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Land of the king ptII

Karnataka Travel Blog

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Agumbe rainforest research station

 

    Since we last wrote we have been on a few adventures and seen so much wildlife that our minds have been blown completely away!

   Before beginning this adventure I was excited at the prospect of spending a month in the rainforests of India but absolutely petrified at the prospect of coming face to face with a King Cobra as well as the many other species of snake which inhabit these forests. On our arrival here I had to get over my fears pretty quickly and am in the perfect place to do so due to the people here and their amount of knowledge of the snake life here. To ensure that I was over my fear I took the ultimate test and actually handled a rat snake, he was absolutely huge, almost the length of me, and although I was nervous of the prospect, once the snake was actually in my hands, all nerves flew away. The snakes skin was so soft and smooth, for some reason I expected his skin to feel slimy and moist but I was completely wrong. I’m not saying that I am now a snake lover but they no longer in still fear when I see one.

  As many of you are aware it was my 23rd birthday on the 14th.... Happy Birthday to me!! To celebrate Ben and I took a day trip to Jog Falls which was about a 3 hour drive away from the research station in Agumbe. Jog Falls is the largest waterfall in India and they are absolutely stunning. We stayed at the falls for about an hour staring out over the huge expanse of water and the greenery surrounding them. Although to us the falls seemed to be vast and powerful, apparently, due to the lack of rainfall the falls were much quieter and lacking than usual. For the past week or so the weather has been worryingly tame, this is the monsoon season but we had seen more sunshine than rain, which although we thought was really nice and relished it was actually a real worry as the lack of rains meant that the streams and ponds were drying up and much of the new amphibian life was dying due to the lack of water.

  However, thankfully the rains have now arrived with a vengeance and over the past few days it has been raining non- stop so hopefully they are here to stay and the amphibians will flourish once again!!    

 The research which we have been undertaking has been going really well so far. Every night we trek to a nearby spring where we conduct half of the survey, noting down the amphibian life we see, Ben spends the hour waist deep in water searching intently for any signs of life whilst I took the job as the data collector so I just stand in the mud noting down anything which is found, trying to stay dry, look out for any snakes and keep a track of the time. So far I have only fallen over badly once whilst Ben has so far had an accident at least once a day! We spend the other half of our survey time inspecting 3 transects of a beetle nut plantation which is not so fun as you have to dodge insanely large spider webs as well as the pesky leeches which are constantly trying to find a meal. Speaking of leeches, Ben managed to get a leech on the worst place imaginable for a man! The worst leech attack I have had so far is on my bum cheek which would have been Ok if the leech was not still on there when I discovered it, which was not too pleasant.

  To try to make the most of our time we have also been out on a few night walks. Our surveys are from 8-10 so the walks we have done have been after that. So far we have seen slow Loris which was absolutely awesome, they are such great creatures moving so slowly and carefully through the canopy but you can’t help but laugh at them as they are so comical to watch. We have also seen mouse deer, spiny dormouse, a Humpnose pit viper, palm civet cat as well as loads of frogs and a few lizards. We also set a camera trap but so far have not caught anything so we will try again soon and hopefully be more successful.  

  So far our time here has been great, all of the people who work here are a similar age to us and we have made some great friends in the short time we have spent in Agumbe. We will be back with another update soon but for now, take care!

bindiboo says:
Omg - the leeches, that's horrendous Ben!!! I could not cope at all! Having said that you sound like your having an amazing time and I miss u loads! I'm so so jealous. Your photos are amazing. Love you sis and miss u all the time xxxxx
Posted on: Jul 31, 2010
Wendyjsy says:
Sounds amazing - so jealous! Maybe not of the leeches though...! Good to hear nothing changes with Ben. Oh and a belated happy birthday Suzan x
Posted on: Jul 21, 2010
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We finally reached Agumbe after two days of travel passing through Mumbai and Bangalore.

We drove off the plains and into the green of the Western Ghats. Agumbe is said to be the wettest place in India and can have up to 4, 000 inches in a year and we are here in the monsoon! although its rained for most of the time we have been here it has actually been one of the driest monsoons of recent years and as we write this the sun is shining. Faciliites here are modest and the food plentifull and we are now usd to having curry for breakfast lucnch and tea.

The Agumbe rainforest station is located in an evergreen rainforest and evey where we look there is something moving from frogs to vine snakes, ginat squirrels to flying squirrels and from leeches to giant scorpions.

King cobra
We have been working every night since we got here on the amphibian project. We are working alongside a really good group of people and everynight we have either been walking waiste deep up monsoon streams or creeping round ponds recording data on the amphibians which call these places home. After this we pick off the leeches climb into our bunkbeds and sleep like logs

Already we have had some amazing wildlife encounters including one with a large King cobra near the base camp, a huge majestic snake and the reason why the rainforest research station in Agumbe was set up. There are simply snakes here everywhere and king cobras feed on snakes so naturally there are quite a few kings around. Sitting on the research station steps we have observed langur monkeys, malabar giant squirrels, parakeets and king fishers. The night time is deafening and chorus of more than 20 species of frog and ocassionaly we can here the squeel of a Loris, so far we have yet to spot these.

We are settlign down well with the pace of life here and our days are spent photographing frogs we have found, taking care of the tadpoles we are raising and planning the evenings field work and exploring as well as fighting of the damp and mould (just like our flat in jersey but twice as bad). Suzan has even handled a couple of snakes, go Suzan!

Will update soon, not sure when as with this much cloud and wet solar electricity is not the most reliable!

  

jay1967 says:
Curry, morning, noon, and night, sounds like heaven!!
Posted on: Jul 20, 2010
Wendyjsy says:
Hey guys! Thanks for the blog - just to let you know that we are reading it!! Great photos too - keep it coming...

xx
Posted on: Jul 09, 2010
J-Labs says:
Fab fab fab fab fab fab fab! :)
Posted on: Jul 09, 2010
Agumbe rainforest research station
Agumbe rainforest research station
Mating bi coloured frogs
Mating bi coloured frogs
King cobra
King cobra
Suzan holding a worm snake
Suzan holding a worm snake