One of the exciting things to do at Mulu National Park is 'Night Safari
'. Walking now on the trails around the park is something you will do during your stay in Mulu, but walking those trails during Night time in pitch dark is an altogether different experience.
|Gunung Mulu National Park|
Before I start talking about the Night Safari, there are few things you should carry and also keep in mind before starting your journey:
1. Flashlight - Don't rely on your mobile phone flash light. In the pitch dark night, mobile flashlight don't even ignite the path ahead of you. Invest in good quality flashlight. It will not only benefit from walking around in the dark, but also for photography, this flashlight will bring good light in the picture.
2. Walking Shoes: Good walking shoes are must if you plan to visit Mulu. During your stay, you will end up walking now a lot and good, comfortable shoes will prevent you from having leg pain or show bite which is quite common.
3. Water Bottle: It is necessary that you keep yourself hydrated during any kind of adventure. Keep drinking sip of water every now and then to balance it out rather than drinking an entire bottle in one go.
4. Mosquitos Repellent: It is not necessary as not many people prefer this as it kills many insects in the jungle, but if you wear shorts then it is important. A better alternative to this will be wearing full pants during your walking trail in the forest.
5. Camera: How can you not think of taking this. Obviously, in dark it will be difficult to click the picture, but it you have invested in good flashlight, then taking pictures without camera flash will be easy.
Now, since we have everything needed for night safari, let's start exploring different species of insects and animals around the Mulu National Park.
|Ready for my Night Safari at Mulu National Park|
Our guide was really nice and he explained everything as we started walking. The Mulu National Park is quite big and each guide takes the trail which they like or feel has more chances of spotting. The guide started off with some safety measures and then we went on to our chosen trail which was Botanical Trail.
|On our way to Botanical Trail, Mulu National Park|
As we started our trail, there were two creatures filling the forest with their sound and those were Chikadas & Frogs
. The sound of frogs was something different that what I generally here in city life. Chikada was small insect who sounded loud, but when I saw them, it was really small creature.
|Chikada, small but loud|
Very common and seen many times in the city are cockroaches
, but here at Mulu, the size of a cockroach was 5 times that of normal one I see in the city.
|One of the biggest cockroaches I seen at Mulu National Park|
On the wood, apart from the cockroach, big Millipede and Centipede
were walking around which somehow we never noticed at day time.
|Millipede & Centipede|
The unique and not many times seen insect in Mulu National Park are a 'Stick Insect
'. It resembles a stick and very thin. On the tree, you will never be able to see them as they camouflage themselves with the branch of the tree.
|Another type of Stick Insect|
Another insect which does an amazing job in camouflaging is 'Leaf Insect
'. When we first spotted leaf insect, the guide pointed his red laser to show where is it but to a naked eye it looks like another leaf. After walking ahead, we found one on the road and guide picked it up to show us how the insect looks like and his detailed features.
|The insect is where the red mark is.. Completely camouflaged with leafs|
|Grasshopper (Bigger than the usual one we see)|
Even after seeing various species of insect, we craved for something big, something dangerous. God was in happy giving mood as when we wished for something dangerous, our path crossed with Mangrove Snake
. Yes.. This was a venomous snake. As our guide instructed, we stopped in our trail without moving, waited for snake to go ahead in the forest. Mangrove snake was quite hidden behind the tree and was difficult to get a picture even when he was quite close. We also couldn't put a lot of light on him, or rather any light on him as he might get hint of us and starts attacking. So another 5-10 minutes and the snake started moving ahead and our path was cleared for more exploration.
|Mangrove snake hidden inside the trees. |
It will be difficult to make out the snake unless you know how it looks, hence, below picture for reference.
Our trail was almost coming to an end, when we took a break for water. As we were relaxing, our guide spotted Tarantula (Spider) in the tree. I was really surprised at our guide's skill at spotting these creatures in pitch dark with only the help of one torch.
Another gem in the dark was a Scorpio
. It was indeed a magic trick. These Scorpios have dark black texture (Can't really call it skin as it is hard in nature). Their body somehow reacts to UV light and as he as explaining, he switched on his UV light and directed it towards the rock. Suddenly a huge creature in fluorescent Color came into light and we can clearly see the Scorpio which was hidden inside the rock. After carefully seeing the creature, we realised there were 3 of them, 1 in front and 2 in back.
|Scorpio inside the rock lit by UV lights|
This brings an end to the Night Safari in Mulu National Park. It was amazing experience walking in darkness and looking for the gems of nature. Some were ugly looking and some were merged with nature, whereas some were dangerous, hardly found anyone as beautiful. But for true nature and animal lover, there is beauty in most dangerous and ugly creature!