Bornean Orangutan, Pongo pygmaeus. Deramakot, 2022

This page covers both the Malaysian and Indonesian bits of Borneo, together with Brunei.

I have visited Borneo four times. Two weeks in October 2004, a week in August 2008; four nights in May 2015 and two weeks in July 2022. It is a biologically fascinating island with a host of endemic species. The mammal watching is excellent but trying to do anything out of the ordinary can be rather frustrating as most trips are only possible as tours, and lodges and operators tend not to be very flexible (though Deramakot is an exception). In 2004 I did manage to hire a car and travelled to Kinabalu and Poring on my own which was a good move.


Bornean Striped Palm Civet, Arctogalidia stigmatica

Mulu National Park

Deer Cave

I spent 2 nights here 2004. An interesting place, famous for the enormous Deer Cave and its millions of bats. There is great spotlighting around the park if you can get some of the locals to take you out. Wrinkle-lipped Bats, Moonrat,Diadem Roundleaf Bats, Naked Bats, Black Flying Squirrel, Striped Palm Civet (split in 2015 from Small-toothed Palm Civet), Bornean Slow Loris, Long-tailed Porcupine, Plain Pygmy Squirrel and Prevost’s Squirrels were among the mammals. See the 2004 trip report below.


Deramakot Forest Reserve

Sunda Colugo, Galeopterus variegatus

I spent four nights here in 2015. A fabulous forest reserve that, for the moment at least, is seldom visited and where you can spotlight to your heart’s content.

We saw Ear-spot Squirrel, Plantain Squirrel, Prevost’s Squirrel, Low’s Squirrel, Least Pygmy Squirrel, Red Giant Flying Squirrel, Black Flying Squirrel, Thomas’ Flying Squirrel, Rice-field Rat, Malaysian Field Rat, Gray Tree Rat, Malay Civet, Asian Palm Civet, Striped Palm Civet (split in 2015 from Small-toothed Palm Civet).

Binturong (Arctis binturong)

We also saw Binturong, Banded Palm Civet, Leopard Cat, Yellow-throated Marten, Spotted-winged Fruit Bat, Malayan Flying Lemur, Bornean Slow Loris, Proboscis Monkey, Long-tailed Macaque, Sunda Pig-tailed Macaque, Bornean Orangutan, Mueller’s Bornean Gibbon, Slender Tree-Shrew, Long-footed Tree-Shrew, Sambar and Asian Elephant were among the species encountered. See the 2015 trip report below.

Banded Civet (Hemigalus derbyanus)

In 2022 I returned for 8 nights and added Sunda Stink Badger, 2 Sun Bears, Ranee Mouse, Greater Pencil-tailed Tree Mouse, Trefoil Horseshoe Bat, Diadem Roundleaf Bat, Acuminate Horseshoe Bat, White-collared Fruit Bat, Yellow Muntjac, Greater Mouse Deer and a Bay Cat.

Gunung Kinabalu

Jentink’s Squirrel, Sundasciurus jentinki

I spent two nights in 2004. An interesting park where you can stay on your own and drive around at night without any problems. Mammals I saw included Bornean Black-banded Squirrel, Malayan Weasel (regularly seen) Bornean Black-banded Ground Squirrel, Bornean Mountain Ground Squirrel, Mountain Treeshrew, Lesser Gymnure, Giant Long-tailed Rat, possible Long-tailed Mountain Rat, Masked Palm Civet, and Jentinck’s Squirrel. See the 2004 trip report below.

Whiskered Flying Squirrel, Petinomys genibarbis

In 2022 I returned for 3 nights and added Whiskered, Javanese and Spotted Giant Flying Squirrels, Sculptor Squirrel, Brooke’s Squirrel, Pale Giant Squirrel, Kinabalu Rat, Asian House Rat and Andersen’s Woolly Horseshoe Bats.

Poring Hot Springs

Fawn Leaf-nosed Bat, Hipposideros cervinus

I spent a night here in 2004 and saw a Smoky Flying Squirrel, Greater Pencil-tailed Mouse, Prevost’s Squirrel, Plain Pygmy Squirrel, Cream Giant Squirrel, Fawn Leaf-nosed Bat and Greater Sheathtail Bat. See the 2004 trip report below.

Sayap Substation

Montane Bornean Niviventer, Niviventer rapit

We spent two nights in 2022 at this reserve on the north side of Mount Kinabalu.  We saw lots of squirrels: Sculptor, Bornean Black Banded, Whitehead’s Tufted Pygmy, Jentink’s and Pale Giant. Plus Black Flying Squirrels after dark. We also saw Striped Palm Civet and a rare Bornean Mountain Niviventer.

Manukan Island

I spent a night here in 2004 because several websites reckoned there were Pangolins on this island just off Kota Kinabalu. Nice place. No Pangolins.

Kinabatang River

I spent two nights here in 2004 and four more in 2008. It is a superb area for mammals, and animals are squeezed into the narrow gallery forest. Species I have seen here include Proboscis Monkey, Long-tailed Macaque, Silvered Langur, Orangutan, Asian Elephant, Flat-headed Cat, Sunda Pig-tailed Macaque, Bornean Bearded Pig, Colugo, Prevost’s Squirrel, Low’s Squirrel, Cream Giant Squirrel, Plain Pygmy Squirrel, Horse-tailed SquirrelShort-tailed Mongoose, Malay Civet, Moonrat, Giant Flying Fox, Fawn Leaf-nosed Bats, Dayak Leaf-nosed Bats, Dark-tailed Tree Rat and Rajah Rat. See the 2004 and 2008 trip reports below for more information.


Bornean Orangutan, Pongo pygmaeus

I stopped in for a morning here in 2004. Wild Bornean Gibbons are here – but hard to see. Easier to see are Prevost’s Squirrels (the predominantly black Pluto race) and Cream Giant Squirrels. Hose’s (Grey) Langurs are also quite common at the Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary at mile 19 off the road from Sandakan to Sukau, or so I was told.

Gomantong Caves

Creagh’s Horseshoe Bats and a Miniopterus species, Gomantong 2008

I visited these caves in 2004 and 2008, that are near to the Kinabatang River. They contain lots of Wrinkle-lipped Bats, and other species, including Dayak Roundleaf bats, that are hard to identify because they roost high up on the walls of this massive cave. Short-nosed Fruit Bats roost in the car park. See the 2004 trip report and the 2008 trip report below.

Danum Valley

I spent two nights in the Borneo Rainforest Lodge and two nights at the Danum Valley Field Centre in 2004. Wonderful forest, great mammals, but the Rainforest Lodge was annoyingly (mis)managed and it could be possible to see so much more here if they catered for naturalists rather than package tourists looking for a rainforest experience. But I still saw quite a lot in the two places: Bornean Clouded Leopard, Pygmy Squirrel, Cream Giant Squirrel, Horse-tailed Squirrel, Prevost’s Squirrel, Bornean Bearded Pig, Greater and Lesser Mouse Deer, Maroon Langur, Bornean Gibbon, Colugo, Malay Civet,  Striped Palm Civet (split in 2015 from Small-toothed Palm Civet), Giant Red Flying Squirrel, Thomas’s Flying Squirrel, Leopard Cats, Masked Palm Civet, Long-tailed Porcupine,Bornean Slow Loris, Plain Treeshrew and Large Treeshrew. See the 2004 trip report below.

Binturong, Arctictis binturong


I spent three nights here in 2008. This is another park with a lot of potential but not brilliantly run. I saw Large Flying Fox, Ridley’s Myotis, Sabah Grizzled (Hose’s) Leaf-Monkey, Pig-tailed Macaque, Prevost’s Squirrel, Low’s Squirrel, Black Flying Squirrel, Giant Red Flying Squirrel, Thomas’s Flying Squirrel, Malayan Civet, Masked Palm Civet, Common Palm Civet, Leopard Cat, Lesser and Greater Mouse Deer, Bornean Yellow Muntjak, Sambar and Bearded Pig.

Community Reports

The World’s Best Mammalwatching

The mammalwatching in Borneo has always been pretty special but in recent years it has gone from strength to strength with the opening up of Deramakot Forest Reserve in Sabah. This forest is a mammalwatching paradise. It protects a lot of wildlife and seeing it here is easier than in most national parks. With the legendary Mike Gordon from Advernture Alternative Borneo wielding a spotlight all night long you have the best chances on the island to see Borneo’s most desired species. Where else can you see a Clouded Leopard, a Sun Bear and a Pangolin on the same night? I was not quite so lucky in 2015 ….. I need to go back.  See more of the World’s Best Mammalwatching.

Adventure Alternative Borneo

Community Reports

Cats of Borneo, 2024: Cat Expeditions, 2 weeks & 34 species including Tarsier, Short-clawed Otter and Flat-headed Cat.

Sabah, 2024: Ben Schweinhart’s preliminary report from Deramakot, Danum and Tawau with 44 species including Pen-tailed Treeshrew, Spotted-winged Fruit Bat, Sunda Pangolin and Emmons’s Tree Rat.

Sabah, 2023: Daan Drukker, 4 weeks  and 71 species including Hose’s Pygmy Flying Squirrel, Borneo Fruit Bat, Banded Linsang, Otter Civet, Malay Weasel and Sun Bear. A superb and very useful report.

Sabah & Sarawak, 2023: Rockjumper Tours, 26 days & 57 species including Sunda Clouded LeopardBay CatOtter Civet, Spot-winged Fruit Bat and a Tufted Ground Squirrel.

Sabah, 2023: Royle Safaris, 2.5 weeks & 49 species including Tarsier, Moonrat and Hose’s Pygmy Flying Squirrel.

Sabah, 2023: Brett Hartl, 2 weeks & lots of mammals including Marbled Cat, Sunda Pangolin and Otter Civet.

Sabah, 2023: Royle Safaris, 2 weeks and 50+ species including Clouded Leopard, Otter Civet and Collared Mongoose.

Sabah and Singapore, 2022Fiona Reid, 19 days & 63 species including Raffles’ Banded LangursBornean Water ShrewShort-tailed MongooseSabah Grey Langur and a Sunda Pangolin.

Deramakot and Kinabalu, 2022: Nick Cox & Stuart Chapman, 1 week & 41 mammals including with two Marbled CatsGrey Langur and a Sunda Pangolin.

Sabah, 2022: Andreas Jonsson, 11 days & 31 species including Flat-headed CatOtter Civet and Banded Linsang.

Deramakot and Kinabalu, 2022: Jon Hall, 2 weeks & 52 species including 2 separate Sun BearsLong-tailed Mountain Rat, Whiskered Flying Squirrel and a Bay Cat. (Same trip as Ian’s report directly below albeit with some different information).

Deramakot and Kinabalu, 2022: Ian Thompson, 2 weeks & 53 species including 2 separate Sun BearsLong-tailed Mountain Rat, Whiskered Flying Squirrel and a Bay Cat.

Sarawak and Kalimantan, 2022: John Rogers, 15 days & 17 species including Abbot’s and Bornean White-bearded GibbonsCross-marked (Sarawak) Langur and a Kalimantan Treeshrew.

Sabah & Sarawak, 2022: Shavez Cheema’s helpful mammal guide to several sites on the island with species including Sun BearIrawaddy Dolphin and Marbled Cat.

Southern Sabah, 2020: Nick Brierly and Shavez Cheema, 1 month & some great species including Sun Bear, Marbled Cat and Tufted Ground Squirrel.

Tawau, 2020: Ralph Lawson, 5 days & 37 species including Irawaddy DolphinTarsierBanded Linsang and Marbled Cat.

Kinabatangan, Gomantang, Sepilok, Klias & Ba’Kelalan, 2020: John Rogers, 8 days & 21 species including Western Tarsier and Hose’s Langur.

Sepilok and Kinabalu, 2020: John Wright, a few nights (pre Covid quarantine) with a Spotted Giant Flying Squirrel the hightlight.

Brunei – Hose’s Langur, 2019: Mark SPence, 6 nights & several species including Hose’s Grey Langurs and Plain Pygmy Squirrel.

Sabah, 2019: Tomer Ben-Yehuda, 19 days & 63 species including Banded Linsang, Marbled Cat and a bunch of rodents. A very useful report.

Sabah, 2019: Royle Safaris, 15 days & 79 species including Otter Civet and Flat-headed Cat.

Sabah, 2019Lennart Verheuvel, 3.5 weeks & 45 species including Clouded LeopardMarbled and Flat-headed Cat and Otter Civets.

Taman Negara and Deramakot, 2019: Romain Boquier, 6 days & 30 species including TapirMalayan Slit-faced Bat and Horsfield’s Tarsier.

Sabah and Sarawak, 2019: Sophie and Manuel Baumgartner, 1 month & 60+ species inlcuding Banded Linsang, Clouded Leopard, Sunda Pangolin and Tufted Ground Squirrel.

Deramakot, 2019: Naturetrek, 14 days & 37 species including Moonrat, Long-tailed Porcupine and Sun Bear.

Sabah, Singapore and Peninsula Malaysia, 2019: Phil Telfer, 18 days & 62 species including Clouded Leopard, Western Tarsier, Otter Civet, Sun Bear and – just to rub salt in the wound – two Sunda Pangolins!

Mount Kinabalu and Sepilok, Sabah, 2019: Vladimir Dinets, 9 days & 56 species including Sun Bear, Kinabalu Ferret Badger and Spotted Giant Flying Squirrel.

Sabah Rare Mammals Tour, 2018: Royle Safaris, 15 days & 66 species including a Collared Mongoose, Whiskered Flying Squirrel and Sunda Stink Badger.

Sukau Rainforest Lodge, Kinabatangan River, 2018: Scott Vanderpoel’s video report (just 3 minutes long), 3 days & 12 species incuding Colugo and Orangutan.

Deramakot, Kinabatangan and Mt Kinabalu, 2018: Naturetrek, 2 weeks & 37 species including Moonrat, Sun Bearand Clouded Leopard.

Sabah, 2018: David Andrew, 3 weeks & 47 species including Shrew-faced Ground Squirrel, Clouded Leopard (at Imbak Canyon) and a Pen-tailed Treeshrew.

Sabah and Singapore, 2018: Sjef Ollers, 20 days & 50+ species including Marbled Cat, Clouded Leopard and Western Tarsier.

Sabah, 2018: Alan Dahl, 2 weeks & 35 species including Pen-tailed Treeshrew and Moonrat.

Sabah and Sarawak, 2018: Stefan Lither, 2.5 weeks & about 50 species including Flat-headed Cat, Yellow Muntjac, Smoth-tailed and Pen-tailed Treeshrews, and some nice bats including Vordemann’s Pipistrelle and Hairy-winged Bat.

Sabah, 2018: Dominique Brugiere, 3 weeks & many species including Flat-headed Cat and Otter Civet in Deramakot; and Kinabalu Rat and Spotted Giant Flying Squirrel on Mount Kinabalu.

Deramakot, 2018: Mark Spence, 9 days & 25 species including Western Tarsier, Moon Rat, Flat-headed CatHose’s Langur and Otter Civet.

Sabah, 2017: Fiona Reid, 18 days & 66 species including Spotted Giant Flying SquirrelBanded LinsangMarbled Cat and Otter Civet.

Sabah, 2017: Pieter de Groot Boersma’s video montage of a trip includes Least Pygmy Squirrel, North Bornean Gibbon and several bats.

Deramakot, 2017: Steve Morgan, 10 days & 35 species including Clouded LeopardMarbled Cat & Hose’s Flying Squirrel.

Sabah, 2017: Laurent Morin, 9 days and some great mammals including Western Tarsier, Moonrat, Marbled Cat and Clouded Leopards.

Sabah, 2017: Royle Safaris, 16 days & over 60 species including Stink Badger and Marbled Cat.

Sabah, 2017: Alan Dahl, 2 weeks & 36 species including Whitehead’s Pygmy Squirrel, Marbled Cat and Otter Civet.

Sabah, 2017: Richard Webb, 12 days & 37 species including Clouded LeopardSunda Stink Badger and a Banded Linsang.

Sabah, 2017: Dominque Brugiere, 2 weeks & several nice species including Moonrat, Kinabalu Squirrel and Clouded Leopard. Plus what may have been a Hairy-nosed Otter.

Deramakot and the Kinabatangan River, 2017: Jo Dale, 8 nights & 47 species including Marbled Cat, Stink Badger, Otter Civet, Western Tarsier and Pen-tailed Tree Shrew.

Deramakot and the Kinabtangan River, 2017: Andreas Jonsson, 8 days & 29 species including Sunda Stink Badger, Banded Palm Civet, Moonrat and Western Tarsier.

Kalimantan, 2016: Samuel Marlin, 7 days & 8 species including Orangutans and Bearded Pigs.

Borneo, 2016: Starling Tours, 2.5 weeks & 45+ species including Western Tarsier, Short-tailed Mongoose, Sun Bear and Clouded Leopard.

Sabah, 2016: Janco van Gelderen, 2 weeks & 35+ species including Sun Bears and a Sunda Clouded Leopard.

Sabah, 2016: Richard Webb, 11 days & 40 species including Clouded Leopard, Stink Badger, Tarsier and Yellow Muntjak.

Borneo, 2016: Mac Hunter, 2 weeks & 40+ species including Pangolin, Clouded Leopard, Marbled Cat, Tarsier and a Spotted Giant Flying Squirrel. What a trip!!

Deramakot Forest Reserve, 2015: Jon Hall, 4 nights and 30 species including Binturong, Spot-winged Bat and Banded Palm Civet.

Sabah, 2015: Curtis Hart, 2 weeks & 35+ species including a Spotted Giant Flying Squirrel, BInturong and a Sun Bear.

Brunei, 2015: Curtis Hart, 2 weeks & 10 species including North Bornean Gibbons and a Sunda Flying Lemur.

Malaysia & Borneo, 2015: Ben Balmford, 1 month & 70 species including Painted Treeshrew, Tarsier, Spotted Giant Flying Squirrel, Flat-headed Cat and Malaysian Tapir.

Kinabatang River (Sabah), 2014: Steve Morgan, 4 days & 12 species including Flat-headed Cats, Malay Civet and Orang Utan.

Way Kambas & Indonesian Borneo, 2014: Ian Loyd, Lorna Watson and Steve Morgan, 2 weeks & 36 species including Feather-tailed Tree Shrew, Malayan Tapir, some nice bats and a probable Marbled Cat and Banded Linsang.

Sabah, 2014: Paul Carter & Jo Dale, 23 days & 56 species including Tarsier, Banded Linsang, Banded Palm Civet, Malayan Weasel and Malayan Slit-faced Bat. Great report.

Indonesia (Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Borneo and Bali), 2013: Dave Redfield and Richard White (INDRI tours), 22 days & 52 species including Pen-tail Treeshrew, Otter Civet and Mitred Langurs (all in Way Kambas, Sumatra).

Indonesia & Malaysia, 2011: Romain Bocquier, 6 weeks & 43 species including Marbled Cat and Sulawesi Dwarf Cuscus.

Borneo and Malaysia, 2011: Indri Tours, 11 days & 33 species including Banded Palm Civet, Malayan Weasel and Western Tarsiers (twice).

Sabah, 2010: David Bishop (VENT), 2 weeks & 45 species including a Banded Linsang and a Banded Palm Civet. (David also reports a fabulous Tufted Ground Squirrel along the border track at Gunung Penrissen in Sarawak on a separate 2011 trip to Borneo).

Sabah, 2009: Alain Guillemont, 2 weeks & 31 species. An exceptional trip which included Tarsier, Sun Bear, Clouded Leopard and Marbled Cat!

Sabah, 2009: Dion Hobcroft, 5 weeks & 56 mammals including a Hairy-nosed Otter and a Malay Badger.

Malaysia and Borneo, 2009: Indri Tours, 2 weeks & 50 mammals including a Banded Palm Civet in Tabin and a Sun Bear and a Tapir in Taman Negara!

Gunung Mulu, 2009: Rohan Clarke, 2 days & 10 species including a Bornean Tarsier. (NB Rohan returned here a few months later and saw Tarsiers most nights within 500m from the accommodation).

Kinabatang River and Tabin, 2008: Jon Hall, 6 nights and 31 species including a Flat-headed Cat and Hose’s Leaf-monkey.

Sabah, 2008: Derek Shingles, 9 nights & 9 species including Elephants.

Borneo, 2008: K. David Bishop, 2 weeks & 40 species including a Bay Cat!

Thailand and Borneo, 2008: Coke Smith, 2 weeks & in Borneo 41 species including a Ferret Badger. See more photos and the report on his site too.

Greater Sundas (West Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra, Java), 2008: Tim Mitzen, 2 months and 55 mammals including a Ferret Badger. A full trip report is here.

Sabah and Singapore, 2007: Sjef Ollers, 3 weeks & 35 species including Clouded Leopard, Flat-headed Cat and Hose’s Langur.

Sabah, 2007: Richard Webb, 2 week & 34 mammals including Flat-headed Cat and Banded Palm Civet.

Sabah, 2005: Steve Anyon-Smith, 2 weeks & 37 mammals.

Sabah and Sarawak, 2004: Jon Hall, 2 weeks and 50+ species including a Malayan Weasel and a Clouded Leopard.

Sabah and Sarawak, 2003: Don Roberson, 1 month.

Sabah, 2003: Richard Webb, 1 week and some great mammals including a Sun Bear and an Otter Civet.

Peninsula Malaysia and Sarawak, 1998: Steve Anyon-Smith, 4 weeks & 29 mammals.

Also See

There are separate pages on for Java, Sulawesi, Sumatra (including the Mentawai Islands) and the rest of Indonesia.

An unusual civet in Tabin, May 2024

Deramakot Horseshoe Bat ID, November 2023

Clouded Leopard video, August 2023

RFI Ranee Mice in Deramakot, April 2023

Tufted Ground Squirrels on Borneo, December 2021

Help with Bat ID from the Danum Valley, October, 2020

Malay Weasels around Gunung Kinabalu Park HQ, June, 2020

Help IDing rats and squirrels, November, 2019

Bay Cat and Flat-headed Cat in Sabah, April, 2019.

RFI Kinabatangan River (and Flat-headed Cats), April, 2018.

Stunning Clouded Leopard and cubs video, November, 2017

Bay Cats in Kalabakan Forest Reserve, January 2017

Marbled Cat & Whiskered Flying Squirrel, Mt Kinabalu, May 2016

Clouded Leopard footage from Deramakot, April 2016

Sumatran Rhino Extinct in Sabah, May 2015

Bay Cat photographed in Sabah logging concession, December 2013

Sumatran rhino confirmed in Kalimantan, October 2013

Bay Cat in Sabah, September 2013

Bornean Bats in Pitcher Plants, February 2011


Some notes on finding the rare mammals of Borneo, December 2023

A guide to alternative mammalwatching destinations on Borneo, December 2023

The Bats of Malaysia – free PDF guide, August 2023

Payne, J. and Francis, C. 1998. A Field Guide to the Mammals of Borneo. The Sabah Society, Kota Kinabalu. Indispensable if you are visiting Borneo, this covers all the mammals known from there. Quite easy to pick up in Borneo (and probably cheaper there too).

Checklist of the mammals of Borneo, October 2013

Checklist of mammals (and more) in Tawau Hills Park, Sabah. October 2019

A guide to mammalwatching in the Tawau Hills Park, Sabah. June 2021.

1 Comment

  • Mikaail Kavanagh

    It’s great to see Borneo’s mammals being so celebrated. As a conservationists who was involved one way or another in Bornean conservation for more than 30 years, I hope that your account will encourage more ecotourists to visit the places that you have listed. All of them, of course, have a lot more to see than just the mammals, but birders and others will find them anyway.
    The account of Sepilok got my attention because, aside from the mammals per se and the snakes and spiders that are fairly easily seen, I think that one of its best offerings is on show at nightfall when squirrels are going to bed, bats are waking up, frogs are calling and insects are more deafening than in almost any other forest I can think of. With a bit of patience, you may well also see a slow loris. That’s a sign of a healthy environment!
    When it comes to the Kinabatangan, it is worth mentioning to many tourists that it is probably the easiest place in Borneo to see – often in one day – not only orang utans, proboscis monkeys, Borneo pygmy elephants, macaques and langurs, but also hornbills, swiftlets and the world’s largest crocodile. Base yourself at Sukau and enjoy the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary!
    And if you just love the peace and splendour of an ancient forest, try the resort at Brunei’s Ulu Temburong, not least for its super canopy walkway and the chance of a night walk up a small stream bed with the occasional roosting bird to surprise you.
    Finally, long live the Heart of Borneo that shows that three sovereign countries can work together to save their shared rainforests – and that they can all benefit from the economic benefits of ecotourism which are just one – but an important one – of the reasons for conserving such places.

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