Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Dedicated exclusively to field herping.

Moderator: Scott Waters

User avatar
Jazz
Posts: 43
Joined: August 21st, 2014, 12:12 am

Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Jazz » November 6th, 2014, 6:00 pm

Myself and my partner Jannico recently did another trip with bali reptile rescue to Kalimantan, Borneo. We started in Banjarmasin and had around a week and a half in a remote section of jungle few westerners get to visit. We then had a few days looking for orangutans in central Borneo, which we found. We managed to tick off a fair few new species, even though it was dry season, and all up i was extremely happy with the trip.

Heres a few highlights

This was the first snake of the trip a boiga dendrophilla, these guys are always good for a laugh

Imagemangrove cat snake by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

This little bubby retic was about 4m up a tree right next to our camp, he gave jannico a little kiss

ImageReticulated python by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

Imagereticulated python in habitat by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

We found this gorgeous sumatran pit viper on one of our night walks, he had just had a massive feed

ImageSumatran pit viper by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

ImageSumatran pit viper by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

We didnt get to photograph as many frogs as i would have liked but this arboreal toad caught our eye

ImageBufo asper by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

These guys were also relatively common, and stunning!

Image_MG_2765 by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

No asia trip is complete without a prasina

Imageoriental whip snake by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

This Wallaces flying frog was definitely a high light for me!

ImageWallaces flying frog by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

Imagewallaces flying frog by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

We also found a couple of keel backs, much more colourful then their australian counterparts. This is a speckled bellied keelback

Imagespeckled bellied keelback by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

This little Grabowskys reed snake crossed the path in front of us, he was also surprisingly pretty and also gave jannico a little kiss

ImageGrabowsky's Reed Snake by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

It was around this time that a 3m bornean king crossed the path infront of me while i was by myself... Sadly it got away but luckily we found some more in bali!

The second viper of this trip was this little male bornean keeled viper

ImageBornean Keeled Viper by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

ImageBornean keeled pit viper by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

The translucent red of this cinnamon frog was extremely difficult to capture, i tried

Imagecinnamon frog by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

Down at our second base camp we found a few dragons. This is a male gonocephalus borneensis, they sleep on the end of the tree branches so are easy to find at night.

ImageMale gonocephalus borneensis by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

This is a green crested lizard

Imagegreen crested lizard by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

This was just next to our second base camp where we found this boiga. He was extremely uncooperative and we actually released him and he came swimming straight back...

Imagemangrove cat snake in habitat by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

After our week and a half in the jungle we set off back to Banjarmasin and into central borneo. On our first night we found this painted mock viper, unfortunately he was heavily in shed.

ImagePainted mock viper by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

Bronze backs were aplenty

Imagebronze back by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

as well as reptiles we also found, orangutans!

Imagebornean orangutan by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

While out on the klotok (boat) looking for orangutans we spotted 2 of these marquis dorias water snakes hooked on shallow lines. We cut the lines and managed to unhook them and safely release them.

ImageMarquis Doria Water Snake by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

After our 2 weeks in Borneo we headed back to bali for a king cobra trip.

This was a relocated king we got to play with at one of the BRR bases

Imageking cobra by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

After having a bit of fun with that guy we drove further west to find a truly wild one. We found this one within about half an hour, he was not happy to see us.

Imageking cobra by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

Imageking cobra by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

Imageking cobra by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

We went for a herp that night and found the cutest snake on earth, the keeled slug eater

Imagekeeled slug eater by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

and some white lipped island vipers

Imagewhite lipped island pitviper by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

also a boiga cynodon, stunning snakes

Imagedog toothed cat snake by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

Oh and i also got to meet this unusual rescue spitting cobra. Hes now been released

Imageunusual spitting cobra by jasmine_vink, on Flickr

After all of that were now back in Australia  But ill be headed back over to bali and Komodo in January! For anyone headed out that way i would highly recommend bali reptile rescue!

User avatar
klawnskale
Posts: 1211
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:09 pm

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by klawnskale » November 6th, 2014, 6:41 pm

Beautiful photos of some wonderful animals! I don't think I would have petted a king cobra; regardless on how habituated it maybe to humans. Just wouldn't trust the buggers; for snakes I think they are quite smart.

User avatar
Martti Niskanen
Posts: 363
Joined: June 11th, 2010, 10:19 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Martti Niskanen » November 6th, 2014, 7:43 pm

Great finds, the Wallace's and the sumatranus.

User avatar
Jazz
Posts: 43
Joined: August 21st, 2014, 12:12 am

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Jazz » November 6th, 2014, 8:36 pm

Haha klawnskale this guy was hardly habituated! Still very wild.

Kings are very smart but that makes them easier to handle at the same time. It seems like cobras (even though they arent true cobras) are easily distracted and will focus on one thing, which in this photo is my shoe :)

The wallaces and sumatran viper were 2 of my favourite finds as well!

User avatar
Kelly Mc
Posts: 4327
Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Kelly Mc » November 6th, 2014, 10:23 pm

Beautiful photography of incredible animals.

Your relaxation, class and savvy with the King was refreshing and authentic.

User avatar
JAMAUGHN
Posts: 1131
Joined: May 14th, 2011, 11:16 pm
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Contact:

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by JAMAUGHN » November 6th, 2014, 10:32 pm

I agree with all that's been said so far, and will only add...that must have been some shoe!

JimM

User avatar
klawnskale
Posts: 1211
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:09 pm

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by klawnskale » November 7th, 2014, 11:58 am

Ah to be young again and not fully aware of one's mortality…age creeps up.

User avatar
Kelly Mc
Posts: 4327
Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Kelly Mc » November 7th, 2014, 12:30 pm

If contact is to be made, it is still better it like this, which does actually have value as illustration of a behavior, then the grotesque throat clutching showboating I have seen presented.

It is so nice also, to note how unscathed physically the other King was in this crossing of paths.

You rock Jazz

yuesam
Posts: 19
Joined: October 13th, 2014, 10:13 am

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by yuesam » November 7th, 2014, 12:54 pm

Whoa awesome post! I'm kinda jealous how you managed to find all the snakes that I've been dying to find in Borneo, but haven't yet. It's cute how that king can be pet like a cat!

User avatar
klawnskale
Posts: 1211
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:09 pm

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by klawnskale » November 7th, 2014, 12:56 pm

How about 0% unnecessary contact? I don't need to hold or touch a wild animal in order to fully appreciate it. If you are researching the animal and need to hold it for the gathering of morphometrics or processing, well then you take the precautionary measures that ensures the safety of the venomous specimen and yourself. I try to steer clear of gratuitous activities just for the thrills. But that is me. I don't 'mess' with venomous and never try to second guess what an animal maybe thinking.

User avatar
Kelly Mc
Posts: 4327
Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Kelly Mc » November 7th, 2014, 1:20 pm

I understand what you are saying, and I knew,someone was going to say it, yet so many others have made a point of "conquest" in crude and harmful ways and they're treated like The Prince of The Town. No comment is made other than Awesome Mate.

Not only could their behavior be considered abusive to wildlife none had the quietly huge balls I see here.

User avatar
Jeroen Speybroeck
Posts: 825
Joined: June 29th, 2011, 12:56 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » November 7th, 2014, 2:11 pm

Nice snakes!

User avatar
Kelly Mc
Posts: 4327
Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Kelly Mc » November 7th, 2014, 8:24 pm

And Dont forget the Flying Frog!!!

Fantastic!

User avatar
Jazz
Posts: 43
Joined: August 21st, 2014, 12:12 am

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Jazz » November 7th, 2014, 8:38 pm

Unfortunately the majority of king cobras found with bali reptile rescue have to be relocated as they are on someones land and the locals are terrified and will kill them without hesitation. When i went in December we had to relocated 2 females and their nests as they were going to kill the queens and burn the nests if we did not intervene.

The king we played with at base had the issue of having an amazing homing response and had been relocated 3 times, always showing back up in the same yard. They said the next time it showed up it would be dead, so they were just trying to figure out what to do with it...

I fully understand the risks associated with handling venomous snakes and i would much rather interact with wild kings then one that lives in a little box in someones house :) Eddie, who is standing next to me in this photo, could be said to be one of the most experienced king cobra handlers in the world, i was under very good advisement!

Thank you everyone for the lovely comments as well! I literally squealed when we found that flying frog, i have a massive soft spot for frogs :)

User avatar
Antonsrkn
Posts: 971
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 1:38 pm
Contact:

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Antonsrkn » November 7th, 2014, 9:01 pm

i have a massive soft spot for frogs :)
As should everyone! Frogs are every bit as cool as snakes!

Amazing post, I had seen alot of it on flickr but it was awesome seeing a compilation of it here. You had quite the trip and i'm very envious of some of your finds. You found species that I haven't seen after a cumulative total of about 7 months of working in the jungle there! Really great work.

Just out of curiosity how high up was the sumatran viper off the ground when you spotted it? That's one of the species I was always on the look out for but which evaded me in the end.

User avatar
Jazz
Posts: 43
Joined: August 21st, 2014, 12:12 am

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Jazz » November 7th, 2014, 9:09 pm

Especially when they fly!

Yeah ive been enviously stalking your photos on flickr as well, im so excited to see your photos when you go to ecuador. Thats the next trip im planning as well, although im not as lucky to go for 6 months....

Oh really? Which species were they? I saw you got a dragon snake, thats seriously amazing!

Sumatran viper was at about head height :)

User avatar
Antonsrkn
Posts: 971
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 1:38 pm
Contact:

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Antonsrkn » November 7th, 2014, 9:27 pm

I never saw a Sumatran pitviper, a painted mock viper, the marquis dorias watersnake, or a retic! I was seriously bummed about the retic, before going to Borneo for the first time I thought finding one would be a breeze, afterall how could I miss a ginormous snake like that hanging about? Turns out they're not so easy to find. Oh well gives some clear goals for when I eventually make it back there. Yeah, the dragonsnake was easily the serpent highlight for me this year!

Yeah i'm really stoked for Ecuador, I have to make up for my last trip there which lasted about a month and I missed out on snakes entirely cause I was working high up in the mountains where the herps were few and far inbetween. I'll be much lower this time, so I think I'll be able to wrangle up some cool stuff.

User avatar
Jazz
Posts: 43
Joined: August 21st, 2014, 12:12 am

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Jazz » November 7th, 2014, 10:10 pm

Which part of Borneo were you in? Malaysian side?

Ive been very lucky with retics! I found one on my first night herping in bali in December as well which was over 2m. The one we found recently would have only been a yearling if that, he was so cute! They seem to pop up quite a lot for rescues but are hard to find if your actually looking for them :/
The marquis dorias water snakes kind of found us! I was really happy we could unhook them and release them :)

That would be the highlight of my whole herping career! Have you found any Chrysopelea?

Yeah thats how long we want to go for but we want to do a week in the Galapagos as well. Do you work over there?

dendrelaphis
Posts: 167
Joined: February 28th, 2014, 12:10 am

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by dendrelaphis » November 8th, 2014, 3:00 am

Amazing finds, I really should return to Borneo as soon as possible, thanks for showing those wonderful pictures

User avatar
Antonsrkn
Posts: 971
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 1:38 pm
Contact:

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Antonsrkn » November 8th, 2014, 7:47 am

I spent all my time in Borneo in the Malaysian side specifically Sabah, I was there assisting with some fieldwork so the vast majority of my time was spent between our two field sites. One of which is a pretty well known area, Danum Valley. Really good wildlife there, but I wish I had gotten a chance to explore more of Borneo.

Chrysopelea have eluded me as well, they were sighted by others a few times at Danum with one even making its way onto the dining hall veranda, but whenever they were seen I always seemed to be somewhere else. Another reason to return! Wow, a retic in your first night and a 2m one at that, I would be beyond giddy with excitement! The little guys certainly a stunner too, I'm always in awe of the beautiful pattern retics have.

The Galapagos would be amazing! I'm really hoping to make it over there as well if I'm able but I don't know if my budget will allow it as its quite expensive. I am definitely planning on spending atleast a week at Yasuni National Park at the end of my time in Ecuador. Yeah, I will be working there, when I was briefly there last time I was attached to a project dealing with Condors and a bit of camera trapping Andean Spectacled Bears in the North of Ecuador, sadly there wasn't enough time off for me to really see any other parts of the country. This time around I'll be in the South of Ecuador working on a completely different project investigating endangered & endemic parrots.

User avatar
klawnskale
Posts: 1211
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:09 pm

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by klawnskale » November 8th, 2014, 8:04 am

[quote="Jazz"]Unfortunately the majority of king cobras found with bali reptile rescue have to be relocated as they are on someones land and the locals are terrified and will kill them without hesitation. When i went in December we had to relocated 2 females and their nests as they were going to kill the queens and burn the nests if we did not intervene.

The king we played with at base had the issue of having an amazing homing response and had been relocated 3 times, always showing back up in the same yard. They said the next time it showed up it would be dead, so they were just trying to figure out what to do with it...

These issues are not just unique to king cobras. Most snake species have a strong sense of territoriality and homing instincts. In the Southwestern United States we deal with the same rescue situations with rattlesnakes showing up in people's backyards. Unfortunately, in the case of rattlers you cannot translocate them very far. They generally won't survive if this is done. I would imagine the same holds true with the king cobras. From a documentary I watched which featured Matt Goode's research on king cobra telemetry, I recall that the males wander a lot further than the females (who tend to stay near their origin of birth). These same traits are true with rattlesnakes. The king cobra you rescued I fear may not get the message. So far as he is concerned that area he was repeatedly removed from is his territory.

Y.Morgan
Posts: 131
Joined: January 28th, 2011, 10:51 pm
Location: SW New Mexico

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Y.Morgan » November 8th, 2014, 8:25 am

Killer herps...I'm so envious! With the king cobra and retic, you got 2 of the top 5 from my bucket list on one trip....plus vipers, a flying frog, and orangutans. Just amazing! Oh, and I admire your deft deflection of hecklers....thought for a minute there that this was going to be another awesome post side-tracked by philosophy instead of field herping. :beer:

Please consider doing a 2nd post from this trip...your "reject" photos will be cooler than anything most of us have done recently.

User avatar
klawnskale
Posts: 1211
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:09 pm

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by klawnskale » November 8th, 2014, 12:51 pm

Oh, and I admire your deft deflection of hecklers….

I guess you don't know the definition of "heckler". A heckler utilizes sarcasm, disparaging comments, and nasty subversive retorts (like name calling and foul language) to undermine the speech deliverance or credibility of a performer, politician, or anyone else speaking to an audience. None of that was deployed here: just sincere comments of concern.

User avatar
Kelly Mc
Posts: 4327
Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Kelly Mc » November 8th, 2014, 2:37 pm

Yes, and I am weary of multifaceted commentary being lumped into a box labled "philosophy" .

Are we that one dimensional in managing contexts?

Superficially for example it may have looked like Klawnskale and I were in disagreement, or debating but we weren't really. I don't even touch my captives without purpose, except for my Tegu, who is a pet .

But I did find it personally refreshing to see such calm non hyperbole regarding King Cobras that Jazz showed. Especially when interfaced with so many examples of less admirable behavior.

User avatar
Jazz
Posts: 43
Joined: August 21st, 2014, 12:12 am

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Jazz » November 8th, 2014, 4:00 pm

@antonsrkn
Yeah i had a friend who was in Danum Valley and said it was amazing! We were very lucky/unlucky in the fact that the place we were in was nearly pristine, which made the herping and trekking a lot harder.

Ah damn, theyre another species very high up on my wishlist! Haha i was stoked but at the time i didnt realise they were hard to find... Always need a reason to go back ;)

Yeah it is not a cheap place to visit, but i figure if your so close to it you have to do it. Just to get return flights to ecuador is going to cost us over $3500 so we want to go all out. That sounds really amazing! Is that a volunteer position?

@Y.Morgan

What are the other 3 on your list? Haha i might just do a second post! This definitely has all of my favourite photos in it though :)

@klawnskale, Kelly mc

I really dont mind a bit of healthy debate on posts, as long as everyone remains respectful of course.

Yes im sure that is how he feels, like hes being repetitively being removed from his territory. But what can you do? I think moving him further away to a completely different area will at least give him a chance at survival, rather then him just being sentenced to death.

I think with smaller vens it wouldnt be as bad if they came back, as the person would probably never see it again. A king cobra on the other hand is pretty hard to miss...

Y.Morgan
Posts: 131
Joined: January 28th, 2011, 10:51 pm
Location: SW New Mexico

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Y.Morgan » November 9th, 2014, 10:12 am

Jazz wrote:Haha i might just do a second post!
Yeah, like maybe some shots of the same critters in situ. I'd love to see how cryptic some of those snakes must have been when you first spotted them. And how about some shots of Jannico bleeding? :lol:
Jazz wrote:What are the other 3 on your list?
Gaboon, bushmaster, and taipan....with bush vipers, salvator water monitors, and black-headed pythons nudging in. Finding 2 of the top 5 on one trip - with the retic being found in camp, no less! - is just sick! Nice job!

User avatar
Jazz
Posts: 43
Joined: August 21st, 2014, 12:12 am

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Jazz » November 9th, 2014, 4:36 pm

Haha the critters in situ would just be them high tailing it out of there, with the exception of the vipers.

We saw water monitors but didnt manage to catch any unfortunately, in the cities they can be very tame though. The only bhp i found the car in front of us hit and we unfortunately had to finish the job :( Im going back up there in January though so hopefully i find a healthy one!

Gaboons and tais are high on my list as well. The problem isnt finding tais though, its catching them...

Heres a nice one of Jannicos leg after getting smashed by a retic. He wasnt the only one to get bitten though, about half an hour earlier i got bitten by a nice little croc, no photos though unfortunately.

Image

User avatar
Antonsrkn
Posts: 971
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 1:38 pm
Contact:

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Antonsrkn » November 9th, 2014, 6:55 pm

Jazz wrote:@antonsrkn
Yeah i had a friend who was in Danum Valley and said it was amazing! We were very lucky/unlucky in the fact that the place we were in was nearly pristine, which made the herping and trekking a lot harder.

Ah damn, theyre another species very high up on my wishlist! Haha i was stoked but at the time i didnt realise they were hard to find... Always need a reason to go back ;)

Yeah it is not a cheap place to visit, but i figure if your so close to it you have to do it. Just to get return flights to ecuador is going to cost us over $3500 so we want to go all out. That sounds really amazing! Is that a volunteer position?
Yeah I love Danum and its surroundings, I've worked/visited more than a few different jungles now and the one at Danum is easily one of the best for seeing wildlife! It has good herp diversity but they're tricky to find there at times, where it really shines is the mammals and birds.

Whoa, $3500 is a lot, at that point I agree that going all out is your best bet, and you won't regret going to the galapagos...its gonna be epic. Yeah, this position in Ecuador is pretty much volunteer; my flights, food, accommodation and other costs get covered but I don't get paid. What can i say, I'm not gonna get rich doing this but that's fine by me.

Thats a brutal looking bite!

User avatar
Jazz
Posts: 43
Joined: August 21st, 2014, 12:12 am

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Jazz » November 9th, 2014, 8:12 pm

Yeah we saw a few colourful parrots sleeping at night and a few squirrel like mammals but all up we didn't see many! I would love to see a slow loris or civet cat in the wild, that's a bit of a dream. I had the opportunity to interact with a loris that was in the process of being rehabilitated but it's definitely not the same.

Haha yeah it's not an easy trek from Australia! I think it's nearly a 2 day journey... Galapogas is somewhere I've always wanted to visit, I think it should be for any animal lover.

That's a really good deal! Who is that with? I would love to do volunteer work over there but I'm just very wary. I like bali reptile rescue because they're a personable grass roots organisation and you can see where every dollar goes.

User avatar
Antonsrkn
Posts: 971
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 1:38 pm
Contact:

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Antonsrkn » November 9th, 2014, 11:41 pm

Slow lorises and civets are actually both really do-able, I'd recommend doing night drives through good habitat for both of them. Civets were the most common animals on the road after nightfall, specifically the malay civet but many of the other species would make appearances as well. I believe I saw 8 species during my time in Borneo this year, the only one i'm missing is the Hose's Civet. Slow lorises on the other hand you won't see just driving, you need a spotlight and need to be looking up in the trees (duh!), but they're not so uncommon and because their eyeshine is so strong there's no way to miss em! I saw slow lorises and many of the civets while I was hiking around but for someone with more limited time spotlighting is definitely the way to go. I don't think either of those will present much of a challenge next time you're in Borneo!

Yeah, there's no doubt that Galapagos is an important stop on the wildlife watching pilgrimage that every wildlife lover wants to take. I'd do it for sure if I could but I spent alot of my spare money on visiting some other famous islands that I have also wanted to visit since I was a small child, Komodo and Rinca!

I think a good deal of caution is healthy when dealing with 'volunteering' for various organizations, I have come across a few here and there that I feel aren't completely ethical or straightforward when it comes to their dealing with volunteers. Me, I'll be working on a PhD study out there which is sponsored by some university in Germany, Freiburg I think. So I was hired on as a field assistant/technician to help out. I was doing the same thing in Borneo and all my other field gigs as well. Sometimes there's pay, more often than not there isn't but I generally try to find projects where my costs or atleast some of them are covered. It all works out well, I get to work on cool projects while simultaneously traveling to cool places and getting valuable work/research experience.

I was in Bali 2 weeks ago, I'm really wishing I had checked bali reptile rescue out, but its too late now. It will have to wait until next time, but I definitely will when I get the chance.

User avatar
Jazz
Posts: 43
Joined: August 21st, 2014, 12:12 am

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Jazz » November 10th, 2014, 4:27 am

Im so keen for danum valley! That sounds very promising :) We eye shined every night but the most we saw was a giant boar...

Oh can you please tell me about your experience with komodo/rinca? Did you get to herp at night? Im going in January and im just organising my trip now.

Is it relatively easy to find positions where the expenses are covered? I do have an ecology degree and quite a bit of field work under my belt, but no where near as much as some. Whats your background? Sounds like your really living the life :)

Did you find much while you were there? Theyre are definitely worth checking out, they really do the best that they can in a very difficult situation.

User avatar
Antonsrkn
Posts: 971
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 1:38 pm
Contact:

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Antonsrkn » November 10th, 2014, 3:49 pm

Yeah I don't think you'd regret a visit to Danum. If you go, let me know and I can give you some tips that may be useful.

I have mixed opinions about Komodo and Rinca, visitors to the islands have to be accompanied by a ranger during their treks. Sometimes the ranger was good... other times not so much, one of the rangers we had accompany us seemed to constantly be in a hurry, we were photographing dragons at one point and had been at it for no more than 5 minutes when the ranger announced ok lets go. If this was cause the dragons were stressed I would have understood but the dragons honestly were paying us no mind, so we told the ranger we weren't quite ready but he still wouldn't wait much longer, as it turned out he wanted to get back and sit around and chat with his buddies... Other rangers we had were much better, but I still would have preferred to be left to my own devices. On both islands we were given a choice of treks, even the longest is quite short, no more than 2 hours and while I did have time to poke around a bit here and there it wasn't nearly enough and I didn't find anything in the way of snakes. I was told that there was nowhere to stay on the actual islands but I'm pretty sure this info is wrong, I think it might be possible to arrange a stay within the national park, but this proved more difficult than anticipated and we were pressed for time so we did what most tourists do and take a boat trip where we slept on the boat. One of my greatest regrets is I never got to herp the park at night visiting it this way. But having voiced all my complaints I still have to say it was EPIC! Seeing the Komodo dragons was nothing short of incredible and is an experience that will stay with me forever! We saw plenty of dragons and other wildlife, visiting the park is pretty affordable from Labuanbajo. I visited Rinca three times and Komodo twice, I remember paying as little as $27 usd for a day trip to Rinca, although that doesn't include the guide fee and a couple other hidden fees, its well worth it. Additionally, I don't know if you scuba dive but if you do then the diving at Komodo is some of the best in the world too! The currents are pretty intense so its not for beginners but it actually makes it extra fun I thought. Plenty of Sharks, Mantas, Sea turtles, and though i missed out on it.. sea snakes. My friend saw them on a dive I didn't go on; i'd be alot sadder about it if I hadn't seen a bunch a few months prior in the Philippines but I was still bummed I missed it. All in all I loved my trip but I should have planned it out better, I'm not much of a planner really, I just kind of showed up with no idea of how things function out there.

No, its not so easy finding positions with expenses covered but they do come along once in a while, and then when they do there's generally alot of competition for them. I have applied to positions where I have thought it was a sure-bet as the job seemed tailor made for me and gotten turned down, i'd say the most important thing is persistence. I have a degree in conservation biology and a minor in biology (with a focus on the molecular, micro stuff). I have gotten a fair amount of field work experience on a variety of projects in Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Malaysia so I think my resume is starting to get competitive. If you have a degree in ecology and some fieldwork experience it sounds like you might have some luck finding some positions, its worth applying to ones that interest you. I usually just frequent the same job boards everyone else does, you may already know some or all of them but i'll shoot you a PM later with a list of the ones I usually look at to find these sort of things. Yeah, its been really nice doing all this fieldwork, I get to travel for cheap, sometimes free, sometimes paid and spend my time in amazing places.

I didn't do much herping in Bali at all, I wasn't there for very long but when I was I went down to Nusa Lembognan off the southeast coast and did some scuba diving, I was hoping to see a Mola Mola there and I did! It was incredible but sadly didn't leave much time for herping.

User avatar
Jazz
Posts: 43
Joined: August 21st, 2014, 12:12 am

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Jazz » November 10th, 2014, 7:34 pm

Yeah for sure, that would be awesome! We probably wont be able to get back there for a couple of years though...

Were trying to organise our trip through the park rangers so we can sleep on the island and hopefully go out at night. Luckily one of my indonesian friends had some contacts for rangers on the island, its proving to be a little difficult though.
I have heard people having the same experience as you though, i think a lot of the rangers are actually young unpaid interns so that could account for it in some way.
Were hoping to get out snorkeling at least! Not sure if well be able to manage a dive if we organise it through the parks. Do you know if theres boats that do dives off the islands? Or is it only if you book a cruise?
Haha im a massive planner, i usually leave a bit of 'free time' but i try and organise as much as i can.
Have you put your komodo photos up?

Yeah i didnt think they would be! I think ill definitely have to do a few ill have to pay for first, competing with people like you wont be easy :P
Sounds like youve really managed to get around. How long have you been doing this kind of work for? If you could PM me that list that would be great!

Ah im so jealous. Ive been diving at lembongan 3 times now and havent seen one... Theyre number one on my diving wish list. Did you get any photos?

User avatar
Hans Breuer (twoton)
Posts: 3203
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Contact:

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » November 10th, 2014, 11:14 pm

Very nice. Where exactly in Kalimantan were you? (klotoks and orang-utans...were you in Tanjung Puting?)

While the environment in Kalimantan (the Indonesian part of and the Indonesian word for the entire island of Borneo) is being raped at an even worse rate than on the Malaysian side of the border, it never fails to amaze how much truly wild areas there still seem to be. A king within half an hour? Wow.

By the way, you'll love Danum. Spend as much time there as you can afford.....

User avatar
Kelly Mc
Posts: 4327
Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Kelly Mc » November 11th, 2014, 1:16 am

Jazz,

A friend asked me if I was being sarcastic about what I said about you and the King.

It disturbed me to think of being misunderstood. I wouldnt be sarcastic about kindness, or awe.

I dont care if it is politically incorrect, either.

I think it is lovely that you touched him.


Kelly

User avatar
Jazz
Posts: 43
Joined: August 21st, 2014, 12:12 am

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Jazz » November 11th, 2014, 2:16 am

Hans Breuer (twoton) wrote:Very nice. Where exactly in Kalimantan were you? (klotoks and orang-utans...were you in Tanjung Puting?)

While the environment in Kalimantan (the Indonesian part of and the Indonesian word for the entire island of Borneo) is being raped at an even worse rate than on the Malaysian side of the border, it never fails to amaze how much truly wild areas there still seem to be. A king within half an hour? Wow.

By the way, you'll love Danum. Spend as much time there as you can afford.....
We were near Banjarmasin, so very southern Kalimantan. Originally we were going to go to Tanjung Puting but we ended up going into central borneo to see orangutans instead :)

We only found one king in borneo (that i couldnt catch alone) in the 2 weeks we were there but found the one i photographed in bali within half an hour.

The indonesian side is being completely destroyed, but you can still find a few untouched pockets. For now...

Thats what i keep hearing!
Kelly Mc wrote:Jazz,

A friend asked me if I was being sarcastic about what I said about you and the King.

It disturbed me to think of being misunderstood. I wouldnt be sarcastic about kindness, or awe.

I dont care if it is politically incorrect, either.

I think it is lovely that you touched him.


Kelly
Its ok, i didnt take your comment as sarcasm :)

User avatar
Nick Evans
Posts: 71
Joined: February 6th, 2014, 9:21 am

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Nick Evans » November 11th, 2014, 3:25 am

Fantastic photos! Really nice. Not quite as nice as your finds though ;) :thumb: Some very beautiful animals you saw there!

User avatar
Nick Evans
Posts: 71
Joined: February 6th, 2014, 9:21 am

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Nick Evans » November 11th, 2014, 3:28 am

By the way, the flying frog is incredible! I've never read or heard about it before, very interesting.
Thanks for a great post!

User avatar
Antonsrkn
Posts: 971
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 1:38 pm
Contact:

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Antonsrkn » November 11th, 2014, 8:24 am

Yep, just let me know, the tips I have are nothing earth shattering but may save you some money, give you a few specific spots to check out, etc...

Ahh, good luck organizing everything! Sounds like you're doing it the right way, if you're able to stay within the park that'd be incredible. I'd be very jealous! You should be able to go diving no problem, I doubt you can go from the islands within the park (Komodo or Rinca) but you'll almost certainly have to go through Labuan Bajo to get there. There's plenty of dive operators there, you'll have your pick of who you want to go with. I did a few dives for fairly cheap with one dive operator and I had a good experience with them but based on stories I have heard and their trip adviser reviews I can't recommend them in good conscious, had I bothered to read the reviews on trip adviser or do any other research I probably would have opted to go with someone else. But yeah you definitely don't need to go on any cruises, you can sign up for a single day of diving no problem. I haven't put my Komodo photos up yet, hopefully sometime soonish though!

I haven't been doing this too long, I started maybe 3 years ago when I was in uni and for the past couple of years I have had to work around my school schedule or take time off school in order to get work experience. I finished up with my degree not too long ago and its excellent cause I no longer have to worry about getting back at a certain time or anything else, definitely makes finding opportunities alot easier.

Unfortunately no photos of the mola mola :( I don't have a decent underwater camera, just a little olympus tg2 that I dont really bring on dives it can only go down to 15 m and the mola was all the way at 32m! I would have loved getting photos, it was just hovering there (about the size of a smartcar) getting picked clean by banner fish.

Zimmerman
Posts: 26
Joined: February 9th, 2014, 5:53 am
Location: Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Zimmerman » November 11th, 2014, 1:24 pm

Wow awesome trip! I love the Sumatran Pit Viper! :D
Great photography :) What flash setup did you use? :)

The Wallace’s Flying Frog was also one of my favorite frogs that I saw on Borneo. :) Did you handle the frog? I also experienced that the frog changed color from very bright green to dark green. Probably stress, like European Tree Frogs do.

User avatar
Jazz
Posts: 43
Joined: August 21st, 2014, 12:12 am

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Jazz » November 11th, 2014, 9:52 pm

Thanks Nick! I dont think frogs are really the first thing people think of when it comes to sea herping unfortunately!

@Anton - Yeah hopefully it all goes to plan, seems like it is at this stage. If i found a blue insualris i would probably cry from happiness... They also have timor pythons and a couple of endemic frogs i would love to photograph.
Ah ok, that may be a little annoying, but i doubt i would need 3 full days on the island. A few dives to break it up would be good :) What did you manage to see when you were there?
I look forward to seeing them!

Yeah i know how you feel! I just finished my bachelors as well but still tossing up whether to do honours. At the moment it looks like id rather spend a couple of months in Ecuador :P Me and my partner both have a pretty large captive collection as well though, so that can make longer trips a little harder.

That sounds amazing! I am seriously jealous :( They found one the day before we came... I just bought a shitty second hand digital camera and underwater housing off gumtree that cost like $70 and i can go down to 35m with it. Its not great but i can get half decent photos with it!

Thanks for the PM as well :)
Zimmerman wrote:Wow awesome trip! I love the Sumatran Pit Viper! :D
Great photography :) What flash setup did you use? :)

The Wallace’s Flying Frog was also one of my favorite frogs that I saw on Borneo. :) Did you handle the frog? I also experienced that the frog changed color from very bright green to dark green. Probably stress, like European Tree Frogs do.
We have a tri flash set up but we managed to rip the diffusers off on the first day :( So its pretty harsh light the whole way through the trip...

yeah he was about 5m up a tree so werent able to take insitu photos unfortunately!

Y.Morgan
Posts: 131
Joined: January 28th, 2011, 10:51 pm
Location: SW New Mexico

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Y.Morgan » November 12th, 2014, 5:33 pm

That was a nasty little retic bite, eh? I love it! :thumb: Thanks for taking the time to post it!
York

User avatar
Antonsrkn
Posts: 971
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 1:38 pm
Contact:

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Antonsrkn » November 12th, 2014, 8:15 pm

Haha crying from happiness is perfectly acceptable if you find a blue insularis, those snakes are drop dead gorgeous! I know about one of the endemic frog species on Komodo, from my understanding its found a bit higher up in elevation where it gets wetter. We tried to take the trek to that area but the ranger told us it was too late for that (we were there at around 8:15 am), maybe it was actually too late, or maybe he just didn't want to do it either way I never made it to the right habitat to find the frog.

There was alot to see while diving, i'm really bad with marine life IDs but the stuff I do know was we saw a ton of white tip reef sharks, a bamboo shark, a few mantas, a devil ray, a few green sea turtles, and although I didn't see it some others on the same dive saw a grey reef shark apparently. A mola mola was sighted the day before but thats really uncommon there, I remember seeing schools of large fish but have no idea what they were then of course there was all the smaller stuff; a few different species of nudibranchs, mantis shrimp, tons of smaller fish that I couldn't even begin to name.

Yeah I'm looking to start my Masters degree sometime in 2015 as long as I find a good project, but for now I'm traveling about getting experience, formulating some ideas, and having a good time. In other words I can't complain, life is pretty good! :D

Nice, there have been so many times that I have seen something underwater and was thinking how much I'd love to get some photos of it, even if its not a state of the art rig its good to have something down there! Underwater photography is something I really really want to get into, unfortunately like most worthwhile hobbies it isn't cheap so I think it will have to wait sometime.

User avatar
krisbell
Posts: 220
Joined: September 12th, 2010, 1:20 pm
Location: Jersey, UK
Contact:

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by krisbell » November 13th, 2014, 1:25 am

Cracking post - love the wide angle pics, the wallace's and the Sumatran viper. Excuse the question and I am more than happy to be told I'm wrong as I am pretty hopeless with Asian herps but your painted mock viper looks weird and more like a drab bronzeback?

User avatar
Jazz
Posts: 43
Joined: August 21st, 2014, 12:12 am

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Jazz » November 13th, 2014, 4:42 pm

They are! That is number one on my wish list for this trip. One of the park rangers I've been talking to recently found one in his room.
Yeah were hoping to be able to get up there but there's no guarantee. If we find any endemic herps well be pretty stoked :)
815 doesn't sound too late, I'm thinking it was the latter...

I would be happy with any sharks! I've seen hardly any while diving and my partner hasn't seen any. Were hoping to head back over to lembongan to see the mantas again, did you get out to manta point when you were there? I love nudis as well!

Haha yes it sounds like it's going pretty well! I think you have a lot more leeway in your masters compared to honours. I'm thinking of skipping it in favour of some field work instead. Do you have any idea of what you want to do?

I would love to get a macro underwater set up. But as you said, it's ridiculously expensive. There is a new company that does rubber underwater housing for around $500 with a port for an external flash. You can take it past 30m as well, I'll see if I can find the link.
Y.Morgan wrote:That was a nasty little retic bite, eh? I love it! :thumb: Thanks for taking the time to post it!
York
Haha yes my partner manages to get bitten by most things :P
krisbell wrote:Cracking post - love the wide angle pics, the wallace's and the Sumatran viper. Excuse the question and I am more than happy to be told I'm wrong as I am pretty hopeless with Asian herps but your painted mock viper looks weird and more like a drab bronzeback?
Have you been herping in Asia before? Bronze backs have a completely different head shape and pattern. This mock viper was a bit on the thin side and as I said, he was heavily in shed which you can attribute to the drabness.

User avatar
Antonsrkn
Posts: 971
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 1:38 pm
Contact:

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Antonsrkn » November 13th, 2014, 11:32 pm

Awesome, if they're turning up in peoples houses I think there must be a pretty good chance of finding them when you actually go looking! Well I guarantee you'll find atleast one endemic herp, the dragon! They're impossible to miss! Another nice thing about being there for a few days is just more time with the dragons, I would have loved to just observe them for hours, unfortunately that wasn't possible during my visit. From a photography standpoint it will also be nice to be there in the early morning or afternoon, at the time that most visitors arrive the light is already super harsh and can make photography a bit tricky.

I have been a bit spoiled with sharks, I haven't been diving that long but I have already seen a fair amount. I really can't get enough of them! No, i didn't get a chance to make it out to manta point, we were going to go on my 2nd day but at the last minute there was a change of plan for some reason I can't quite remember. I think we opted to try to find more mola mola (no luck with those on the 2nd day) I had been hoping to see the mantas again but I had seen them just a few days before in Komodo so i wasn't overly heartbroken about it.

I have alot of ideas of what I want to do, probably too many, I'm really interested in tropical ecology in general and then obviously herpetology. I have been reaching out to several profs/labs who do fascinating work with stuff like biodiversity, phylogenetics, evolution, diversification, conservation just to name a few topics! I would be thrilled if any of them took me on, of course I'm hoping for something with lots of field work too.

A underwater housing for only $500 sounds great, I'm definitely intrigued so yeah if you find the link I'd love to see it!

User avatar
krisbell
Posts: 220
Joined: September 12th, 2010, 1:20 pm
Location: Jersey, UK
Contact:

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by krisbell » November 13th, 2014, 11:59 pm

Jazz wrote: Have you been herping in Asia before? Bronze backs have a completely different head shape and pattern. This mock viper was a bit on the thin side and as I said, he was heavily in shed which you can attribute to the drabness.
OK I see it now - I think I was comparing it to P.pulverulentus which I am familiar with but P.pictus is quite different looking :oops:

User avatar
Jazz
Posts: 43
Joined: August 21st, 2014, 12:12 am

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Jazz » November 14th, 2014, 1:06 am

I had a friend who went recently and found one. Unfortunately it was too far up a tree to get it down and photograph though :( Were hoping its a good sign!
Haha yeah except the dragons :P Thats very true, i hadnt really thought about that. We were just hoping to find a few lounging around in the shade. Hopefully they will be a bit more active then as they warm up as well, they seem to sleep throughout most of the day.

Sharks and a mola mola! I still dont think you understand how jealous i am of that! The weather can be a bit tricky there so that may have been why? We were there for a week the most recent time and couldnt go either. Did the mantas let you get relatively close in Komodo?

Well if you need anyone to help out with field work for it you know where to find me ;) Anything tropical herp related would be very interesting!

heres the link, i was wrong though. Its 33ft not m :( http://www.outex.com/faqs/
krisbell wrote:
Jazz wrote: Have you been herping in Asia before? Bronze backs have a completely different head shape and pattern. This mock viper was a bit on the thin side and as I said, he was heavily in shed which you can attribute to the drabness.
OK I see it now - I think I was comparing it to P.pulverulentus which I am familiar with but P.pictus is quite different looking :oops:
All good :) its always easier to identify them in person!

User avatar
Antonsrkn
Posts: 971
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 1:38 pm
Contact:

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Antonsrkn » November 14th, 2014, 8:45 pm

The dragons do sleep alot, we saw a few wandering around earlier on but yeah once it heats up they're mostly stationary. I just missed seeing them feeding, the dragons actually killed a buffalo maybe a day after I visited Rinca, I didn't hear about it for a couple days when i was scuba diving then someone told me about it. I was at the island the next day but sadly the last of the dragons had already moved on leaving a stripped skeleton in a mud pool, it was so fresh that some of the puddles were still red from the blood but there wasn't really any meat left and plenty of footprints and tail drag marks in the mud but no longer any dragons in the vicinity either. I would have loved to have gotten there 2 days earlier and photographed the entire thing. Consequently 3/4s of my photos are of various dragons relaxing in the shade rather than being badass predators.

Yeah on the dive that I saw mantas on in Komodo we got super close, the dive site was called Cauldron and the first manta was right there as soon as we jumped in the water as well as 3-4 white tips! He just did one lazy circle around us and took off, the second manta was not long after, he was just hovering in a section where the currents were crazy strong and we were carried right at him. We all scrambled to grab onto rocks and amazingly all got a handhold, by the time I managed to find a suitable handhold the current had carried me right to the manta, he was maybe 4 meters away. He was just hanging in place slowly flapping his wings, which was crazy cause even with my handhold the current was almost sweeping me away and it was all I could do to cling on. There's actually a place called manta point in Komodo as well, I didn't go there but my friend saw 3-4 mantas there, not sure how close though. We stopped there when I took the boat to Lombok and briefly snorkeled, saw 2 mantas way off in the distance that time.

Haha first I have to get some work/project, yeah despite my main interests being herpetology I haven't actually done any fieldwork with herps, but I mean to change that as soon as I have a chance!

Thanks for the link, a way to get a dslr down 33 ft is still pretty good, worth looking into!

User avatar
Jazz
Posts: 43
Joined: August 21st, 2014, 12:12 am

Re: Borneo and King Cobras [pic heavy]

Post by Jazz » November 17th, 2014, 11:23 pm

Hey sorry ive been out herping without reception!

Ah that would have been amazing! Do you have any idea how often they make a big kill like that? At least you were out diving, doing something fun at least. Did you get any photos of the skeleton? Even that in itself sounds pretty cool. Im still waiting out for your komodo photos!

Wow youve seen quite a few! The ones at lembongan are pretty habituated i think because we had 5-10 swimming within arms reach of us, they werent fazed at all. We went in off season and were only snorkeling as well so i cant imagine what it would be like in peak with weather permitting.
That current sounds pretty intense, were most of the dives quite difficult? Ive done a bit of diving but my partner hasnt.

I guess you would still be able to find a lot of herps a long the way regardless of what your target it. Well it seems like you do anyway!

Yeah it would be ok for snorkeling and shallow dives but still wouldnt be able to get mola mola photos! Me and my partner are hoping to swim with whale sharks next year so im mainly looking at it for that.

Post Reply