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Crocker Range Park (part 3 of 4)

Malayan Tiger Spider

Continued from Part 2…

(You may start reading from Part 1)

Here comes the highlight of my trip in Crocker Range Park, the night walk! I did two night walks, 1st night in Insectarium, and 2nd night in 2.036KM Crocker trail. You see nothing much in both places during daytime, but they turn into a busy world when night falls. If you are interested in night walk, you can arrange in advance with the Park at Administration Office or Crocker Nature Center during office hours. They will send a ranger to guide you. Usually the walk starts at 7:30pm.

Night Walk in Insectarium

guides of night walk
For my 1st night walk in Insectarium, the Park sends two ladies to accompany me, wow. They asked, “would you mind if the guide is female?” I smiled and replied, “No… Of course not” (why should I, hehe..). Oh, by the way, the lady at the left is Tomomi Kan, a Japanese volunteer from JICA. At the right is Lucy Suin, a Sabah Parks staff.

looking for bugs
No kidding… these girls have sharp eyes. They started to discover bugs the moment we stepped into Insectarium. Normally girls will scream when they see bugs. However, these girls are so happy to find creepy creatures in the dark, like enjoying a treasure hunt. With the aid of torchlight, we search every inch of Insectarium and left no leaf unturned.

mantis
One by one, the bugs reveal themselves under their torchlight. I wonder how they did it. Probably they are so used to insect collection. Crocker Range Park has over 400 species of insects, making the Park one of the best spots for collecting specimen.

caterpillar

wolf spider
Above: this might be a Malaysian Earth Tiger (Cyriopagopus thorelli) tarantula spider

cricket at tip of leaf
Above: a cricket disguised as the tip of leaf!

small frog

There are more bugs discovered when we moved closer to the pond and stream areas. It was such a joyful experience!

comb-crested agamid lizard
Above: an agamid that can change color in minute

stick insect
Above: a very long stick insect found by Lucy, the highlight of the 1st night walk.

It started to rain at 10pm, so we had to stop our night walk and said goodbye to each other. Anyway, I’m really happy to bag so many good shots.

Night Walk in Crocker Trail

Because of the exciting experience, I decided to arrange another night walk in Crocker Trail (2.036 KM) next day. This time the Park sends Mr. Rosandy Angkusup to guide me. I feel sorry to make them work until late night in fasting month (Puasa), so I tipped all the guides. Same as the lady guides, Rosandy has a trained eyes to beat the smart camouflage by bugs, especially stick insects.

cicada
Above: a moulting cicada. The moulting was so slow that we couldn’t wait until it finished.

Wooly aphid insect
Wooly aphid insect
Above: the cotton-like substance is a group of Wooly aphid insect, amazing…

Litter frog

firefly
We saw at least 3 fireflies in the jungle.

It is so impressive that crickets can look so different to one another.

leaf cricket

leaf cricket

Green katydid

alien-like cricket
Above: this alien-like cricket was shown in National Geographic channel before. The Crocker Trail is far more promising because the trail is inside the real forest.

civet
Besides bugs, we also saw a Shama bird sleeping on tree, a mouse deer, heard the loud barking of a barking deer (probably smell our presence) and 2 civets at the edge of primary rainforest. We would get some if we carry hunting rifle, haha. Of course, poaching is prohibited in national park.

giant river toad
giant river toad
Above: giant river toad

Stick Insects

Rosandy is so professional in spotting stick insects (I always miss it!). I never saw so many stick insects in one night, nor do I know stick insects have so many species and variety. Some can play dead and some can release foul smell as a defense. Some can fly while some can’t. But all of them have one thing in common – they look like stick.

stick insect

stick insect

stick insect

stick insect

stick insect

stick insect

very long stick insect
Above: very long stick insect

We moved so slowly that the night walk ended at 12:30am and our torchlight was almost out of battery. This is the best night walk I’ve had. I’ll be back one day.

WARNING: I know this blog would attract insect collectors. Please be informed that collection of any flora & fauna in national park without a permit, whether the subject is dead or alive, is a serious offense. You will be fined heavily or even jailed for illegal collection. Crocker Range National Park is NOT a place for you to look for toy pet!!!

Click Here for Next Article (part 4)

More Photos

You may check out the photo album of Crocker Range Park for more nice pictures:
Photos of Crocker Range Park

All Articles

Part 1: Crocker Nature Center, Insectarium, Fern Garden & Rafflesia Plot
Part 2: Crocker Trail, Pine Trail & Observatory Tower
Part 3: Night Walk (this article)
Part 4: Accommodation in the Park

Photos taken in Keningau, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

More Night Walk photos:
Miki Survival Camp

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Sepilok Rainforest to Mangrove (part 2 of 4)

crab-eating monkey

Continued from part 1…
(You may Click Here to start reading from Part 1)

Sepilok Laut Reception Center (SLRC)
Here I was in Sepilok Laut Reception Center (SLRC), deep inside the pristine Sepilok mangrove forest, which makes up nearly 30% of Kabili-Sepilok forest reserve. SLRC is 5.5 KM away from the popular Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center.

Sepilok Laut Reception Center
Sepilok Laut Reception Center signage
>> Click Here to see more photos of Sepilok Forest

SLRC is managed by the Sabah Forestry Department. The Center is for researchers to study the mangrove and rainforest, as well as schools and tourists who want to have recreational tour here to enjoy the natural mangrove environment. The Center is a wooden stilt house built on the mudflat of the mangrove, and it also serves as an enforcement station to prevent intruders from stealing the wood. There have been some illegal Filipino immigrants trying to steal the bark of mangrove tree for making liquor.

Sepilok Laut Reception Center

SLRC consists of two main building, i.e. reception building and staff quarter, connected by a boardwalk.

Sepilok Laut Reception Center

You can watch the 5-minute video below to tour around SLRC, without reading the rest of my lengthy text description:

Click Here to watch bigger video

1. Reception Building

SLRC has no electricity supply during daytime, but the staff turns on the power generator every day after 6pm (or whenever necessary) until morning.

The Reception Building has two dormitory rooms. Each room has two bunk beds and able to take 4 people.
Hostel in Sepilok Laut Reception Center

The dormitory room is quite basic and only has a fan and wardrobe. Pillow and blanket are provided for each bed. The room is quite clean and new.
Hostel room

Outside the rooms is a shared bathroom. Water heater is not available but it’s ok, consider our climate is warm throughout the year.
Bathroom

There is a big living room area, where you can watch TV. Astro, the satellite TV channel, is available.
TV in Sepilok Laut Reception Center
Living room in Sepilok Laut Reception Center
>> Click Here to see more photos of Sepilok Forest

You may sign the guest book at the reception counter or call your dad for money. They have a satellite phone (No: +60-89-676306).
Reception counter
Satellite phone

As there is nothing much to do, you may check out some display items and information.
Insect specimens
photo exhibition
>> Click Here to see more photos of Sepilok Forest

You can see the nice view of mangrove forest outside the window.
Mangrove outside window

It was raining so I sat inside to stay dry and warm, and enjoyed the river view.
jetty

There are crocodiles around here, some are big enough to become man eater, so don’t go swimming in the water. The staff says you would see them during high tide at night. Just few days ago, they witnessed the fight between a monitor lizard and crocodile. The crocodile won and grabbed the tail of the lizard that tried to escape. It sounds like a dinosaur fight in Ultraman TV. Too bad I miss the show.
beware of crocodile

2. Staff Quarter + Kitchen

There is no restaurant in SLRC, so you must bring your own food. You may cook your food and boil drinking water in the kitchen next to the Reception Building. Since I only stayed one night, I brought only canned food.

boardwalk to kitchen

You may have your meal in the dining area. Cooking gas stove, wok, plates, spoon, cups, etc. are available in the kitchen.
dining area

But be careful of the naughty monkey. They would steal your food.
monkey

If you come with a group a friends, you can BBQ here too. More fun..
BBQ stove
>> Click Here to see more photos of Sepilok Forest

If you think you desire better accommodation with air-conditioning, you may book the chalet which can host 8 guests.
Chalet of Sepilok Laut Reception Center

watch tower
Above: there is a lookout tower not far from the building on higher ground. They say some mobile phone line may get coverage there, but not Digi. In terms of line coverage in Sabah, Digi sucks real bad. This is what a frequent traveller like me can tell you. Maxis is the best so far.

view from watch tower
view of mangrove
You can get a nice view of large mangrove area from the lookout tower. SLRC is in intertidal zone, so you get different view in low and high tides. During low tide, the mudflat under the river will expose.

mudflat
The mudflat of mangrove is a busy world. I stood on the boardwalk and saw many activities down there.

fiddler crabs fighting
The fight between two colorful male fiddler crabs.

mudskipper
Mudskipper, a peculiar fish that can walk on land.

monitor lizard
Monitor lizard is the second largest predator (next to crocodile) in mangrove.

mangrove tree
The main mangrove species here are bangkita (Rhizophora apiculata), tengar (Ceriops tagal), nyireh(Xylocarpus granatum), and geriting (Lumnitzera littorea). These trees are adapted to harsh saline and anaerobic water-logged soil in this area.

>> Click Here to see more photos of Sepilok Forest

long-tailed macaque
In late afternoon, I noticed movement in the wood nearby the Center. It was a big long-tailed macaque. According to the forestry staff, it’s the King here…

Read Next Article (part 3)…

Update (Nov 2012)!

Now Sepilok Laut Reception Centre (SLRC) has a new boardwalk in mangrove. You may want to read the new upgrade and latest change of SLRC facilities here.

Photos taken in Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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