Another Peninsula Malaysia post

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Mattsnake
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Another Peninsula Malaysia post

Post by Mattsnake » December 15th, 2015, 3:45 am

In October of this year I finally ventured outside of Australia for a herping trip, and having never been out of Australia before I wasn't really sure what to expect. So myself and two mates decided to head to Malaysia for a week and just wing it as we went, and see what critters we could turn up. Everything was going to be new which is always insanely exciting!
The only plan was to fly to Kuala Lumpar, then get a connecting flight to Langkawi and take it from there…

We arrived in Langkawi late at night, hired a car with the fuel light flashing like crazy, struggled to find a fuel station, and then took off to find some forest to herp.
It was a lot drier than I expected it to be, and it only rained once the whole time we were there. But there were a few different amphibians out and about in the leaf litter and by the dry drains. I've struggled a bit with identifying the frogs, so if any are wrong I'd love to know the correct ID, and also if anyone could recommend a decent SE Asian field guide on frogs that would be much appreciated!

Banded Bullfrog (Kaloula pulchra)
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Common Tree Frog (Polypedates leucomystax)
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These guys were fairly common on the first night.
Perak Horned Toad (Xenophrys aceras)
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It was weird to be in a place where toads are meant to be there, as opposed to Australia where they are a huge pest.
Asian Common Toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus)
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Malayan Kraits (Bungarus candidus) were probably the most common snake that we encountered, but surprisingly we never got a single one whilst road cruising.
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The next most common species would have been Peninsula Pit Vipers (Trimeresurus fucatus).
Male
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Female
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The only other snake we got that night was a sleeping Asian Vine Snake (Ahaetulla prasina)
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After a few hours sleep we woke up, grabbed some food, and went for a drive to see if anything was about on the already scorching hot day.
In no time at all we came across this guy chilling on the side of the road.

Clouded Monitor (Varanus nebulosus)
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Long-tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis) were absolutely everywhere! I'm a huge primate nut, and having never been out of Australia before I'd never seen a wild monkey before. So this was a massive novelty for me, even though they are extremely common I never got sick of seeing the Macaques.

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Even better than the Macaques were these guys, which also proved to be relatively common in a few areas. But they were much more shy and didn't like to hang around once they had spotted people.
Dusky Leaf Monkey (Trachypithecus obscurus)
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We didn't have a great deal of luck with diurnal reptiles (especially snakes - only seeing a couple of Dendrelaphis sp. which managed to get away). Asian Water Monitors (Varanus salvator) were seen occasionally, but for some reason I never photographed an adult.
Juvenile
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Great Hornbills (Buceros bicornis) were seen on the odd occasion, and their size and especially the sound of their wings beating was really impressive!

Female
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Male
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That night we tried herping a different spot along a rainforest stream, and then later on tried the same spot as the night before (which once again turned up more Kraits and Pit Vipers).

Reticulated Python (Broghammerus reticulatus)
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Malayan Forest Gecko (Cyrtodactylus pulchellus)?
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White-lipped Frog (Chalcorana labialis)
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An awesome looking Tarantula that I haven't managed to identify yet.
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White-spotted slug-eating snake (Pareas margaritophorus)
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Tokay Geckos (Gekko gecko) were extremely common, and could be found just about everywhere - trees, buildings, power poles, rocks, drains, etc etc
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Another species that seemed to like the drains were these cute fellas..
Malayan Soft-shell Turtle (Dogania subplana)
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Kuhl's Flying Gecko (Ptychozoon kuhli)
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Mammals were very common every night, with Red Giant Flying Squirrels, Flying Lemurs and Civets being seen numerous times each night. Unfortunately I never got a photo of any of the Civet species, and took horrible photos of the Flying Squirrels. But I did manage to get some photos of a few different Flying Lemurs where you can actually tell what they are, one tree even had seven of them in it one night.

Flying Lemur (Galeopterus variegates)
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The following day we thought it was time to do what every herper seems to do when in Langkawi… and that is get on a boat and go find Mangrove Pit Vipers (Cryptelytrops purpureomaculatus). Now this was the only day that it rained, and it hammered down for the majority of the boat trip, but did stop for a bit which was great.

Kilim River
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Mangrove Pit Viper (Cryptelytrops purpureomaculatus) as found.
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A different and much larger Mangrove Viper in situ.
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Mangrove Pit Viper swimming across the river
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That night we decided that we would go and try for the different species of snakes that live around the rice paddies. Now anyone who has done this before will know what a horrible mud and bug filled experience this is! My camera gear ended up coated in mud, my mouth, eyes and ears filled with millions of annoying little bugs, and the snakes were such a nightmare to photograph that I just gave up on taking photos and just watched the snakes instead.

By far the most common species were the Puff-faced Water Snakes (Homalopsis buccata). I lost count of how many we saw.
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We also came across Sunbeam Snakes (Xenopeltis Unicolor) and Red-tailed Pipe Snakes (Cylindrophis ruffus) but my photos of them are atrocious.

These frogs were everywhere around the paddies, but I have no idea what they are.
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We also got a couple of sleeping lizards nearby.

Masked Spiny Lizard (Acanthosaura crucigera)
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Spotted Flying Lizard (Draco maculatus) which were often seen running up and down trees during the day.
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Late that night we decided that it was time to go somewhere else. The quick plan we came up with was to book a flight to Kuala Lumpar, hire a car, and then make the drive up to Bukit Fraser for the next couple of days. However, when we woke up the following morning we were greeted with this lovely sight…
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Now it had been smokey the day before, but nothing like this. This also meant that all flights out of Langkawi were cancelled for the next few days. So after a bit of panic, stress, and the thought of "now we're not gonna see Bukit Fraser", we found out that there was a ferry that travels from Langkawi to Penang! We quickly got a taxi, got to the ferry terminal and were on our way to Penang!
Penang was even more hazy than Langkawi. So we got the scariest taxi ride ever to the airport, hired a car there, got a motel for the night, and then after a visit to the Snake Temple the next morning we were finally on our way to Bukit Fraser.

Bukit Fraser was a really awesome looking place.
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it was shame that it was still smokey there though.
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Frogs were very common here, and I've got tons of photos of frogs that I still need to go through and try and identify.

Poisonous Rock Frog (Odorrana hosii)
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The first snake we came across was this Malayan Striped Coral Snake (Calliophis intestinalis) cruising around in the leaf litter. The next night we got one in town crossing the road just on dark.
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By far the most common species of snake we encountered were Variable Reed Snakes (Calamaria lumbricoidea).
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No idea what this species is.
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Maybe Limnonectes blythii??
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Asian Giant Toads (Phrynoidis asper) are once again so much prettier than the Cane Toads that we get at home.
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A couple of Peninsula Pit Vipers (Trimeresurus fucatus) were also found here, including this little neonate.
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The only snakes that we found during the day were Speckle-bellied Keelbacks (Rhabdophis chrysargos) cruising through thick leaf litter.
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Juvenile
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Also during the day we stumbled across this little fella. Now the original thought was that this was Manouria impressa, but then that it was a Spiny Hill Turtle (Heosemys spinosa), and a few people I'd sent the photos to agreed. But since I've had a few other people thinking that it's a few other different species. So if anyone knows exactly what species this is I'd love to know!

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Now that was pretty much it for herps that I photographed whilst there. I got pretty slack in the end.
Now the major highlight for me, and what I loved about Bukit Fraser so much was the abundance of primates! Most were very shy, but there were lots of glimpses of them jumping about the place or chilling high in the trees late in the afternoon. The calls of Siamangs echoing across the valleys each morning were amazing too!

Pig-tailed Macaque (Macaca leonina)
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The biggest highlight of the whole trip was getting a glimpse of this guy sitting way up in the tree tops, and then him swinging off into oblivion very very quickly. Unfortunately the pictures I got were blurry.. firstly because it was very unexpected and the camera setting were SO wrong, and secondly I was watching him and forgot to actually take photos initially, and thirdly I'm just crap.

Siamang (Symphalangus syndactylus)
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White-thighed Leaf Monkeys (Presbytis siamensis) feeding on the edge of town on the last afternoon.
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The next morning we got up and made the hectic drive south to Kuala Lumpar for our flight home, narrowly avoiding a huge piece of concrete that fell off a truck in front of us and hitting a car to our left on the bounce. Asia was awesome, but the driving in Australia is much less crazy!

Kfen
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Re: Another Peninsula Malaysia post

Post by Kfen » December 15th, 2015, 7:14 am

Great post! Looks like you saw quite a bit. I would love to get to SE Asia one day.

My vote on your turtle is Manouria. It would take some strong evidence to convince me otherwise. What other species besides spinosa did people mention? Do you have any other photos?

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Berkeley Boone
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Re: Another Peninsula Malaysia post

Post by Berkeley Boone » December 15th, 2015, 8:29 am

Agreed with Kfen, that turtle is a Manouria impressa. No question. The slight dipping of the carapacial scutes, but most importantly those foreleg scales, seals it for me.

Great photos, Matt! I really like that Tokay photo! Good stuff all around. And holy crap, that last picture of the leaf monkey baby is insanely cute. Nice trip- looks like you had a great time!
--Berkeley

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Martti Niskanen
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Re: Another Peninsula Malaysia post

Post by Martti Niskanen » December 15th, 2015, 7:12 pm

Great post! Both find- and photo-wise. More of a snake guy, but lovely Manouria.

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chrish
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Re: Another Peninsula Malaysia post

Post by chrish » December 15th, 2015, 8:54 pm

Great post, impressive diversity of critters, great photos as usual.
We also came across Sunbeam Snakes (Xenopeltis Unicolor) and Red-tailed Pipe Snakes (Cylindrophis ruffus) but my photos of them are atrocious.
I think your standard is maybe a bit high. Seeing how spectacular your pictures are, I imagine your atrocious photos look like the rest of our good photos. :lol:

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: Another Peninsula Malaysia post

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » December 16th, 2015, 5:32 am

Ah... this takes me back to earlier this year, thanks a lot!!!

I think the Langkawi Cyrtodactylus is macrotuberculatus.
"No idea what this species is" = Amolops larutensis
"Maybe Limnonectes blythii??" = yes
"Acanthosaura crucigera" - sure this isn't Calotes emma?
"These frogs were everywhere around the paddies, but I have no idea what they are." = Fejervarya limnocharis

You can always check my report to sort out some of the frog IDs, but I'm sure you've seen it already. If not, browse for it on here, or check the final version on my website through the 'www' icon right underneath this sentence.

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justinm
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Re: Another Peninsula Malaysia post

Post by justinm » December 16th, 2015, 8:25 am

Stunning photography, I will review this a time or two more. Amazing finds! Well done thanks for putting the post together.

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Steve Barten
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Re: Another Peninsula Malaysia post

Post by Steve Barten » December 16th, 2015, 12:27 pm

Really nice post and outstanding photography, thanks for sharing. I especially liked the tarantula coming out of the hole and the shoftshell. And the retic. And...all of them. Great stuff.

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reptologist
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Re: Another Peninsula Malaysia post

Post by reptologist » December 16th, 2015, 2:29 pm

Kfen wrote:Great post! Looks like you saw quite a bit. I would love to get to SE Asia one day.

My vote on your turtle is Manouria. It would take some strong evidence to convince me otherwise. What other species besides spinosa did people mention? Do you have any other photos?
I also agree with your assessment.

Y.Morgan
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Re: Another Peninsula Malaysia post

Post by Y.Morgan » December 17th, 2015, 1:22 pm

What a fantastic post! It's hard to imagine seeing so many cool animals and sights in only 1 week of a trip that you essentially winged. When you say kraits and vipers were most common - how common are you talking? Awesome retic! How big was it?
Thanks for your post,
York

dendrelaphis
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Re: Another Peninsula Malaysia post

Post by dendrelaphis » December 18th, 2015, 5:35 am

Wonderful observations and pictures. I spent quite a lot of time in Malaysia but never found a single Bungarus candidus...

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mfb
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Re: Another Peninsula Malaysia post

Post by mfb » December 18th, 2015, 5:38 pm

Great stuff, thanks for sharing. I particularly like the toads. I feel sympathy for the toad with a crown of mosquitoes..

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Keeper
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Re: Another Peninsula Malaysia post

Post by Keeper » December 18th, 2015, 10:49 pm

Awesome photos! Thanks for sharing! :D

For the tortoise, I do think it is a Manouria impressa based on the head shape.

Cheers

Kai

Mattsnake
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Re: Another Peninsula Malaysia post

Post by Mattsnake » December 18th, 2015, 11:36 pm

Thanks everyone, and thank you for the frog ID's and the ID of the tortoise!
Y.Morgan wrote:What a fantastic post! It's hard to imagine seeing so many cool animals and sights in only 1 week of a trip that you essentially winged. When you say kraits and vipers were most common - how common are you talking? Awesome retic! How big was it?
Thanks for your post,
York
With the kraits we got 3-4 every night on Langkawi, same with the vipers except we continued to see the vipers at Bukit Fraser as well. Both retics we saw were only about 1.5m long at the very most - the one in the photo was found swimming across a creek.

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