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Reptiles

Introduction Reptiles of Borneo

At the present, 288 species (158 snakes, 109 lizards, 19 turtles and two crocodiles) are recorded in the Island of Borneo. Reptiles are described as “exothermic” which means they regulate their body temperature by behavioral means: the consequence is that reptiles are constrained by the climate and the environment. They are unable to live where the average temperature is too low, equatorial islands cloaked in forest, like Borneo, are perfect. They are abundant, however is not easy to encounter; many species are nocturnal and some are also well camouflaged.

Turtles and Tortoises

Tortoise

Turtle

The waters of Borneo are renowned for their population of turtles and many offshore islands are extremely important breeding sites for marine turtles, thousand of individuals return annually to the sandy beaches of their birth to lay their own clutches of eggs. The most numerous is the Green Turtle which can weight up to 150 kg, less common and slightly smaller is the Hawksbill Turtle with a particularly beautiful shell. Sea Turtles are threatened by a variety of human activities, from hunting for their shell and flesh, to pollution of marine habitats and destruction of nesting beaches. Place to visit: Sipadan Island, Lankayan Island and Selingan Island.


Crocodiles

     

Two species of crocodiles occurs in Borneo, one from saltwater habitat “Estuarine Crocodile” and one from freshwaters “False Gharial”. Estuarine crocodile are found in coastal areas, especially with mangrove forests. Large-growing crocodiles measuring up to 4m are occasionally known to attack humans, although these monstrous reptiles are now very rare indeed as they have been hunted so mercilessly. False Gharial eats mostly fish and the habitat is restricted to remote part of Kalimantan and Sarawak. Place to visit: Kinabatangan River Sanctuary.



Monitors

     

Monitors are the largest of the living lizards; the biggest species found in Borneo is the Malay Water Monitor measuring 3 m. Inhabits a variety of habitats, ranging from river bank, mangrove swamps, and canals to dipterocarp forest and is frequently seen in urban setting. Other two smaller monitors are found on the island; the Rough-Necked Tree Monitor restricted to the lowland forest in Sarawak and Kalimantan and the Dumeril’s Monitor. Place to visit: Kinabatangan River Sanctuary

Snakes


Constricting Snake

The family of constricting snakes are represented in Borneo by two species of Pythons “ Bornean Short Python” and the world’s longest snake “Reticulated Python”. Reticulated Python can measure 10 m and occurs throughout the lowland forest. It is a nocturnal predators feeds on warm-blooded animals, large individuals are found at the water’s edge, where they lie in ambush for deer or pigs. There have been records of fatal attacks on humans, but these are extremely rare. The Bonean Short Python is smaller measuring no more than 2m and is endemic to Borneo.
Place to visit: Kinabatangan River Sanctuary

Venomous Snakes


The King Cobra is the largest and most dramatic snake on the Earth and it differs from all other species in showing a paired postoccipital. It feeds exclusively on other snakes and occasionally monitors lizards. Although it is not aggressive, it should be treated as very dangerous.
Place to visit: Danum Valley and Kinabatangan River Sanctuary

Pyhton

King Cobra

Pit Viper

Sea Snake


Pit Viper have the most specialized prey detection and sophisticated venom delivery mechanism of any snake. Wagler’s Pit Viper is a beautiful arboreal snake frequently sighted on low vegetation amongst foliage entirely motionless remaining in the same place for several days. The temperament is docile and rarely strike, but the venom is a potent haemotoxic, affecting the blood cells. It hunts during the night time small vertebrates, such as birds and rodents.

Place to visit: Danum Valley and Kinabatangan River Sanctuary.

Sea snakes are common in the warm waters of Borneo, easily differentiated from all other families; they have flattened paddle-like tails and short fangs. Feeding mainly on fish, they are extremely venomous, although they usually docile and non-aggressive.

Place to visit:: Pulau Tiga

 


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