After three full days at the office PLUS overtime, I grabbed an opportunity to take a break and what better way to escape from all that work stress and the heat than to make my way up to the hills? Yes, to Genting Highlands, no less. And yes again, only two months since my last Genting holiday!
But this trip to Resorts World Genting was totally different than the previous ones. Many people associate Genting with gaming, its theme park or mega concerts. I admit I did too but this trip has made me see for myself how much Genting as a whole has evolved over the past few years.
The focus of our trip was its jungles; from exploring it, to bird watching and night herping. In this post, I write about our night herping at Awana Genting. So, what’s herping, you may ask. The word itself piqued my curiosity.
Herping is derived from the word ‘herpetofauna’, which are reptiles and amphibians. It is from the Greek word ‘herpien’ which means ‘to creep’. Herpetofauna is sometimes shortened to ‘herps’.
Herping, as you may have already guessed, is the act of looking for or observing herpetofauna. Scientists who study herpetofauna are herpetologists, while amateur observers have to live with the title of a ‘herper’.
Anyway, we had a very good herping guide in Steven Wong, who is the head coordinator of Malaysian Nature Society (Selangor Branch) Herpetofauna Special Interest Group. He gave us a short briefing before leading us to our playground that night: Awana Garden.
During our herping, Steven impressed me with his amazing eyesight. He said that the trick is to spot the eyes of the reptiles and amphibians using a torchlight. The art is to place the torch between our eyes or even on our nose so that the shine from the eyes of the reptile or amphibian is reflected to our eyes.
As soon as we stepped into the garden, Steven already gave the signal that a Twin-spotted Gecko (Gekko monarchus) had been spotted. It was drizzling but it didn’t damper his or our enthusiasm one bit.
In fact, that would be the most fruitful time, unless you want to stay up until 4am. We started at about 9.30pm and it is the earliest hour that one should start otherwise it is just time wasted.
In this post, I am sharing some photos of the reptiles and amphibians that we found that night. I have to say that most were spotted by Steven himself – besides being an awesome herper, he also proved himself to be a snake whisperer as he expertly handled two snakes: the venomous Siamese Pit Viper (Trimeresurus fucatus) and the Pink-headed Reed Snake (Calamaria schlegeli).
We were out for about 1.5 hours only and our herping was already this fruitful. Imagine, if we had stayed throughout the night, we would definitely have a more interesting night herping. Awana Garden is so rich in biodiversity that I believe, if we had the energy, time and patience, we would be able to spot way more reptiles and amphibians. Or at least, Steven would!
This short period of time herping had already made me more aware of the living beings in the forest. This doesn’t mean that I have never done night trekking before but a good guide certainly has made a difference on how I view the jungle, home to all sorts of animals, in many different shapes and sizes.
One really needs to look where he steps when it is pitch black. One wrong step could mean the death of a small amphibian and that would be really pitiful.
This special-interest herping activity is organised by Treks Nature Enterprise with Resorts World Genting. The price is RM250 per person. In my opinion, it is well worth the Ringgit for an educational activity like this. Plus, it is best to introduce kids to this aspect of nature even though it may not be suitable for ALL kids.
For further information or to make a reservation, contact Treks Nature Enterprise at +6010-401 5262 (Eddie Chan or Pat Ang) during regular office hours. Or log on to treks.events. The company’s official Facebook is Treks.
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