Bats, Bats, and More Bats!!

Trip Start Aug 24, 2010
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23
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Trip End Sep 01, 2011


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Where I stayed
Mulu National Par HQ

Flag of Malaysia  , Sarawak,
Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mulu National Park....WOW! After two days in civilization, we went back to the jungle! You need to catch a flight into Mulu National Park...and the flight is definitely interesting! It's so lush and green around the park area; however, the rest of Malaysia has fallen victim to clear cutting...and re-planting of Palm Plantations. Our accommodations at the Mulu Park Headquarters was like a 5 star hotel!...at least it felt like it coming from Brunei..haha. We were staying in a Longhouse type bungalow...really nice.

Our first night there, we decided to do a night walk...since a couple we had met the day before told us that they were lucky enough to see a tarsier monkey on the night walk...so we tried our luck!...No such luck...lol. We did see some spiders, lizards, and more fire ants...this time I got away scott free. We did see a civet earlier in the evening too!

On the first day: Ahh...morning, let's open the blinds and let the....EEK! What the heck is that??!! A giant wasp like creature with an orange band around his body came buzzing out at us! For half hour, we tried to get the friendly little guy out of our room. After a few failed attempts, we decided we better get a park ranger to help us. Of course...they found it hilarious when we were trying to explain the situation to them, but when the park ranger came to our room and saw him...he quickly backed out and said, "I'm not touching that!!...it's dangerous"...so if he's not going to get it...and we can't get it...what do we do??? He went on to tell us that their sting is deadly and they will sting if they feel threatened. He watched his friend get stung and pass out...and not too long ago, there was a family that was attacked...the two adults ended up in intensive care and the two children died! Wow...we sure are lucky to be catching all these deadly jungle bugs! That afternoon, after the bug finally left on his own terms, we hiked out to a waterfall. It's the only walk you can do on your own without a guide. The rainforest here is a really wet forest with tons of water on the ground, so our walk turned out to be pretty muddy. It is a 1.3km hike, one way. The waterfall was pretty, but not pretty enough to swim in! haha. Later in the evening, as we were sitting down for dinner, this HUGE flying bug came into the restaurant area...it was flying around blindly and crazily...slamming into walls and the ceiling fans. Eventually, it landed...or got knocked out. One of the park rangers found it and brought it over to us to show us. It was a cicada! Almost as long as my hand! Apparently, they live for 15-17 years as larvae underground, then only about 3 weeks as a flying cicada! What a life.

We checked out a few caves...pretty interesting...but not raw caves...they all had boardwalks through them. The best one was the Deer Cave. It's about an hour hike to the cave. We were just about to the entrance when the lady behind us calls out that there's a snake. We had walked right past the thing and he was practically on the path!! He was a bright green color, the same as the trees, with a grayish blue tail....and standing on guard, staring at us, waiting to attack if we got closer! We all snapped some pictures and left him alone...since our guide was already in the cave way ahead of us! haha. This cave is enormous!...and the most beautiful cave I have ever seen. However, when you use your light, you quickly realize what the smell is...bat guano!! Tons of it! The ground is covered in bat crap...it looks like mud. When you shine your light closely on it, it looks like it's moving...wait a minute...the guano isn't moving...it's dung beetles!! Gross!!! Better to leave the lights off...lol.

After walking through the cave, we headed off to a viewing spot....a little ways away, but with a perfect view of the cave entrance. We waited for about 2 hours...and then it happened!! What a sight! About three million bats came flying out of the cave...spiraling around to avoid the hawks....for more than 4 minutes straight, bats continuously flew out of the cave. It was amazing! They fly in different spiral patterns, all together. Now I know why there was so much guano in the cave!! The jungle is such an amazing place!!
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