One of India's smaller but well known reserves, Panna National Park is known for its wild cats, including tiger, leopard and other cat species. Wild dog, wolf, hyena and caracal all wander the park's large plateau. Sloth bear make their home among the rocky escarpments. The dense forests shelter the large sambar deer, as well as chital and chowsingha. Milgai and chinkara can be seen on the outskirts of the open grasslands.
Panna is situated along the banks of the Ken River, which flows through the reserve from north to south, providing a life line to the park's wildlife. Two species of crocodile specific to India, the mugger and the rarely spotted long snouted gharial, can be found in the river.
Dense mixed forests cover the reserve, interspersed with open grasslands and woodlands. Panna lies in the hills of Vindhya range and, after the monsoon season, the deep ravines are punctuated with cascading waterfalls. Streams and lakes fill up with water, luring flocks of migratory birds. Panna boasts more than 200 bird species, with the magnificent colours of India's national bird, the peacock, often spotted in the reserve. White necked stork, bareheaded goose and honey buzzard are among the many other birds spotted in the park.