Bhitarkanika is India’s second largest mangrove ecosystem. The sanctuary has 215 species of birds in which the most important are the eight varieties of kingfisher and the migratory birds from Europe and Central Asia. Apart from this the sanctuary is the home for many reptiles, mammals and vertebrates which includes the venomous Cobras and Indian Pythons, the endangered water monitor lizards, Chitals, Jungle cat, Wild Pigs, Otter, Rhesus Monkeys, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Wild Boar and the Fishing Cat.
The Asian Open Bill, Cormorants, Darters, Black Ibis, Egrets, open billed storks, sand pipers, sea eagles, whistling teals, kites and sea gulls are the frequently noticed avian of the sanctuary. In 1975, the Union Ministry of Forest and Environment, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, started a crocodile breeding and rearing project in Dangamalla within the national park.
In 2006, a 23-foot crocodile found in Bhitarkanika was noted as the world’s largest estuarine crocodile in the Guinness Book of World Records. Bhitarkanika national park only where three species of crocodiles are seen named as salt-water, gharial, and mugger– are found inhabiting of the river systems.