Thailand: Khao Sok National Park: Night Walk

After dark, about a dozen of us set off with a ranger on a walk into the darkness of the Khao Sok National Park.  We had been warned before hand, by our tour guide, that we should cover up, the full thing: long sleeves and trousers and to take repellent to guard against biting insects.  So, covered from head to toe, I was!  Our guide turned up in shorts, thongs and nothing else.  Mosquitoes?  No, there weren’t any mosquitoes!  The jungle is very dry and this was probably the reason for the lack of mosquitoes.  But I wasn’t dry…my shirt was wringing wet within minutes and remained so for the 2 hours of the walk! 

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It was a good walk although not exciting.  We did see lots of spiders although some of them were hard to see on tree bark and on the ground.

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Not sure what sort of spiders… but always wise not to get too close!

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Up in the branches was a beautiful green snake with orange markings.

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We watched him… he watched us.

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I tried to get a decent shot of this little bird but he hid himself too well.

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Some of us were interested… some not so much!

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But the interest was aroused by this little ‘winged’ lizard or ‘flying dragon’.  They possess a gliding structure, or patagium, attached to specialised ribs which can be extended away from the body.  They can glide many metres from tree to tree.

There are about 40 kinds of these little lizards across south east Asia.  This little creature is Blanford’s Gliding Lizard, one of the largest of its type.  The male reaches 13 cm from snout to vent (not including the tail; the female 11 cm.  These tiny lizards inhabit lowland rainforest up to around 1200 metres elevation.

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This tiny lizard dutifully displayed his brightly coloured orange throat pouch, also known as a dewlap or a gular flag.

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A close up the delicate pattern of scales.  Males are identified by olive-grey mottling on the back and patagium, and females by transverse banding.  My guess is that this is a female.

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Placed back on a trunk, the colouring of the scales is excellent camouflage helping it to blend in well with the dappled colours of the bark.  It almost looked like an aboriginal art work.  As they cling to tree trunks, they feed on ants and other tiny insects.

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There was quite a lot of bamboo in the park.  The signs were in both Thai and English which was good.  They are set out in fairly ornate signage frames.

Thailand has 12 bamboo species with 41 varieties.  In Khao Sok National Park you can find 7 varieties on the park trails, including  Thyrosostachya siamensis also called Monastery Bamboo which is a tightly clumping bamboo that grows to 13 m high.  Bamboo grows very quickly like grass.   Elephants enjoy eating the young bamboo shoots.

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A chameleon minding its own business until we interrupted its night hunting.

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Another spider with large palps that look like another set of legs.

As I mentioned earlier, it was an interesting walk but not what you would call exciting!  And it was a VERY HUMID night with clothes clinging to skin in a most unpleasant way.

Back in our room the fan was set whirring and I climbed in under my flapping mosquito net. It was so hot I decided I would just lie on top of the bed and not bother with any covering.  This was a bad idea because I didn’t sleep well at all as I am used to something, even if only a sheet, over me.  Add to this, any two pieces of skin in contact with each other stuck together like two pieces of cling wrap.  The next morning in some respects, could not come quickly enough, a day when we would explore further into Khao Sok National Park. More of that anon.

A video of my time at Morning Mist Resort and Khao Sok National Park is included here:

Morning Mist Resort Vimeo address

https://vimeo.com/165095034

David

All photographs copyright © DY  of  jtdytravels

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