Thailand

Small-clawed Ptter, Lutra cinereous, Hala Bala National Park.

I have made several shortish trips in Thailand in June 2003 (4 nights), January 2004 (1 week), September 2004 (a week in the south), September 2006 (a weekend in Khao Yai National Park), November 2007 (for a weekend in Hui Kha Kaeng and Mae Wong), August 2008 (four nights at Hala Bala) and October 2010 (three nights at Hala Bala). I returned in July 2017 for 10 days or so checking out some new areas. In October 2023 I spent a few days looking for bats in Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai National Parks. While Thailand might not up there with the likes of Borneo in the S.E Asian mammal watching stakes, there is a decent network of national parks (though many are very crowded), with some nice mammals to see and with help it can be very rewarding. The food is spectacular and the Thai people are great, unless you want to watch wildlife: staying quiet for more than 10 seconds is not a national strength.

Wild Bird Eco is the nature tour operator I used on my first trips. One of their guides, Rattapon Kaichid, aka “Tu”, used to guide and may still do occasionally. Tu is a fabulous all round naturalist, knows a lot about Thailand’s mammals and is great at finding them plus he is a really nice guy. I highly recommend him. I also highly recommend  Jirayu Ekkul (aka Tour) from Wild Encounter Thailand who I used in 2017 to organise and guide our trip. Jirayu also took me to Khao Yai in search of bats in 2023.

Bangkok

Lyle’s Flying Fox, Pteropus lylei

In January 2004 there was a large colony of Lyle’s Flying Foxes at the Wat Pho temple on the outskirts of Bangkok. In July 2017 I saw both Eden’s Whales and Irrawaddy Dolphins in a day trip from Bangkok. And in October 2024 I saw Sunda Short-nosed Fruit Bats feeding in front of my hotel downtown.

Eden’s Whale, Balaenoptera edeni

Hala Bala National Park

Naked Bats, Cheiromeles torquatus

I visited here in September 2004, August 2008 & October 2010.Hala Bala is rapidly becoming one of my favourite parks in Asia. Black-striped Squirrel, Slender Squirrel, Red Giant Flying Squirrel, Polynesian Rat, Black Rat, Lesser False Vampire Bat, Malayan Horseshoe Bat, Bicolored Roundleaf Bat, Dusky Leaf Monkey, Agile Gibbon (heard), Siamang (heard only and seldom seen by anyone).

I returned in August 2008 and saw most of those species again plus Agile Gibbon, White-thighed Langur, Masked and Common Palm Civet, Binturong, Long-tailed Macaque, Malayan Porcupine, Slow Loris, Black and Cream-coloured Giant Squirrel, Horse-tailed Squirrel, Robinson’s (Low’s) Squirrel and we trapped some bats including Horsfield’s Fruit Bat, Naked Bat and Sunda Free-tailed Bat (Mops mops).

In October 2010 I went back to catch bats in their new harp trap and look (successfully) for Hairy-nosed Otters. In the harp trap were Clear-Winged & Least Wooly Bats, Acuminate & Trefoil Horseshoe Bats, plus Intermediate, Diadem & Bicoloured Roundleaf Bats. We didn’t look a lot for other mammals but saw a few species I had seen here before plus Small-toothed Palm Civets and a Leopard Cat.

Hui Kha Kaeng

 Banteng, Bos javanicus

I was here in January 2004 and November 2007.  This park was a major disappointment first time around. I had to apply for a permit to visit the park, but – when I arrived – they had decided to close the main road through the park to traffic. The reputedly healthy populations of cats, bears etc are deep inside the park.

The official line was that no vehicles were allowed because of the dangers posed by wild elephants. We were however allowed to walk along the road. Go figure. Burmese Hare, Pallas’s Squirrel, Asian Palm Civet, Northern Red Muntjac, Sambar. were among the mammals I saw.

I returned in 2007 and, through Tu’s connections, had a better time and saw a Banteng, elephants, Golden Jackals, Dholes, White-bellied (Temminck’s) Flying Squirrels, Variable Squirrels, a Burmese Striped Tree Squirrel, Grey-bellied Squirrels, Long-tailed Macaques and a Northern Tree Shrew as well as most of the species I had seen there in 2004.

Kaeng Krachan National Park

During a very wet day in July 2017 I saw Spectacled Langurs here and a Golden Jackal. In October 2023 I spent a night here again It was still raining but we added Long-tailed Macaques, Black Giant and Grey-bellied Squirrels,  Lar Gibbons and Common Woolly Bats to my park list. Still no Sun Bear. Definitely somewhere to return to in the dry season.

Spectacled Langur, Trachypithecus obscurus

Khao Kapruk Wildlife Sanctuary

In January 2004 I saw a Burmese Har  and Stump-tailed Macaques here, which  are common and hard to see elsewhere in the country.

Khao Sok National Park

Intermediate Horseshoe Bat, Rhinolophus affinis

I visited in January 2004 and September 2004 and saw Grey-bellied Squirrels, Himalayan Striped Tree Squirrels, Indochinese Ground Squirrels, a Whitehead’s Spiny Rat (trapped), an Asian Palm Civet and a Short-nosed Fruit Bat (probably Greater).

Whitehead’s Spiny Rat, Maxomys whiteheadi

There were Black-bearded (and possibly some Long-winged) Tomb Bats, Intermediate Horseshoe Bats, Intermediate Roundleaf Bats  in the bat cave that adjoins the Buddhist temple in the village. I also saw Dusky Leaf Monkey, White-handed Gibbon and a Pygmy Treeshrew.

Khao Yai National Park

Yellow-throated Marten, Martes flavigula

I came here in June 2003, January 2004 and September 2006. I saw Black Giant Squirrel, Grey-bellied Squirrel, Finlayson’s Squirrel, Red-cheeked Flying Squirrel (outside my cabin at the nature lodge), Small Indian Civet, Dhole (pretty uncommon here – in the grasslands near the viewing tower), Tomb Bats (though I am not sure which species), Wrinkle-lipped Freetail Bat, Long-tailed Macaque, Northern Pig-tailed Macaque, White-handed Gibbon, Pileated Gibbon (rare but findable), Wild Boar, Sambar, Northern Red Muntjac, Common Palm Civet, Malayan Porcupine, and Yellow-throated Martens (which in 2006 were guaranteed near the sentry point).

Andersen’s Leaf-nosed Bat (Hipposideros gentilis)

In October 2023 I spent 36 hours mainly searching for bats in caves around the park. We got Lesser False Vampire, Great Himalayan Leaf-nosed Bat, Cantor’s Leaf-nosed Bat, Andersen’s Leaf-nosed Bat, Horsfield’s Leaf-nosed Bat, Malayan Horseshoe Bat, Pearson’s Horseshoe Bat, Shamel’s Horseshoe Bat, Black-bearded Tomb Bat, Medium Bent-winged Bat, Himalayan Whiskered Bat  and possibly some Lesser Large-footed Myotis. We also saw a Serow at a regular stakeout just outside the park.

Klong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary

Klong Yar Substation

I was here in September 2004 – what a fabulous place! I saw a Leopard Cat, Smooth-coated Otter, Yellow-throated Marten, Large Flying Fox, Sunda Slow Loris, Dusky Leaf Monkey, Long-tailed Macaque, White-handed Gibbon, Lesser Mouse Deer, Northern Red Muntjac, Sambar.

Koh Lanta

Sunda Colugo, Galeopterus variegatus

We spent 3 nights here in July 2017 at the wonderful Other Side Villas. Although I was too busy relaxing to mammal watch much, we saw Sunda Colugo, Sunda Loris, Common Treeshrew, Long-tailed Macaque, Malaysian Woodrat, Lesser Sheath-tailed Bat and Bicoloured Roundleaf Bat.

Loei

Indochinese Langur, Trachypithecus crepusculus

In July 2017 I visited a temple near town to see Indochinese Langurs, and also saw Greater Roundleaf Bats and Least Horseshoe Bats.

Mae Wong National Park

I was here in January 2004  and November 2007.  It is a nice park and pretty quiet too, with a long road that leads right down to the base of the mountain that is good for spotlighting. In January 2004 I saw Asian Red-cheeked Squirrel, Pallas’s Squirrel, Himalayan Striped Tree Squirrel, Bowers’ White-toothed Rat (huge!), South China White-bellied Rat, Malayan Porcupine, Yellow-throated Marten, Temminck’s Tailless Fruit Bat, Bengal Slow Loris and Northern Treeshrew. I returned for a night in November 2007 and saw another Slow Loris, my first Binturong, a Common Palm Civet and a couple of small flying squirrels one of which was probably a White-bellied (Temminck’s) Flying Squirrel. The temple at nearby Khao No is good for bats with both Long-winged Tomb Bats, Horsfield’s Myotis and Wrinkle-lipped Bats.

Pang Sida National Park

Bengal slow loris, Nycticebus bengalensis

In June 2003 I spent a couple of nights here. It is quieter than Khao Yai with some good mammals, especially Gaur. I saw Grey-bellied Squirrels, Finlayson’s Squirrel, Temminck’s Flying Squirrel (in the trees behind the restaurant), Malayan Porcupine (again behind the restaurant), Large Indian Civet, Asian Palm Civet, Leopard Cat, Lesser Dawn Bat, Wrinkle-lipped Freetail Bat, Bengal Slow Loris, Long-tailed Macaque, Northern Red Muntjac, Gaur.

Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary

Indochinese Langur, Trachypithecus crepusculus

In less than 24 hours here in July 2017 I saw Hog DeerSambar, Rhesus Macaques, a White-handed Gibbon, Grey-bellied Squirrel, Red Giant Flying Squirrel and – my target – an Indochinese (formerly Phayre’s) Langur.

Sakaerat Research Centre

Red Spiny Rat, Maxomys surifer.

A night in January 2004 produced Finlayson’s Squirrel, Indochinese Ground Squirrel, and I trapped a Red Spiny Rat (Maxomys surifer).

Sai Yok National Park,

Bumblee Bee Bat Cave, Sai Yok

I visited in January 2004  and saw some great bats in the caves here. Mammals included Grey-bellied Squirrel, Indochinese Ground Squirrel, Large Indian Civet, Bumble Bee Bat (at the time only known from here), Least Horseshoe Bat and Great Roundleaf Bat.

Community Reports

Thailand, 2024: Rob and Remy Jansen, 7 weeks & 48 species including Sun Bear, Serow and Hairy-footed Flying Squirrel.

Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai National Parks, October 2023: Jon Hall, 4 days & 25 species including Serow, Common Woolly Bat, Anderson’s Leaf-nosed Bat and Shamel’s Horseshoe Bat.

Thailand, December 2022: Ronald del Mol, 3.5 weeks and 35 species including Serow, Banteng, Eld’s Deer and Sun Bear.

Phu Khiao Wildlife Sanctuary, 2022: Nick Cox, 3 days & 10 species including Dhole and Indochinese Grey Langur.

Thailand, April 2019: Jono Dashper, 15 days, 24 species including Leopard CatBengal Slow Loris & Mainland Serow.

Khao Yai, 2019: Valentin Moser, 3 days & 18 species including Gaur and a Sun Bear.

Kaeng Krachan, 2018:Stuart Chapman, 3 days & 14 species including Gaur and a Sun Bear.

Thailand, 2018: Jeroen Verhoeff, 12 days & some nice species including Colugo, Dusky-leaf Monkeys and – almost – a Sun Bear.

Thailand, 2017: Mike Hoit, 2 weeks & many nice species including Stump-tailed Macaque, Fea’s Muntjac, Asiatic Black & Sun Bears, Brush-tailed Porcupine and a Serow.

Bankgkok, Kaeng Krachan, Phu Khieo and Koh Lanta, July 2017: Jon Hall, 9 days & 24 species including Eden’s Whale, Irrawaddy Dolphins and Phayre’s Langurs.

Baan Maka Nature Lodge (near Kaeng Krachan), 2017: Paul Carter’s report of 4 nights & 9 species including Dobson’s Horsehoe Bat and Lesser False Vampire Bats.

Thailand, Laos, Cambodia & Vietnam, 2016: Royle Safaris, 26 days & 50+ species including Large-toothed Ferret Badger, Northern and Southern Buff-cheeked Gibbons, Pygmy Loris, Fea’s Muntjak and Cat Ba Langur.

Hui Kha Kaeng, 2014: Coke Smith, 4 days & 20 species including Phayre’s Langur, (Black) Leopard and Eld’s Deer.

Bryde’s Whales in Thailand, 2014: Coke Smith’s report of a Bryde’s Whale watching tripout of Bangkok.

Sri Lanka & Thailand, 2014: Stefan Lithner, 1 week in Thailand & 25 species including Phayre’s and Teminck’s Flying Squirrel, Banteng, Chinese Goral and Eld’s Deer.

Thailand, 2014: Richard Webb, 1 week & 23 mammals including Asiatic Black Bear and Binturong.

Kaeng Krachan, 2014: Ben Schweinhart, several days & 17 species including Leopard and Brush-tailed Porcupine.

Thailand, 2013: Phil Telfer and Mark Bibby, 12 days & 43 species including Eld’s Deer, Banteng, Gaur, Fea’s Muntjac, Brush-tailed Porcupine and Irrawaddy Dolphin.

Southern Thailand & Laos, 2012: Hugh Buck, 1 week in Thailand and 11 mammals including a Leopard.

Thailand, 2011: Simon Feys, 3 weeks & 28 species including Dhole, Smooth Coated Otter, Crab-eating Mongoose and both Spectacled and Banded Langurs.

Thailand (Tenasserim), 2011: Coke Smith, 31 species including Tenasserim Langurs, Fea’s Muntjac and a Golden Cat.

Hala Bala, 2010: Jon Hall, 4 nights & 15 species Hairy-Nosed Otters and Clear-winged Wooly Bats.

South East Asia, 2010: Matt and Maureen Steer, 8 weeks & 31 species including Hairy-nosed Otters, Gaur and Pangolin (Thailand), Short-clawed Otters (Malaysia) and Smooth-coated Otters (Singapore).

Thailand and Cambodia, 2010: Stefan Lithner, 3 weeks & 39 species including Eld’s Deer, Asiatic Black Bear and Irrawaddy Dolphin.

Thailand, 2010: Richard Webb, 1 week & 23 species including an Asiatic Black Bear, Phayre’s Langurs, Pileated Gibbons, a Tiger (heard) and a Masked Palm Civet.

Hala Bala, 2008: Jon Hall, 4 nights & 21 species including Agile GibbonsSmall-clawed Otters and Naked Bats.

Thailand, December 2008: Coke Smith, 2 weeks & 17 species including a Southern Serow. See more photos and the report on his site too.

Thailand and Borneo, 2008: Coke Smith, 2 weeks & 34 species in Thailand including Banteng, a Pangolin and a Clouded Leopard. See more photos and the report on his site too.

Hui Kha Kaeng & Mae Wong, 2007: Jon Hall, 4 nights & 21 species including a Banteng and a Binturong.

Khao Yai, 2006: Jon Hall, 1 night and Pileated Gibbons.

Thailand, 2006: Richard Webb, 1 week & 22 mammals.

Southern Thailand, 2004: Jon Hall, 1 week & 30 mammals.

Thailand, 2001: Steve Anyon-Smith, 1 month & 30 mammals including a Banded Linsang.

Nepal and Thailand, 2000: Steve Anyon-Smith, 2 weeks & 19 mammals.

Nepal and Thailand, 1998: Steve Anyon-Smith, 2 weeks & 27 mammals.

Also See

Exploring Thailand’s Bats with Merlin Tuttle, April 2024

Latest news on the Sun Bears at Kaeng Krachan NP, January 2024

Thailand on a budget, Oct 2017

Thailand RFI (Kaeng Krachen and Hui Kha Kaeng), July 2017

Resources

Thai National Parks’ list of mammals has some useful information on Thailand’s mammals and locations too. And here is another list of the mammals of Thailand with pictures and useful information.

The Mammals of Thailand: Coke Smith’s photo library and notes covering the 110 (and rising) species he has observed in Thailand.

Francis, Charles M. 2008. A Field Guide to the Mammals of South East Asia. This is just a fabulous field guide and long overdue. The illustrations are brilliant, particularly for the bats. Indispensable for any trips to Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Unfortunately it does not cover Java and Sumatra, though his other (smaller) book does.

Lekagul, B. and McNeely, J. 1988. Mammals of Thailand. Darsnutha Press. Hard to get hold of outside Thailand, but available at the bigger bookshops in Bangkok this encyclopedia covers all the Thai mammals and is useful if you are interested in the smaller mammals in particular (other field guides cover the larger stuff, but even the squirrels in Thailand can be a challenge, given many have several – often quite different looking – subspecies). However, this isn’t as useful as Charles Francis’s book (above) and is now rather out of date.

 

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