Currently travel to and from Phuket is restricted so with not being able to leave the island, I have been trying to make the most of what I can do here. This mostly involves some evening hikes in various parts of Phuket. Some very steep and others more leisurely strolls. During two such outings this weekend I have seen a couple of interesting species, including some quite rare for the island.
On Friday a steep walk in the centre of the island to one of the highest points produced my first ever Phuket sighting of a Lesser mouse deer (Tragulus kanchil). These mammals are rare on the island where hunting is not regulated and habitat destruction is seemingly endless. On the same walk I saw the same two individuals of Wagler’s pit vipers (Tropidolaemus wagleri) as I saw last weekend. One of them had managed to have a feed, an indication that its choice to sit facing the figs on a fig tree had worked! In addition, the omnipresent Asian vine snakes (Ahaetulla prasina) were seen as usual. In the valley near a small brook I could hear several Phuket stream toads (Ansonia phuketensis) calling around dusk. I didn’t clamber down to try and find them as they are so tiny and tricky to spot.
Saturday evening was a more leisurely stroll, in part due to the fact that the rain clouds were around. Hiking in steep places can be hazardous during heavy rain. Several times I have been caught out and had to descend hills on my backside! The highlight of this evening was a 1.5 metre Mangrove cat snake (Boiga dendrophila) which was moving around on the ground during some light rain. This was only the third individual I have seen on Phuket, compared to many on the nearby mainland.
Another highlight was seeing the largest frog I have ever encountered! A gigantic female Asian bullfrog/edible frog (Hoplobatrachus rugulosus) sitting on the road in the rain. I wish I was able to get a photo of myself next to it for some kind of scale.
With a curfew of 10pm in place at the moment I only spent a relatively short time out and about and soon went home.