New Trip Report: Borneo

7 Comments
  1. samuel 3 weeks ago

    What an amazing trip report !! And very nice night pictures too.

  2. Profile photo of tomeslice
    tomeslice 2 weeks ago

    Great report, Lennart!
    I’m still working on mine, hoping to publish it this week.

    I’m very jealous of your clouded leopard and tarsier sightings! I’ll have to go back again 🙂

    Just one quick thing – I’m almost sure that what you put as a “Large sunda tree mouse” (AKA pencil-tailed tree mouse) is a wrong ID. I’m not a rodent expert, but having seen this species and confirmed by Quentin Phillipps, I’d say that the tail is way too long. I wish I could post a link to the picture I took of its tail, but it’s roughly the same length as the body, with feather-like tufts at the end. I’d say yours looks like another Ranee mouse, but then again, I would probably be corrected by Quentin. Having seen several different rats throughout the trip, and trying to identify them from pictures, I’ve really gotten to know some of them 😉
    Anyway, what’s a rat compared to a clouded leopard??? Great report!!

  3. Profile photo of Lennartv
    Lennartv 2 weeks ago

    Thanks guys! I also really look forward to your report Tomer!

    Thanks for the comments on the ID of the mouse. I mainly based the ID on the altitude (it was somewhere between 1500-1700m) and what the book said about it. I don’t have the book with me right now so I can check later. It looked a bit too big for any of the Ranee mice to me (they both tend too look a bit, i hate to say it, ‘cute’), but what do I know :).

    If anyone has a suggestion I look forward to hearing it. Also on the mystery roundleaf bat. It appeared to be very common at Kinabalu, I saw it every night. Perhaps it’s not possible to ID it from photo’s though. Certainly doesn’t look as distinctive as the Diadem Roundleaf Bat.

  4. Venkat Sankar 2 weeks ago

    Lennart, congrats on a brilliant trip! Your mystery bat is some species of horseshoe bat (genus Rhinolophus). It’s part of the woolly horseshoe group, and there are 3 possible species that could fit – R. luctus, R. sedulus, and R. francisi. R. sedulus usually occurs at lower elevations and R. francisi is extremely rare so the most likely choice is R. luctus (which is reported fairly regularly from Kinabalu). Of course, to be totally certain you’d have to take measurements.

    Also, while I do understand the appeal of larger species, small mammals like bats and rodents are probably the most under-appreciated conservation priority among vertebrates–I wish mammal watching prioritized mammals of all sizes more equally, like birding does, as it could make a real difference for these species. Also, there are some real gems among small mammals (look up Long-eared Jerboa, Wrinkle-faced Bat, Banner-tailed Kangaroo Rat, Piebald Shrew, Malagasy Sucker-footed Bat, etc.) that can rival any large mammal in beauty or charisma IMO.

    • Profile photo of Lennartv
      Lennartv 2 weeks ago

      Hi Venkat, thanks for the information on the bat! It behaved exactly like the Diadem Round Leaf Bat I saw (hanging and slowly turning), so I assumed it was another Roundleaf bat but without stripes.

      Yes I know, you’re right. I try to ID everything I see, so there is at least that :). Still, while I can enjoy seeing almost any bird (there are exceptions, talking about you Egyptian Goose) bats and rodents generally don’t do much for me, I do like Jerboa’s though, so there is hope. So that’s why I won’t put the same effort in trying to see a rare bat as opposed to a (rare) cat. But you never know how things go :).

  5. Profile photo of jasonwoolgar
    jasonwoolgar 2 weeks ago

    The difference with birders is that they do not generally harm a small bird to take an interest in it.

    I spend time watching and hopefully photographing rodents whenever possible, but the reality is that they are often impossible to identify unless trapped, even then identification is far from guaranteed, and I do not believe that trapping an animal for what basically amounts to a hobby can ever be justified.

    The process is far too invasive and stressful and I will not even read trip reports that show clearly distressed and terrified animals in the hand.

    I was delighted to see that Richard Webb had included guidelines regarding trapping in his proposed mammal watching code of conduct and fully endorse his view that ‘even the most careful small mammal trapping creates a genuine risk of mammals being injured or even killed’.

    I agree with Venkat that it is nice to appreciate everything big or small, but we should not be killing or harming any species just to add them to a list.

    • Profile photo of Mattia from Italy
      Mattia from Italy 2 weeks ago

      I totally agree with Jason. Trapping and handing small mammals is a very invasive and stressful practice, and all just for having a pointless and unnecessary tick in the life-list.

      In the past I used to help bird ringers, than I stopped because to hand small passerines was clearly very stressful for them. For rodents and shrews it should be the same.

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