Finding the bearded pig in Bako
Bako Travel Blog› entry 35 of 44 › view all entries
We boarded a big shiny red bus which took us on an hours journey from the city of Kuching to Bako village. From the village we then had to take a short 20 minute boat ride through croc infested waters to the National Park headquarters.
As soon as we hit the beach I noticed something big and brown with wiry hair sniffing around the sand and couldnt believe that within 1 minute of arriving we had seen our first bearded pig! I dont think that these animals could quite be described as beautiful but they are very charismatic with long really bushy snouts, beady little
brown eyes and a wiry grey/brown mohekan running down their back. The males have quite long tusks which is the distinguishing feauture separating them from the females, they are also alot more laid back
probably because they dont have piglets to worry about, so they arent really bothered by people whereas the females go skipping off as soon as you cross the imaginary boundry that is just too close.
After checking in we decided to go on a 5km trek through the park. The walk took us through mangrove swamps, beautiful forest and rocky patches lined with pitcher plants. It was beautiful, I didn't realise just how many species of pitchers there were. Some were small and green, dangling from vines in vast numbers, others were about the size of your hand and a really dark red colour, sitting patiently alone, opened on the floor waiting for an unfortunate ant or spider to crawl into its sticky jaws of doom. I know many people don't think plants are very interesting but as they eat bugs I think they are pretty cool, they also look really unique and different from the boring flowry things like dandilions and daisies etc that we are used to at home.Sadly we didnt see much wildlife but the landscape was beautiful so we didnt really mind.
After the walk we went for lunch and noticed that there were signs everywhere telling you to "beware of cheeky macaques" everyone would look at these signs and laugh until they were the next victim of the monkey mafia. Sadly for Ben on our first afternoon he was the chosen one, he had just sat down with his food when something, moving at the speed of light snatched the fried egg from his plate. He stood startled and also with a new respect for macaques that wasnt there previously. From that moment forward we looked at the long tailed macaques in a new light actually praising them for their inginuity and intelligence at being able to get the better of people.
At every meal bananas, muffins and oranges along with the occasional fried egg fell to the hands of macaques often with the victims just sitting with their hands in the air quietly watching their food being devoured by monkeys in front of their eyes.
That evening we had booked in to go on a night walk. Our guide turned out to be pretty useless and Ben and I actually ended up spotting all of the wildlife except for a wraglers pit viper which he took us to see, it had
apparently been sitting in the same place for a week so we didnt want to give him any credit for actually finding her.
minty green colour with yellow banding and really striking eyes. Her camoflage was really impressive and if you werent shown where she was, the untrained eye would never have spotted her. She was paitently sitting on a branch in a bush waiting for any unaware frogs to pass her way...poor frogs.
On the walk we also spotted a few different geckos and frogs, luckily not near the snake, and were also really lucky to see 2 Calugos (flying lemurs). These quiet fluffy creatures are perfectly adapted for life in the trees. Quite a bit larger than squirrels (which they are often mistaken for) they have a strange membrane like skin which runs from arm to leg, almost like a bat wing but thicker and completely joined to their arm and leg, which they spread out in order to glide from tree to tree.
The next morning we awoke to the sound of a blazing war. We wondered what the hell was going on and raced out of the hostel to witness a large group of probiscus monkeys charging across the tin roofed buildings. When they had decided they had made enough noise they leaped back into the tress, throwing themselves from branch to branch, often just launching into a 10-15 metre drop, landing in a bushy part of a tree, sending most of the tree clambouring to the ground.
manes. They really are small, about the size of a jack russels which just amazes me even more how intimidating they can be, anyone sitting there saying I wouldnt be intimidated, just you wait until one pulls a scary face at you and charges towards you with a stance that says "Im 10 times meaner and stronger than I look" I can assure you, you will be scared!
On our final day we took a walk to another part of the mangrove swamp, along the way we stopped and had a look up a pretty little steam where Ben found some cool little skinks just chilling out at the edge of the water, it was hot after all and the perfect day for a dip! We headed on down through the mangrove forest squelching through deep mud as we went, mud skippers leaping out of our path with every step. We saw some fiddler crabs, some otter footprints and heard probiscus monkeys in the trees but that was our lot so we decided to stroll back to the headquarters passing various bearded pig on the way. We also got to see a little brown squirrel delicately moving her precious little baby to a new tree hole, the baby was tiny and it was something neither of us had ever seen before so it was really nice, sadly she moved too quickly for us to get any snap shots of them though :(
Our time in Bako had come to and end, all in all we had a great time, we got to come face to face with bearded pigs, had a glimpse of the secretive colugo, mesmarised by countless pitcher plants, captivated by the diverse scenery, rudely awoken by probiscus monkeys and mugged by macaques. Bring on the next one!!