Archive for the ‘night critters’ Category

Phanom Bencha is not all pretty butterflies, cute fluffy dogs and gorgeous waterfalls.  It has its own side of strange dark things to offer as well.  Like how can you explain the multiple hobbit holes that appear in the trees?  Does Bilbo Baggins live here?  Maybe this is the true village of the Hobbits?

hobbit hole

hobbit hole

And who uses this giant skip rope?  Is it the trolls that come out in the night?  Is that why nights in Phanom Bencha National Park is pitch darkness and does not have path lights around the bungalows?

giant jump rope

giant jump rope

Phanom Bencha is also home to a creature that has a nose as long as Pinocchio.  And almost as Pinocchio was made of wood, this creature looks as much part of the tree as tree bark.

Lantern Bug

Lantern Bug

The creature also stays perfectly still on the bark and does not immediately take to flight when a person walks closely by.  It is for these reasons that they are so hard to spot.

Lantern Bug

Lantern Bug

It may sound odd that the whole purpose of this entire trip was really to look for these little guys.  And exactly how little are they?  See the picture below:

lantern bug size

lantern bug is in the red circle…. can you see it???  Also, do you see the number on the tree?  Don’t be mislead.  There are lot of trees with similar numbers sprayed on them!

Since my darling had his heart set on these little creatures and he had specially set out on his birthday to look for them yet we didn’t see any on the first day, I ditched my butterfly eyes (which to be honest are not as good as they used to be in 2006) for my spot-the-bug-eyes (which are even worse than my butterfly eyes).  Surprisingly, I managed to find the first one above.   I ran down the path screaming like a mad woman with my pet stray hot on my heels, risking getting fined for “Make A Noise Loud Fine 500 Baht”.

Green Lantern Bug

Green Lantern Bug

After the first Lantern Bug which I found for my darling, it was as if a veil on his eyes were lifted and he started seeing Lantern Bugs on various other trees , including this green one right outside our bungalow.  In return, I seemed to have taken over the veil and was unable to find anymore lantern bugs for the rest of the trip.  Mysterious forces of the Phanom Bencha forest!

Colourful agamid

Colourful agamid

Perhaps I had angered the forest with my shrieking.  Or perhaps the forest was touched by his love for its much-overlooked denizens, for it kept serving him up birthday goodies after, including several colourful and beautiful agamids.

Agamid side view

Agamid side view

Different agamid

Different agamid

At Phanom Bencha Mountain Resort, it is worth walking around the grounds.  Unlike Phanom Bencha national park, there are many dark insidious creatures that lurk in the night.  Remember: the following are shot at the Mountain Resort.  There may be nightlife in the dark forests of the National Park.  But I really wouldn’t recommend going in to face a few boa constrictors and other large friendly animals in there with a party of two.  That would make a starter (me) and a main (darling) and no desert.  Not a complete meal. Tsk.

fierce looking spidey

fierce looking spidey

While I was sloshing around in my wet boots and dealing with weaver ants (I also call these curry pok ants because their nest looks like the Malay dough snack filled with hot curry sauce and chicken…which I love… but no these nests are filled with angry big red ants), my darling found spiders all over the place, continuing with his birthday streak leftover from Phanom Bencha National Park.Spidy A

Spidy A1Spidy B1I did however find butterflies of the night or moths, rather and in the stages before they can call themselves Queen of the Night:

large moth pupae

large moth pupa

large woolly cat

large woolly cat

While we were trying to get to sleep within the romantic mosquito net of the mountain resort, we were greeted with a very loud and animated “Hello!” from the bedroom ceiling.  I said immediately and excitedly “it’s a bird! It must be! Grab your camera!” but when we looked and looked, we didn’t find any birds.  Since I was used now to having insects fall into my ears suddenly in my sleep and gigantic cicadas imitating the frantic knock of a person in dire need of help by smacking their faces repeatedly on the porch lights on such trips, I promptly and immediately fell asleep without a second consideration of what was making that sound.

Gecko!

Gecko! – this is the smaller one

Apparently we were visited by two very colourful and large geckos during the night who kept up with their very clear animated “hellos” to which I had answered with deep satisfied snores from the bed while my darling paced and pranced back and forth across the room all night trying to photograph.

"HELLO!!!!"

“HELLO!!!!”

Although the sounds that they made were very loud, clear and distinct, they weren’t able to wake me.  At some point in the night though, I remember waking up briefly to see my darling running in and out of the room with his camera.  Although to be honest, I was so tired from swatting away weaver ants off me all night that I might not have much of a reaction even if I woke up to see an entire choir of multi-coloured geckos doing a chorus from Lionel Richie’s Hello.

Is it the flash?  The irises of the gecko's eyes have suddenly disappeared into tiny slits

Is it the flash? The irises of the gecko’s eyes have suddenly disappeared into tiny slits

This is the larger of the geckos.

This is the larger of the geckos.

But I really did wish I had woken up.  Check out the size of this friendly slithery fellow.  There was a smaller one as well.  According to the photographer who took these shots, these geckos are surprisingly shy for their size and unlike butterflies who are quite deaf, these are not.  If you make too much of a noise, too much movement or flash them too much, they’ll run off to the higher beams.  But if you leave them alone for a while, they’ll quickly forgive you and come back down.Gecko-3And that’s the last of the Phanom Bencha posts.  I would definitely recommend visiting both places to get your fill of both rare and common butterflies around Krabi and as well as to check out some very exotic snakes around these parts.

If you’ve also been to Phanom Bencha before, do share with us what your experience was like! 🙂