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Published: July 10th 2007
Still catching up with blog entries. Up to the 10th July I have been working on surveying the Small Mammals
that inhabit our surroundings at Sepilok.
Over 4 day period we laid 20 traps baited with banana. Don't think I really need to say they traps do no harm to the little creatures that are tempted in by the promise of a meal, which is probably worth the indignantly of been caught for a few hours and having vital statistics taken followed by a little hair cut!
Over the 4 days we managed to capture several different species mainly shrews either Common Tree Shrew or the Large Tree Shrew variety which always proved very vocal and try to make taking measurement more than a little difficult. Now before you think of the small little shrew that you find in England and think again these are more squirrel size with teeth that are more than ready to express there displeasure at been captured and a bad hair cut!
If you are wondering about the haircut we snip a bit of hair so we can identify if we capture the same one on a success day. We started to
refer to the one that we captured a second or third time as Boudohs (Malay for Stupid) but if you think about it they actually might be the clever ones because they know they get a free banana in exchange for a small time in a trap.
Other than the indignant shrews we had a Mallar? Rat and a Squirrel but the surveys also give us opportunity to see other life on our walks life Chameleons and Dragon Flies and sometimes the we get to see the wild orangutans we never saw on our Orangutan Nest Surveys (typical!).
Other than the surveys we have been repairing some of the Orangutan Play Areas - laying new ropes was pretty hard work (will update with photo shortly when find it) - ok we may be over exaggerating but it did take quite a few of us to pull and tug the new ropes taut enough.
Several evening have been spent walking around Sepilok on Nocturnal Walks
and the delights of the creatures and insects that only appear once all the tourists have gone and under the cover of darkness. Sepilok has a total different feel when you are there
on your own (almost on your own!). You get the chance if you arrive at dusk to see the Orangutans making the Nests we spent most of last week looking for during the Orangutan Nest Surveys. But when the lights truly go out the forest becomes alive and walking the boardwalks yields delights like lantern bugs, stick insects, fire flies and other insects. Looking closely at tree trunks yields loads of small green eyes which the owner turns out to be a Nocturnal Spider - I have on several occasion told out Ranger not to point creatures out with 8 legs or more but he seems to now delight in doing the exact opposite and pointing every eight legged creature out specially when they are close and I find out some even jump - gulp.
Other Nocturnal Delights included a Pitt Viper
in a branch - the silent deadly killer waited motionless and nearby a potential prey of a Tree Frog sat on a leaf oblivious to the potential threat nearby. It is scary to how difficult to see these vipers are even when pointed out and how easy it would be to be bitten as you walked through
the forests. But it was not the viper or the spiders that made me really shudder but the very large scorpion (easily 4 inches in length) that resided in a hole near the walkway - I wasn't even aware that there were scorpions over here.
Highlight of the Nocturnal walk though was my first Preying Mantis
unfortunately not in a very exotic location as it was on the men’s toilet door! A tourist may have got a surprise the next day as we didn't relocate it - just wish I could be there to see!!!
Other night exploits has been a Culinary Evening where Sylvia showed us some Malay style cooking. The food was lovely though I think when we saw the raw ingredients it looked questionable but the results were delicious and Sylvia is an excellent chef. We weren't sure what was a suitable gift to take but after been assured wine was acceptable we bought some at the Supermarket which was an experience in its self - it felt like buying something illicit as the 4 bottles of white wine they had were tucked at the back of the shop on the top shelf! But it
went well with the Banana Flower Dish and Tapioca Leaf Dishes we were been served. Am I an expert Malaysian cook now? - no most definitely not as Sylvia had to take over and rescue the food when she left me in charge of the pan for a short time so don't expect any meals on my return!
Oh still on the note of food and if you are worried about be fading away on my Veggie Diet over here then don't we have found a little corner of heaven in Mile 4 - a place aptly named Seventh Heaven
that sells the most delicious Ice Cream and Cheesecake so I am no longer in need of any Care Parcels of Chocolate but donations to my cheesecake fund would be appreciated
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