Travel Features > National Park & The Great Outdoors > Bako National Park
Commonly Seen Wildlife at Bako National Park
One of Bako's great attractions is its abundant wildlife. The Park is well established, having been a protected area since 1957, so the animals have grown accustomed to visitors. Furthermore, you do not have to go deep in the forest for a wildlife encounter. Telok Assam, the area around the HQ, is one of the best places in the park for a viewing a range of species.
The following paragraphs provide brief details of some of the animals commonly seen at Bako and where they are often found.
These highly intelligent monkeys are a delight to watch, and always mischievous. They live on the edge of the forest and congregate in large troops which roam the areas around the resthouses searching for food. When the tide is out they can be seen combing the mud-flats around the mangroves at Telok Assam. They are also quite common on the Telok Paku trail. Macaques normally eat ripe fruits, insects, frog's eggs and crabs although at Bako they are quite partial to stealing food from visitors. Bako's macaques are fearless creatures and possibly the bravest monkeys on earth. They often launch dawn raids, sprinting into the canteen area and stealing unguarded food.
The silver-leaf monkey or silvered langur is a rather attractive creature. Adults have metallic grey fur and a crest of spiky head hair, whilst the infants are covered in bright orange fur until they are 3-5 months old when their fur turns grey. Silver-leaf monkeys live in troops of 10 to 40 and are found in coastal, riverine and swamp forests where they feed on a diet of fruit, leaves and the plant shoots, including those of some species of mangrove. At Bako, they are often seen at Telok Assam. They are somewhat shy, peaceful creatures and are far better behaved than their neighbours the macaques.
The kite-shaped flying lemur is usually mottled grey in colour but some are reddish brown. A gliding membrane links the front and rear legs and tail. Flying Lemurs are nocturnal creatures but can sometimes be seen gliding between trees in the early hours of the morning or late in the afternoon. When sleeping during the day a flying lemur clings to the side of a tree with its camouflage of mottled grey fur blending in with the greys, browns and blacks of the tree trunk. Flying Lemurs are commonly found around the resthouses and hostel block at the Park HQ. However, their camouflage can make identification somewhat difficult.
Common Plantain Squirrel
Plantain squirrels are found all over Bako. Their upper bodies
are brown with grey and black side-stripes whilst their underside
is a reddish colour. A number of them live in the beach vegetation
at Telok Assam and in the forest behind the resthouses. They are
often seen feeding on fruits and insects in the trees and bushes
that line the shore near the park HQ.
Common Water Monitor Lizard
Adult water monitors are olive green in colour and can reach a length of 2 metres. In contrast, young monitors are green with yellow spots which makes them somewhat easier to see as they stroll amongst the vegetation at the side of the footpaths and trails. Water monitors are excellent swimmers and can stay submerged in water for a long periods of time. They are scavengers and generally feed on carrion or occasionally live prey. At Bako they are often seen catching fish amongst the mangroves at Telok Assam and scavenging for scraps of food near the park HQ. Their tracks are often spotted at many of the park's beaches.
Bako is home to a number of lizards. The most commonly seen is the Skink or Sun Lizard. This small, brown and grey coloured lizard is frequently seen basking on rocks at the beach or scurrying through the leaves that litter the forest-floor. In contrast to the somewhat dull looking Skink, the Green Crested Lizard is a most attractive reptile. It is usually bright green but is capable of changing colour. If you approach one and it becomes frightened its colour rapidly darkens. Green Crested Lizards are comm Color on throughout Bako and are often seen at the side of the paths at the Park HQ. Flying Lizards are also found at Bako and are occasionally seen glided through the air as they make their way from tree to tree. Another lizard that you are sure to see is the House Gecko. These acrobatic creatures are seen everywhere, and congregate around lights where they hang upside down waiting to pounce on their insect prey.
A number of snakes are found at Bako but their camouflaged skins make casual observation somewhat difficult. You have to be quite lucky to see a snake at Bako, and if you do spot one they often slither off into the undergrowth. Most of Bako's snakes are harmless; the only poisonous snake you might encounter is the Wagler's Pit Viper. It has a broad, flat, triangular head and hangs from trees waiting for its prey. Grass Green Whip Snakes and Paradise Tree Snakes are occasionally seen at the park HQ. The former is easily recognised by its bright colour, pencil-thin body and long snout whilst the latter has a black upper body marked with green spots and an underside that is yellowy-green with red spots.
Bako is a great place for bird watching whether you are a serious bird watcher or a curious nature lover. Over 150 species of birds have been recorded at Bako. Although many birds can be seen along the shore vegetation at Telok Assam and around the resthouses, you will need to take to the park's trail system to appreciate the full variety of Bako's birds. An ideal place to start is one of the wooden shelters located above the mangroves near the boat jetty. Species that are commonly found near the park HQ, and around the mangroves at Telok Assam, include brahminy kites, pink-necked pigeons, white collared kingfishers, pied tillers, magpie robins, common ioras, bulbuls and racket-tailed drongos. White-bellied sea eagles are often seen soaring above the sky near Telok Pandan Kecil. Keen bird watchers should take a pair of binoculars and a copy of the "Pocket Guide to the Birds of Borneo". This superb field guide (widely available in Kuching) is an ideal companion for a trip to Bako.