Published: May 11th 2008May 11th 2008
Brown Eared Tree Frog
This frog was more than happy to pose - so cute!
If Bako (national park) is foil then Uncle Tan's is heavy metal, cause it rocks!! Sorry about that, what a lame way to start - let me explain. Since arriving in Malaysia we have spent a good proportion of our time in the jungle, even more so in Borneo. We have loved every second of it but none more so than our last three days on the Kinabatangan river at Uncle Tan's famous jungle camp. Bako probably had the edge for beauty but in so many other ways, not least the diversity of in your face wildlife, Uncle Tan's has been our highlight.
As mentioned before the camp itself is situated just off the lower Kinabatangan river on a beautiful ox-bow lake, though when we were there it was hard to tell what was lake from what was river, as the area was flooded. The camp, as they kept reminding us, was very basic indeed with accommodation in raised wooden huts, a dining area with attached kitchen where they served up four delicious meal's a day, a few squat toilet's and no shower's. Fine for a pair of stinkers like us but not to everyone's taste. The camp is surrounded
We were so lucky to get this close to a male urang-utan. Amazing!!
by lush, secondary growth jungle, most of which was a deep muddy bog! Thankfully they supplied welly boot's, though these were a little pointless as the mud and water was over knee deep in many places! Getting to the camp involves a two hour road trip from Op's base followed by an hour and a half boat trip down river. We stayed for three days and were looked after exceptionally well. There were several programmes arranged on each day (boat safari, night jungle trekking, morning safari etc) which were conducted by incredibly knowledgeable, friendly and above all genuinely interested guides. Here come the beasties.
Pied Oriental Hornbill, Wrinkled Hornbill and Black Hornbill (I think) - These enormous birds with the distinctive growth on the top of their large beak's are an incredible sight, especially when flying in pairs across the Kinabatangan, silhouetted by the rising sun.
Great Ibis - These large white bird's with long legs were commonly seen standing still at the water's edge looking for food. They would often take off as we came near in an ungainly flight to the nearest tree.
Blue Eared Kingfisher, Stork Billed Kingfisher and one other
This monster swam through the flood and happily ambled around the camp
- These could often be seen either perching on a branch scanning the water for fish or flashing along the bank like an iridescent exocet missile. Strangest though was on the night boat safari when we got to see these creatures from inches away. They have very, very poor night vision so we could observe them from very close - just so long as we didn't knock the branch or make too much noise. So strange to see a normally nervous bird this close!
White Bellied Fish Eagle - We saw this one a couple of times flying over the river on enormous, meter wide wings. This is the largest raptor in Borneo.
Serpent Eagle - A comparatively small, brown Eagle that feeds on snake's, lizard's and small Mammals.
Red and Black Blue Bill - Don't know anything about this little fella but he was very pretty and we did see him!
Bearded Pig - We saw a couple of these delightfully ugly creatures in the wild and one semi tame one called come-come in the camp itself.
Macaque - The ubiquitous primate, the terror of jungle caterer's, the bad boy of the
Not sure what kind these are but they gathered on the mud in beautiful white clouds
jungle. Anny watched a raiding party of these hilarious monkey's successfully liberate a tin of condensed milk from the kitchen. In their excitement the tin was spilt on a tree and Anny watched in amusement as the Alpha male went from licking sweet milk from the tree, to servicing one of his females and back to the tree again! Milk, minky, milk, minky, milk, minky - such a great life.
Proboscis - We saw much larger groups here than compared to Bako, but from further away. These simian's love the water and are always to be found very near it, perhaps this is why this monkey, endemic to Borneo, was seen in such large numbers. Each group, some here as large as twenty, were lead by the dominant male who was so much larger than the rest. Amazing to watch them leaping huge distances between the tree's
Borneo Gibbon - Saw one of these rare creatures but only briefly and from a distance
Silver Leaf Monkey - Again only saw a couple and from no where near as close as at Bako
Orang-utan - What can I say about the only great ape to be found
Horned Orb Weaver
This spider is only small but very beautiful - even Anny wasn't to repulsed by this one!
outside of Africa and then only on Borneo or Sumatra? Probably quite allot but I'll keep it short. We saw, at incredibly close quarters, a male and a female. The male can live for up to 50 years, weigh from 50 -100 kg, are believed to be one of our closet living relatives, and one of the most intelligent animals there is. Such a genuine privilege to be able to see these amazing creatures before it's too late.
Reptiles and Frogs
Monitor Lizard - This lizard is massive, the one we saw must have been 150cm long and very wide. They are found in or around water and are exceptional swimmers. They feed on carrion and like snake's can dislocate their lower jaw to eat food much bigger than their head. Amazing!
Cricket Frog, Harlequin Frog, Brown Bull Frog, Dark Eared Tree Frog and the world's second smallest frog - These were all seen on the night safari. Some were amazingly camouflaged, the second smallest frog in the world was only 10mm long but could leap for over a meter, whilst others secreted poison.
Insects and Spiders
Lantern Bug - This bizarre looking insect is
The brown does not contain poison, so I was assured!
beautifully coloured and has a strange growth forward of its head that lights up
Whip Scorpion - This Scorpion has no sting but was impressive none the less
Black Scorpion - This huge and scary insect was only viewed briefly before it retreated to a hole in a tree.
Cotton Bug - This is the Cotton Moth before it becomes one and looks just like a piece of white, fluffy cotton!
Giant Centipede - This one, unlike the orange variety, does not contain poison but does secrete a smell like marzipan to attract females. Figures, if you want to attract a lady then smell like cake!
Giant Millipede - The one I saw was 10 inches long
Horned Orb Weaver - This small spider has a beautifully coloured body that has strange horns coming out of it
Golden Orb Weaver - Another very brightly coloured spider
Wolf Spider - A medium sized, brown ground spider
Borneo Blue Tarantula - My favourite! I took myself into the jungle on my own at night, as I had not, to this point, seen any large spider's. This one was 5 meters up a tree
Tree Frog (forgotten name)
This creature can change its colour to blend in to the background.
but must have been 12 inches across with a body three inches by two. Apparently this species was only discovered three years ago
So those were the amazing creatures we saw plus loads more like butterflies, bats and many birds I just cant remember. Before we went to Uncle Tan's we went white water rafting which was seriously good fun. The rapids were grade's three to four and damned scary! No photo's though cause it was a bit wet!
There are more photos below