After our morning canopy walk, we came back exhausted! Thankfully we hadn’t booked anything until later that evening. We napped for most of the afternoon before heading down to the Family Restaurant for dinner. After looking at the menu, we decided that a banana split was in order, and quite frankly, life is uncertain, so we decided to eat dessert first. YUM! Oh it was delicious! Best. Decision. Ever. We shared a noodle dish and a rice dish (I can’t remember what either of them were) and then headed back to our hotel to read for a little while. We sat on our balcony, enjoying the nice evening and watching the sun set.
At around 8:00, we headed down to Wan Floating Restaurant to meet the rest of the group for our night walk. While we were waiting, we saw a little preview of the night life around the forest- we saw a lizard hunting for bugs as well as several moths. When everyone else arrived, we boarded the boat with flashlights in hand and our guide by our side, ready to explore the nocturnal life of Taman Negara.
As we walked up the stairs of Mutiara resort, our guide pointed out where the last great flood marker had been drawn. January’s recent flood surpassed that marker by nearly 15-20 feet! We walked through the resort, which was quiet since it was under construction from flood damage, until we arrived at the forest walkway. We walked quietly through the forest along the boardwalk with our lights bobbing silently ahead of us. It was eerily quiet except for the sound of crickets and other insects providing their accompaniment. Not far into the forest, our guide pointed out some insects- walking sticks or praying mantises that are only visible at night. One was VERY large! In addition to the walking sticks, we also saw a huge centipede crawling on a tree. Our guide dared us to touch it… so I did. It felt like some plastic ribbed tubing. It was kind of cool!
Walking further, we were told to be very quiet. Our guide knows the home of a large, poisonous, night scorpion. He told us to wait quietly while he went to get his “tool” to lure the scorpion out. A few moments later, he came back with a fuzzy plant with a long stem. He reminded us again to be super quiet and then motioned for us to follow him. We stepped off the path and on to the forest floor, following our guide to an old log. We lined up around him so that we could all see while he slowly tapped and dragged the plant in the crack of the log. A few moments later, we saw a pincher, followed by another pincher, followed by a head and then a torso. Then someone made noise and the scorpion scurried back into his home. We tried again but were unsuccessful at luring him all the way out. Thankfully, we did get to see this guy for a brief moment- he was HUGE! He looked more like a lobster than a scorpion. Our guide told us that this particular scorpion will only venture about a foot away from his home because of his poor eyesight- poor thing would never find his way back! We also learned that he uses the fuzzy plant to mimic the vibrations that a small insect would make if it were crawling across the scorpion’s path.
We carried on and the next cool thing we saw was a chameleon! I’ve never seen a chameleon in my life, not even at the zoo, but here was one, just chilling out on a tree branch. Our guide told us to wait a moment while he made sure that things were safe for us on the forest floor again. Once we got the go ahead, we stepped off the platform and wandered a few feet into the forest for a closer look at this magnificent lizard. Check out my photos. We got to see this guy up close and personal!
As we continued on, we were again told to be very quiet. We were approaching the home of a bird eating spider. He wasn’t sure that we would be able to see him, but he knew our chances would be better if we were silent. As we approached, he ushered us past a tree and then shone his flashlight up the tree’s trunk. And there, about 1/3 of the way up the tree was a MASSIVE spider. Its width was nearly that of the trunk! We took some photos and then our guide walked us backwards to the other side of the tree. Here he shone his light into a hole in the base of the tree… there inside was a baby bird eating spider.
As we continued walking, our guide pointed out the nest of some sort of colorful bird. I don’t know what kind of bird this is. At first all we could see was the bird’s butt, but when we circled around the tree, we were able to see its head poking out the other side. It was indeed lovely. As we left that place we saw yet another poisonous spider (a much smaller one this time).
Then we headed to one of the deer blinds that they have located inside the forest. Here we were able to climb to the top level for the best vantage point. It overlooks a field where they have placed several salt licks. We sat silently for a few moments while our guide teased us about not being able to see anything. After he’d poked his fun, he turned on his flashlight to illuminate 5 different deer that he had spotted with his naked eye, just sitting there. We watched them for a few minutes before carrying on.
On our way back we saw a massive grasshopper, some porcupines, a rat (which I’m pretty sure was a squirrel), and another bird tucked in a palm tree.
As we waited on the platform for the boat to come pick us up, the cicadas kept dive-bombing us. They were bouncing off of my head and my back. After traversing the forest in the dark, the scariest part of the whole night was being there with those dang bugs. The boat couldn’t come soon enough! Thankfully, it arrived soon and we crossed the river back to our side.
We wandered back up the hill to our hotel but decided to buy a bottle of water at the convenience store across the street and ended up running into a guy we’d talked with before. We ended up sitting down with Tom and sharing a few beers and a second dinner (noodles) while chatting and enjoying each other’s company. We even got a bit of a show when the guys at our hotel across the way decided to be walking around in their underwear right in front of their very large, open window. We laughed at them and then said goodnight. After an awesome day in the rainforest, it was time for bed!