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Wildlife

I Went in a Rainforest and it Wasn’t That Interesting…

So I happened to find myself in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for a week.

This was the first time I’d been so near to the Equator. So I was itching to see some of that pristine rainforest that you see in so many brochures about Malaysia.

Man, was it a disappointment!

When I was in China and Hong Kong I marveled at the wonderful forests, populated almost exclusively by plants that we British cultivate as houseplants.

But the tropical rainforest – what a disappointment! After posting my photos on Facebook, my brother pointed out that the rainforest looked pretty much like the forests of our native Devon back home in England.

Is he right? Funnily enough I was having exactly the same thoughts as I wandered through the Malaysian “jungle”.

Here’s the evidence. First up, Malaysian rainforest:

Malaysian rainforest. Looks familiar?

Malaysian rainforest. Looks familiar?

By comparison, here’s some England forest, from my native home county of Devon:

A forest in my native Devon, England

A forest in my native Devon, England

I’ll admit though that the rainforest deserved its name. Although it didn’t rain while I was there, the humidity was ferocious. By the time I got back to the bus stop, I looked as if I’d taken a shower while wearing all my clothes.

Admittedly, the rainforest waterfall did impress:

Kanching falls, Malaysia. Well the rainforest may have disappointed but the falls were pretty spectacular...

Kanching falls, Malaysia. Well the rainforest may have disappointed but the falls were pretty spectacular…

But England’s forests have those as well:

A flowing stream in one of Devon's ancient forests...

A flowing stream in one of Devon’s ancient forests…

Rainforest Wildlife

So the flora disappointed – what of the fauna?

Again, big disappointment. The pool at the bottom of the waterfall didn’t contain a hippo, or a herd of mini Asian elephants or even a giraffe. Instead it was inhabited by a family of Indian tourists:

Indian tourists enjoying the leech infested rainforest pool...

Indian tourists enjoying the leech infested rainforest pool…

So wildlife was proving elusive.

Sure, the rainforest had monkeys, but they’d de-camped to the visitor centre car park. Apparently drinking Red Bull is more appealing than eating bugs:

Monkey playing with a can of Red Bull

Monkey playing with a can of Red Bull

After a lot of hunting, I did find a mammal living in the rainforest:

A kitten living in the Malaysian rainforest

A kitten living in the Malaysian rainforest

About the only major difference between English and Malaysian forests was in the size of the ants:

Massive rainforest ant - well over an inch in length!

Massive rainforest ant – well over an inch in length!

Yikes – what a monster!

I must admit that I had a great afternoon in he rainforest. As I went on a weekday, I pretty much had the place to myself. But would it have been worth flying 10,000 Km to see? Probably not!

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