Sunday, June 29, 2008

Daintree Night Walk

Rainforests have lots of nocturnal animals, so we went on a nocturnal guided walk to see them. Our guide, "Piggy," was an enthusiastic biologist type (we went with Cooper Creek Outfitters - no complaints). We found a bearded dragon type lizard, several tree frogs, a tortoise, a huge centipede, crickets, sleeping birds, toads, and a plethora of spiders. (The spider eyes shine like little dewdrops in the flashlight beam, which is creepy.) While I was hoping for nocturnal mammals, we didn't see much. We heard possums in the giant palms above us, and we saw a fruit bat, a large flying fox. We saw evidence of bush pigs, but no pigs unless you count the butt end of one we saw run across the road in front of the car one night.

The night walk was nice. Guided only by flashlight, walking in a rainforest and avoiding spiders is fun in a unique way. I've only done it in Australia and Madagascar. I love looking for the elusive upside down leaf tailed gecko, and even better finding the treasure, whatever it is, of some small night creature. There is a lot of life around you at all times. There were very ancient and very tall trees, palms, ferns, fern trees, vines, etc. as well as moss, mushrooms and a variety of interesting fungi.

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