Monday, 23 June 2014

Gunung Mulu National Park

We flew over the Brunei virgin dense rainforest into Sarawak, the north-east section of Borneo. Mulu is a World Heritage Park famed for it's beautiful limestone cave formations, and the millions of bats and swiftlets which live in them. Mulu also provides lowland and mountain forests which are home for a high biodiversity of plants, ferns, mosses, fungi, birds, fish, amphibians, mammals and insects. Unfortunately most of the animals know that humans walking through a thick jungle are coming long before we get to see them.

During a couple of night walks (one with a guide, and one on our own) we spotted many different types of stick insect - some almost like branches rather than sticks - large geckos, millipedes- including a particularly pretty hairy one, a moon rat, and some sleeping birds including a maroon kingfisher and a fluffy green spider catcher.

Looking for more of a physical challenge we went adventure caving for 4 hours, a mixture of hiking, abseiling and climbing in a pitch black cave called Racer, named after the species of snake which lives there! We saw two Racer snakes and were told how they have learnt to catch a meals of bats or birds as they fly by in the total darkness. Also just as happy living in the cave were numerous large spiders, scorpions, bats, swiftlets and lots of crickets. If you don't like spiders don't scroll down to the end! 

The view from the park entrance road up into the limestone hills forming the unique geography that supports an incredible biodiversity at Mulu National Park

The typical creator of the rustle in the dead leaves that sets your mind racing thinking "snake?!"

Stick insects a plenty at night - some over 12 inches long

Heading up river for some adventure caving - the life jackets are a tad OTT as the river is only about a foot deep!

Some easy bits!

…and some trickier bits! No longer scared of heights though!

The squeeze

The cascade

The dream team

Lots of crickets eating swiftlet and bat guano

Lots of scorpions eating crickets

Lots of spiders eating crickets and scorpions

And Racer Snakes eating everything it can, including plucking birds and bats from the air and any careless cavers!


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