from diarrhea and vomiting.
Charms are made out of bones, claws and head part and given to wear to children for their general well being.
Weather forecast - If the bird makes shrill sound, it predicts rainfall in the near future.
Eurasian Griffon/
Gyps fulvus (Hablizl, 1783) "Giddha" It is used as an omen indicator. If it is found to be hovering above a particular house, it is believed that there is sure going to be sad demise of one of the family members. In other words, the Griffon predicts death of one of the persons of the area. OI xxx
House Crow/
Corvus splendens Vieillot, 1817 "Kag" If a crow crows early in the morning facing a house, it indicates some news for the family.
But if it crows perching on a bare twig, it indicates bad news for the family.
OI xxx
House Swallow/
Hirundo rustica (Linnaeus, 1758) "Gaunthali" There is a belief among the rural folk that if anybody kills the swallow, he or she is sure to suffer from leprosy. This kind of notion places a taboo on the killing of the swallow. S x
Fish owl/
Ketupa spp. "Hoochil" This bird produces different tones of sound in different time periods. It is believed that if it produces laughing sound, it indicates death of a person in the nearby area. OI xxx
Streptopelia spp. "Dhukur" Flesh is cooked and eaten for its nutritive value. F, M x
Horned owl/
Bubo bubo (Linnaeus, 1758) "Hapsillo" This bird acts as omen indicator. If it makes a sound like "hoon-hoon", it indicates bad news. On the other hand, if it makes sound like "pau-pau" some news is indicated, but not bad news. OI xx
Lepus nigricollis nigricollis(Cuvier, 1823) "Kharayo" It is believed that fresh blood of rabbit lowers high blood pressure. F, M x
Ovis ammon (Linnaeus, 1758) "Argali" Fat is applied to scars made by wounds and burns, causing the skin texture to become smooth and tender. M xxx
Domestic cow/
Bos spp. "Gai" Bile is taken orally to cure stomach ache, gastritis and diarrhea. M xxx
Bubalus sp. "Bhainsi" Fat is used to cure scars and cracks in the skin. Bile from the gall bladder is consumed to cure gastritis. M xxx
Wild Yak/
Bos grunniens mutus
(Przewalski, 1883)
The tail is used in faith healing. MR xxx
Sloth bear/
Melursus ursinus (Shaw, 1791) "Kathe bhalu" Bile juice from the animal is boiled in water and the soup is taken orally to cure gastritis, other stomach problems and TB. A bile and cow milk mixture, prepared by mixing a few drops of bile in about 200 ml of milk, is given to cure asthma. The patient's body is massaged with its fat to lessen muscular pain. Charms are made out of bones and worn to drive off evil spirits. M
Barking deer/
Muntiacus muntjac (Zimmermann, 1780) "Ratuwa" A kind of musical instrument called "Damphu" is made out of its skin. Raw blood is taken orally to cure dysentery. EMUS
Cervus unicolor Kerr, 1792 "sambar" or "Jaratyo" Faith healers use horns of the animal in their treatment mechanism. These are also kept in the rural houses as decorative items. Bones are boiled to make a thick and concentrated soup, which is taken orally to cure various ailments like rheumatism, backache and etc. MR
Axis axis (Erxleben, 1777) "Chital" It is valued as a food. F x
Musk deer/
Moschus chrysogaster (Hodgson, 1839)) "Kasturi Mriga" Musk or "kasturi" is used in making medicines. Local people use musk to make charms, which are normally worn to ward off their enemies. M, MR xxx
Hystrix indica (Kerr, 1792)
H. brachyura (Linnaeus, 1758)
"Dumsi" The alimentary canal is boiled along with its contents and the soup thus prepared is taken orally to cure asthma.
Meat serves as good source of protein to the villagers.
Bile juice is taken orally to cure typhoid or applied externally in the treatment of wounds.
M, F xxx
Canis aureus (Linnaeus, 1758) "Syal" Jackal flesh is mixed with millet or locally produced cereal and yeast to produce alcohol. Alcohol released by fermentation of the mixture is trapped by the distillation process. This alcoholic beverage, called "Syalko raksi", is very popular among the ethnic group. It is purported to be of high medicinal value. It is used in massages for the treatment of body aches (gout and arthritis) or even taken orally for relief. M xxx
Canis spp. "Kukkur" The crys of a dog indicate a bad omen. OI x
Red fox
Indian fox/
Vulpes vulpes (Linnaeus, 1758)
V. bengalensis (Shaw1800)
It is a common belief amongst the rural folk that a howling fox indicates a bad omen and predicts the death of a person in the village. OI x
Felis bengalensis Kerr, 1792 "Biralo" If a cat crosses the road before the onset of journey, it is cancelled because of fear of bad luck in future. It is considered to be bad omen.
A black cat is thought to be a symbol of a witch.
OI x
Panthera tigris tigris (Linnaeus, 1758) "Bagh" Tiger milk is supposed to prevent a fire from further propagation.
Tiger bones, claws and whiskers are used in making charms, which are thought to bring strength and vigor to the wearer and frighten the enemy.
S, MR x
Hanuman Langur
Semnopithecus entellus (Dufresne, 1797) "Langur" Cooked meat reduces joint pain. M x
  1. Abbreviations used in use category column: F: food, M: medicinal, MR: magico-religious, OI: omen indicating, S: superstitious, WF: weather forecast, EMUS: ethnomusical and T: Trophy
  2. The consensus index reflects the spontaneous quotation frequencies for different remedies: x: use quoted by less than 10% of the informants; xx: use quoted by more than 10% and less than 40% of the informants; xxx: use quoted by more than 40% of the informants.