Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Temburong: Belalong's Ashton Trail - Insects

All throughout the hike, I stared vigilantly at the ground from time to time. The guide has warned us of leeches and no amount of insect repellent could assure me of a "leech-biteless" hike. I finally saw one among some dried leaves, reaching out to me with its finger-like body. Like a radar, honed in to my body heat, its body arched according to the direction of my movement as I walked over it.

The fear of leeches came from many years back, 14 years exactly, when a friend got a leech bite at the KK National Park in Sabah. Unexpectedly, he started hopping and crying out in pain. He was this six-foot tall guy, so seeing him crying in pain in such a manner was almost impossible. Panic-stricken and still hopping, he took off his shoe followed by the sock of painful foot. There, a black string of a leech had attached itself to him. How it got into his shoe remains a mystery, a terrifying one to me! I saw the leech being pulled out from him. In the next few minutes, I saw two other friends having the same predicament and pulling leeches out too! Gah, leeches are just scary to me! *cringe*

One interesting thing I've learned about leeches is that they do not bite immediately when they attached themselves on you. Instead, they would search for your veins to draw blood from. Watching a leech crawled along the guide's finger, I thought it almost look adorable. It sent us all laughing when the guide took the leech from his finger with his other hand, rolled it into a ball and hurled it into the jungle.

Indeed the Brunei Temburong jungle is rich with wildlife. We could hear the call of a hornbill flying across and at another time, a great argus pheasant.

Below are some pictures of the friends of the forest we met along the way.

Bee hive

Dead ant nest or bee hive. I thought it was fungus but I was told otherwise.

Giant millipede

Leech on the guide's finger searching for blood veins

Giant servant ant

Two giant soldier ants (characterised by their big heads) and a blurry servant ant

A grub that builds an embodied nest by sticking leaves around its bodies

A blocked highway (thanks to the mischief of a colleague) with termites trying to cross

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