Victor Valley College Tropical Acclimatization


East Sabah, Malaysian Borneo
Kinabatangan River

Map of East Sabah around Sandakan
(click to enlarge)

The second day was the Kinabatangan River journey, another tourist excursion to look for birds and primates but a good herper is always hoping for something scaly and serpentine.

The drive to the Kinabatangan River was largely through a landscape changed radically by the felling of the rainforest and its replacement with oil palm plantation for bio-fuel production, a not so gree alternative at source.

A landscape radically and possibly irreparable altered by the stablishment of oil palm plantations.


click on an image to enlarge
The team boat the boat, possibly with different objectives.
The base for Kinabatangan River trips.
Borneo riverine rainforest habitat.
Proboscis monkeys, Nasalis larvatus
Rhinoceros hornbill, Buceros rhinoceros
Plain pigmy squirrel, Exilisciurus exilis
Sign warning of the presence of a
Saltwater crocodile
, Crocodylus porosus,
a forestry worker being taken recently.


No herps were seen, although the crocodile sign was both a good and a bad sign for a group of people in a small boat.

The drive back to Sepilok was more eventful. We passed over a roadkilled snake and I managed to restrain my usual desire to have the coach driver stop so I could identify it. However, a live Borneo blood python (Python brietensteini) crawling across the highway, with trucks and buses thundering past every few minutes, was too much and I called for a halt so I could run back and capture it before it was runover.

click on an image to enlarge
Mark O'Shea with the Borneo blood python, Python brietensteini
Borneo blood python, Python brietensteini

The ungrateful python reacted agressively in the dark and delivered a bloody wound to my left arm which developed into an enormous haematoma, but it was worth the blood loss (they really are a well named species) to obtain this specimen for the group. It was subsequently released in the safety of forest behind the resort.

Back on the bus - this is what you get for rescuing a python from almost certain death.
My watch is the right away around even if it does not look like it.
VVC Expedition 2009 at Sepilok
L-R: Barbara Lester, Jester Caballos, Hinrich Kaiser, Mark O'Shea (with blood python), Paul Freed, Caitlin Sanchez, Margaret Andrews, Annie Suzio, Scott Heacox.
click to enlarge