China post #45, DaLi village

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Kevin Messenger
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China post #45, DaLi village

Post by Kevin Messenger » October 9th, 2012, 11:04 pm

A link to the previous post, #44, Limushan prt 2: http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=13599

This next trip was going to be my last one due to my visa expiring. Because of the visa, I had to leave the country and then re-enter – or get it extended in a place like Guizhou or some other large city. This was somewhat confusing to me because in 2006, I had my visa extended in Shennongjia, and it took 2 days. If Shennongjia (population ~2,000) can do it, I don’t see how Haikou cannot do it. Oh well, whatever the case, I would be leaving on the 24th of July for Hong Kong, and due to the expense of flights I figured I might as well fly back to Beijing from Hong Kong instead of returning to Hainan for literally a day or two and then flying to Beijing (for the closing of the National Science Foundation’s EAPSI program).

So, as my last hope for finding my target species I asked if I could visit the type locality, DaLi village, on the edge of the DiaoLuoShan National Nature Reserve. Dr. Liang said I could, he had the same driver take us. Dr. Liang also said that if it turned out we could not stay in the town, we would head to the next closest town and stay there. Dr. Liang himself had never been to DaLi village (nor had the driver – he didn’t even know where it was).

15 July 2012 – the trip to DaLi village
We left Haikou, 2 undergrads joined me this time (Luo Rong-Song, from Yunnan Province, and Sun Meng-Si from Changsha in Hunan Province). They were interested in color change of frogs.

We had lunch at the same place when we left DiaoLuoShan earlier this year. It was our driver’s favorite place in the vicinity of DaioLuoShan, and it is very excellent, I don’t know why I never photographed food at this spot.

The road leading into DaLi was a small dirt road, with very little development along the way. The road looked like an excellent candidate for walking at night. Driving, it took us a good 1.5 hrs on this dirt road to reach the village.

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DaLi village was a very small town, just a small collection of homes and one school building. No hotel, no restaurants – it is much smaller than LiMuShan.

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(DaLi sits at the base of DiaoLuoShan, which is almost always cloudy and rainy, here are some clouds moving up to the summit of DiaoLuoShan)

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We talked with the director of the village (kind of like a mayor – THE head person of the village, what they say goes) to see if we could stay in the village and look for snakes.
(this is the director with her grandkid)
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(the directors place from the front)

The director said we could stay and sent someone to show us where we would be staying. We walked over to the local school building: a small building about the size of a small classroom. We were to sleep on the floor of the classroom.

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(my bed would be a grass mat and my towel)

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(the view from the door of our accommodation)

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(looking down the street into town, that’s our building on the left)

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(the volleyball court)

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(“downtown” DaLi)

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(the toilet)

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Another cloud view from behind our lodging

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I was completely fine with all of this of course, we pushed the main desk to one end of the room so we could throw down a grass mat that we would sleep on, but for the time being I wanted to walk the main road and explore my surroundings (as usual).

We found several DORs, a Pareas margaritophorus (snail eater), an unknown DOR, all I could tell is that it had keeled scales, then a DOR Enhydris plumbea. The road shoulder had Calotes and Mabuya lizards as well. We reached a small waterfall area where there was an old DOR Rhynchophis boulengeri (Rhino ratsnake!) – a species I REALLY wanted to see alive….

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Well it at least gave me hope that we could potentially turn one up in the coming days.

We turned back for dinner. Food was not so great here. I have come to figure out a general rule that seems to apply throughout China. Big cities = bad food, small cities = bad food, it is only in the middle ground where the food is excellent, places where they don’t get so many customers that all the food is mass produced and the cooks don’t really care what sort of quality is put into each dish, yet big enough for have access to plenty of groceries and diverse ingredients. ShenNongJia is the perfect example; it is big enough to have access to lots of groceries, but not so main stream that everything is mass produced without passion.

Dinner that night was some salty pork, a few veggies, and some purple rice:
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After dinner we set out for another road walk. The skies were dark and I was kind of worried about rain, so for the first time ever, I left my primary camera behind and just took the little point and shoot (something I would regret). We walked about 4 km south, not seeing too much except for frogs (and nothing new). When we reached the reservoir, I figured we should turn around. Our return hike was much more satisfying. I was walking along when I saw movement on the shoulder. I glanced down to see an orange snake periscoping, it had something in its mouth. It was a red phase Taiwan Kukri snake (Oligodon formosanus) trying to swallow a DOR Calotes lizard (due to the color of the snake, I had initially thought it was a Golden Kukri (Oligodon cinereus) – I’ve never heard of anyone seeing this color phase of the Taiwan kukri). I got some video of the behavior before catching the animal.



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Walking along some more I found another Taiwan Kukri (Oligodon formosanus). It seems here, in Hainan, the snakes don’t seem to move right at sunset or shortly after, but the vast majority waited for a couple of hours before moving.

Additionally, on the return hike I decided to look in the culverts that where spaced out every half mile or so. On the hike down, I only looked in the main drain, but on the return hike I figured I might as well take a peak. I remembered finding geckos and rattlesnakes out west (TX and AZ) by looking in these culverts (both during the day and at night). I drop down to the first tunnel and scan the ground, nothing.

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Out of the corner of my eye I see a large dark object along the upper right wall. My first thought was a bat. I shined my light on the object and it was a huge Goniurosaurus hainanensis gecko!!

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Aside from a monitor lizard, this was the lizard I wanted to find here on Hainan! These awesome geckos are very similar body size/ structure to Leopard geckos, they have claws instead of toe pads, and they aren’t super-fast like so many of the other gecko species here. Of course at the moment I didn’t know that, I thought the thing was going to dash out of sight almost immediately, so I drop on to my shoulder and dive for the animal, it was overkill, not necessary.

When we got to the next tunnel, I jumped down to have another look, and there was another gecko! Awesome. Then a third tunnel, dropped down, there was gecko #3! Ok, these guys were appearing way more common than I thought they’d be. We walk up on a small creek with huge boulders throughout the creek, there hanging upside down, just above the water was gecko #4!

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I didn’t both catching him, I mean we already had 3. I took some shots with my crappy point and shoot (again, regretting the fact that I brought it, especially since it never rained…). We continued on, we came up on another tunnel, this time there was a gecko just sitting out in the open, fully exposed. He was too easy, so I grabbed him.

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Five geckos for the night, not too bad
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The next observation was really awesome. On the hike down we saw a ditch filled with water with some Polypedates calling from it. I mentioned it would be a lot better later in the night. I thought I would help the students at least find some of the calling frogs, so I walked up to where a Microhyla was calling, and just instinct made me look up at the ferns overhanging the ditch – there on the fern was a sleeping juvenile snake. I pointed it out to the student next to me and started pulling out my point and shoot camera. My headlamp was low on batteries and at first glance all I was able to tell was that it was a non-venomous natracine. At a distance, the juvenile had a distinct “collar” around the neck – it looked very similar to a juvenile Rhabdophis nuchalis. “Holy sh*t, this might be a juvenile adleri!” I was thinking to myself. When I got my camera out and looked back at the snake, I saw another snake climbing the shrub that the natracine was on. “There’s two snakes” I told Sun Meng-Si. This no longer became a photo op and instead became a reaction scenario (if I wanted to catch both animals, which I did). The snake climbing the shrub was black and white banded…. From a distance it looked like a Lycodon subcinctus (a species of wolf snake). This was my first thought. I was also thinking that the two animals were just picking the same branch as a coincidence (pretty unlikely though). My second thought, which is more likely, is that the banded snake was hunting the other snake, but I didn’t really think of Lycodon as being ophiophagus (snake eating). There is another black and white banded snake in Hainan that is almost always ophiophagus: Bungarus multicinctus, the Many-banded krait, an extremely venomous species of snake. Depending on the source and route, the LD-50 (which isn’t necessarily the best estimate of toxicity, but it’s the only thing we got) of B. multicinctus puts it within the top 5 most toxic land snakes in the world).

I went for the easy capture first since I was still thinking it might be a juvenile adleri, but I didn’t have time to take in the moment and make sure (the only certainty was that it was non-venomous). I reached for the easy grab and as soon as I touched the snake, it dropped down to the ground below. I was unaware of where the black and white banded snake was at the moment. I was hoping he was still climbing the shrub and after I secured the natracine, I would then start on catching him. After the juvenile dropped to the ground, I obviously started looking for it – it froze under some grass, thinking it was hidden. I still didn’t have a clear picture of the ID in question. I could see a chunk of mid-body and just slammed my hand down on the grass where he was. He was pinned underneath. At this moment the black and white snake comes charging out of the shrubbery and heads toward my hand (where the natracine snake had fallen). It was as if he knew the snake had dropped to the ground – almost as if the juvenile snake was eluding him, but the banded snake “knew” of this behavior, and so it headed down to the vegetation to where the snake had fallen. There are snakes out there that exhibit this sort of behavior: cobras and other ophiophagus snakes. Of course, all of this was going through my head in seconds. “oh sh*t, maybe this isn’t a Lycodon” – the black and white banded snake was the size of a juvenile/ sub-adult but was patterned like an adult (no white collar around the head). As the banded snake came out, rushing toward my hand which had the juvenile natracine under it all of this information was kicking in, I grabbed the entire tussock of grass, natracine and all, and started focusing my efforts on how to catch the potential krait. As I removed the natracine and grass, the banded snake realized there was a predator present (me) and did a 180° turn and headed back into the dense brush. My instinct was to grab the tail and try to yank it out into the open so I could get an extra second to see it and/or deal with it, but I thought better of the situation, considering how extremely deadly kraits are, plus I already had one bad experience this year with a similar technique. When it comes to Hainan, there are 3 snakes that are black and white banded – one is easy to ID, Lycodon ruhstrati, the other two and not so easy to make a distinction between – Lycodon subcinctus (which is variable) and B. multicinctus – in short, if I ever got a chance to find a black and white banded snake out in the open I would be pinning it with my hook until I could see (or not see) the enlarged dorsal scales that are characteristic of Bungarus and NOT found on Lycodon, otherwise I would never dream of grabbing a black and white banded snake within the geographic region of where kraits occur.

So, in the end….. the black and white banded snake, which I now am pretty confident was a krait, escaped. The whole experience was kind of nerve racking, having that animal rush out toward my hand like that. I have seen how snakes in a feeding frenzy act, and I definitely don’t want to be on the receiving end of a feeding response bite from a krait.

Once I got back to my sleeping area, I pulled out the juvenile natracine, hoping for the endemic adleri…. Instead I get the super common, super banal Xenochropis piscator (Checkered keelback)…. Had I been able to ID it faster on the spot and hadn’t jumped the gun, I would have sat back and watched the krait stalk its prey, it would have been an extremely interesting sight to behold, but at the time I was thinking this might be my one and only adleri of the whole trip, after searching for 5 weeks and the fact that I only had 10 days left, I couldn’t risk letting the potential adleri succumbing to the krait and/or get away – hence my impatient reaction.

List of the herps seen that day/ night on the road:
Amolops hainanensis
Amolops torrentis
(call)
Bufo melanostictus
Fejervarya limnocharis
Kalophrynus interlineatus
Microhyla heymonsi
(call)
Occidozyga martensii
Philautus ocellatus
Polypedates megacephalum
Rana fragilis

Calotes versicolor
Hemidactylus sp.
Goniurosaurus hainanensis
Mabuya multifasciata

Pareas margaritophorus
x2
Enhydris plumbea
Xenochrophis piscator
Bungarus multicinctus
Rhynchophis boulengeri
Oligodon formosanus


Overall, based on this first night, I was quite excited to spend the next 5-6 days here at DaLi. My hopes for turning up an adleri were pretty high.

Ok, so the next thing to happen was quite interesting as well. Man, this was some day. The students were pretty hungry, so they bought some noodles and I asked for some beer – they came back with a case – I was quite happy with that.

Luo Rong-Song brought his laptop as well, we both broke out our laptops and I started entering data from the night, updating my Google Earth file, and downloading pics. Luo Rong-Song and Sun Meng-Si started watching a movie on his laptop. While the three of us were there, sitting in front of the huge table that we had pushed to the side, eating noodles, drinking beer, entering data, and watching movies, we hear an explosion behind us and we felt a light shower of debris (barely big enough to feel it, but definitely something, like little shards of glass or pebbles. I take off my head phones and we all look behind us, against the wall. I was thinking maybe the glass bottle with the ethanol was placed too close to the hot water heater or something like that.

We got up and started inspecting the room, we couldn’t figure it out. Finally I looked at the top of the window (the wall had two huge windows that went up almost to the ceiling, and up at the top of the window were two small holes. I pointed it out to the students, “what about this?” They came over and we all looked a little bit closer. “Those look like bullet holes….” The hole was smaller on the outside (the entry point) and larger on the inside (the exit point), which is just like a bullet as well.

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“That’s weird” we all kind of thought to ourselves. The door to our room/ school building was open, it was maybe 11:30pm or so. Well, if it was a gun, and someone was trying to shoot us, A) they had horrible aim, and B) they could have easily taken us out while we were just gawking at the holes standing right in front of the window trying to figure out what the holes were. It was obviously dark out, so there was no point in looking outside for anyone, so I just went back to working on my laptop. What else could I do, there was no protection in the room (due to the size of the window), the town was too small to have a police station, so I just went back to work.

A few minutes later some young kid (early 20’s maybe) comes peeking into the room. The students start talking to him and all he kept saying was “mei shi, mei shi…” [translation: it’s fine, it’s fine] they talked to him some more, he’d respond “mei shi…”. So I can only assume they said something about someone shooting at us and he was trying to tell us not to worry and that it’s fine. They invited him to sit and watch the movie with them and offered him a beer (I guess it’s probably a good idea to be friends with the locals than to be estranged). I continued entering data. I was kind of thinking this guy might be the guy that shot at us. I sent Dr. Liang a text, mentioning that we were just shot at. I eventually went to sleep – the new guy was still here, now playing Modern Warfare on the student’s laptop. My bedding that night was my towel – slept pretty well.

16 July 2012
So I asked the students about the guy that showed up last night. They told me that he was the one that shot at us. They said, that he said he was very poor and didn’t have a job. He thought that only one person was in the building and he thought that if he shot at the building he could scare the person into giving him some money…. So I guess it was good the intent wasn’t to kill, but it did mean that there was no way I would leave anything of value in the building while we were out in the field (which is a lot of camera gear and my laptop – all of which combined is way too heavy to lug around in 105 degree heat). So, in essence, we decided we should leave.

We left DaLi village today due to the unfortunate circumstances of last night. One jerk completely ruined the intended 5-6 day trip. It took forever to wait for a bus, which showed up at 1:30pm. We got dropped off at the closest town (BenHao) that had a hotel (which was 8km away from DaioLuo the town, which is at the base of the 3 roads) – this meant walking to survey the bottom half of the DaLi road, or walking to survey the Nanxi road, or bottom half of the Dialoushan road, we would need to walk 8km just to get to the starting point….

The view from our hotel in BenHao:
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After dinner we started the 8km walk toward the town of DiaoLuo.

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We were hoping we’d be able to hitch a ride at some point during the walk – which we did. During the walk, a truck pulled over and offered us a ride. On the ride in, the students were talking to the driver about something, once we got into the town (which is bright yellow):

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the guy drove us up to one of his friend’s places. He introduced us, the students talked with the local guy, lots of “mei shi”’s being thrown around – in the end, we now had a place to stay in town! The next day we’d leave the hotel in BenHao and move into this guy’s place. However, in the mean time we had a road to cruise/ walk. There are three main roads at DiaoLuo, the road that goes north to the DiaoLuoShan resort (remember, “shan” means mountain – so DiaoLuoShan could also be called “Mt. DiaoLuo”) on the west side, another road heading north to DaLi village on the east side, and then a 3rd road in the center, not far from the town itself. This road presently, leads nowhere, but back in 1999 there was a deer farm there. This center road is the road I was interested in tonight.

The night started off with a mock viper, then a DOR mock viper, then some Amolops torrentis and Amolops hainanensis, even though we were around 94m elevation (which I thought was too low).

We started the hike up the road that would lead to nowhere – the road was great, not too wide, and the shoulders were overgrown. Eventually it turned into gravel, rocks and dirt. For a while there I thought we would turn up at the “turn around spot” we got to that one time at DiaoLuoShan. For the hike, I brought the Hainan geckos (Goniurosaurus hainanensis) as I wanted to get some natural shots of them. The hike was quite steep and was a consistent incline. After a few hours, without much activity except for frogs, we decided to turn around. It seems like all of the activity always happens on the return trip. As we were heading back, I was looking for a nice green rock to place some of the Hainan geckos on. I finally found a rock, but some small vegetation was in the way, I started stepping on the stems to get them out of the way when a banded snake flushed from the area – “whoa! Well that’s nice.” It was a red and black banded snake, at first I thought Dinodon rufozonatum (red banded snake), a very widespread species, a species I have seen all the way up in Shennongjia, but this was not the case, it was actually Dinodon rosozonatum (the pink banded snake), a species that until recently, was endemic to Hainan Island (a population has been found in Vietnam).

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What made this animal even more pleasant, is that unlike every other Dinodon I have ever handled, this guy didn’t have the slightest inclination to bite, even when I was posing him for pictures. He was extremely mellow. I wonder if this species is just more calm than rufozonatum?

We bagged the animal and continued down the trail. The next find was another Oligodon formosanus – this species seems to be quite common in Hainan. We were getting very close to the end of the road when there was one last surprise – I saw a small black and white banded snake cross my path, I quickly pinned the snake with the handle of my hook and looked for the characteristic dorsal scales just to be sure. It was a newborn Many-banded Krait (Bungarus multicinctus), and this one was not going to be getting away.

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That was about it for the night. Not too bad, 2 mock vipers, a Dinodon rosozonatum (pretty stoked about that one), an Oligodon formosanus, and a many-banded krait.

17 July 2012
Before heading to DiaoLuo town we decided to get lunch in BenHao, which was great. I requested some hot peppers to add to my dish, they were the yellow peppers that we had at the DiaoLuoShan resort restaurant, some of the hottest peppers I have ever had in my life. I opened the jar, put some peppers on my dish and started eating, at some point in the meal I had an itch and scratched my cheek. That was a mistake. Now I knew how Cooper felt that one night at his party. My cheek started burning. I did my best to remember not to touch my eyes with that hand.

After lunch, we got some motorbike taxis and headed into DaioLuo town.

Tonight we walked the lower half of the DaLi road, we were about 1 mile (as the crow flies) short of where we made it to on the night of 15 July. It was very hot and lots of bugs at the beginning.

First snake of the night was a red phase Taiwan kukri scaling a rock wall. Not far from that I found some boulders, it seemed like a good habitat for some Hainan geckos, so I started scanning the rocks, and, without fail, there was one laying out on the one of the boulders.

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I turned on my GPS to get a coordinate, looked over to my right, and there was another gecko walking on the ground. Awesome. While I was taking this coordinate, the students yell over to me “I think this is a snake” – I walk over to where they were standing, there was a Taiwan kukri (Oligodon formosanus) stretched out along the shoulder.

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“We’ll just let him be, we already have one.” As I had mentioned, this species seems to be extremely common. I touched the snake to at least try to scare him away from the road, so he wouldn’t become roadkill.

We found 2 more geckos for the night (so total Hainan geckos = 9). We turned around at 9:40pm
On the return hike we found the exact same Taiwan kukri, still following the road shoulder, probably looking for geckos.

As we got close to the end I heard of bunch of frogs calling from a borrow pit that I was expecting to be full of life, but on the hike in it was quiet. Now it was booming, so I started my way down there. I found some Microhyla butleri and M. pulchra, then I finally stumbled across a new frog! – Rana taipehensis, a very petite and slender frog.

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I approached a decent sized puddle/ pond and immediately spotted two Enhydris plumbea, both far into the water. I took some shots and circled around for another angle, there was a 3rd, realizing the situation, I looked to my left and there was a 4th. The pond was loaded with them.
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(not sure how easy it is to see, but the bigger individual on the left has its tail anchored in a mud hole)

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I ended up finding 11 different individuals (probably more than that, but I risked replication after I made one pass around the pond), I also counted 4 different Xenochrophis piscator individuals.

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(I don’t recall whether or not I’ve commented on the absolutely horrible attitude this species has! Well its bad. Small juveniles, even young-of-the-year will draw blood because they are relentless. It is one of the few non-venomous snakes I’ll actually restrain behind the head)

The walk back into town of course didn’t yield much, until we were almost back into town and Luo Rong-Song yelled “yan jing she” (Cobra)! – I ran over to his side of the road and disappearing into the wall were the last few coils of a Chinese cobra… ugh.

The hole it disappeared into:
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The area we were at (but obviously these shots are daytime):
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(facing east, on the way out of town)

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(facing west, as if we were walking back into town, I put the hook where the cobra was spotted)

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The snake was much more banded than the Chinese cobras I saw in Hong Kong last year. I really wanted to photograph it. Oh well, slim chance we might be able to find it tomorrow.

18 July 2012
Originally we were going to take a taxi up to the top of DiaoLuoShan Resort and then walk all the way back down to DiaoLuo town, but we were unable to find a car that could take us up to the top.
So instead, we decided to do the DaLi road a bit, and then check out another road east of DaLi road.

I wanted to get some daytime shots of the pond that had all the Enhydris and Xenochrophis as well as see if there were any daytime species out and about. As soon as we hit the road, almost immediately we found another Mock viper (Psammodynastes pulverulentus) (another species that seems to be quite common in Hainan)

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And a Calotes versicolor
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Some habitat shots on the way there:
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Nothing was active at the pond.

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We hit the road/ trail east of the DaLi road, it ended up being a water conduit. Unfortunately the water conduits in Hainan are not like the conduits in Hong Kong…. They are not as large, and they don’t have the partition to allow for deeper water in one part and shallow water in another – so in essence, the whole thing is flooded nearly 24/7 with fast flowing water, this obviously in turn yields 0 snakes.

We didn’t see much on the hike. Our destination was a dam that was about 3.6 mi (5.8km) away. The only snake on the hike in was a sub-adult Taiwan kukri snake (Oligodon formosanus). On the return hike we found a small adult Dinodon rosozonatum (the pink banded snake). I picked up the small fellow to see if he was as mellow as the adult from the other night – not so much. He lashed into me plenty.

That was about it for the night. Originally, we were going to stay one more day/ night, but I felt like I needed to get back to Haikou. I needed at least 24 hrs to do some laundry and other things before heading out to E’Xianling with Kadoorie Farms. It was looking like I almost was having too little time to get things done and I was considering calling off that trip. I had to write an NSF report before the 23rd.

When we got back into town, one of the cops waved us over. He said there was a problem with my passport…. Oh my god, I cannot believe this. Work in Hainan has been very difficult. I have never had so many complications anywhere else in China. We walked back to where we were staying, I grabbed my passport, and we went back to the police station. I mentioned that they were probably using the wrong name, like at LiMuShan (at LiMuShan they were searching under the name Robert, Kevin – Robert being my middle name. When we came to the town of DiaoLuo a few days prior, I went and registered at the police station, so I didn’t know what the complication could be aside from using the wrong name. Sun Ming-Si was saying that they couldn’t find me in the system. When we returned with my passport, they asked if I had a visa. “Of course….” I flipped to the page with the visa. “oh oh oh, ok” and then the police officer motioned to one of the younger officers and told him that when he makes copies of passports he has to not only copy the main page (with my name and picture) but that he also needs to do the page with the visa and the stamp. So in short, when I registered, they just didn’t copy all of the correct pages. While we were waiting for the young cop to make the copies, the older officer was telling us of a story about a Taiwanese foreigner who was at the DaioLuoShan resort at the top of the mountain. He made motions like a net – it sounded like it was someone studying butterflies or insects. Well the person ended up hitting a power line with his net and fried himself. This little tidbit is relevant later on. The officer came back with the copies and we were on our way.

19 July 2012
Since our usual driver was busy elsewhere (he was scheduled to pick us up on 20 July), we had to take a combination of taxis and buses to get back to Haikou. It wasn’t terrible, we made it back to Haikou around 2 or 3pm.

I spent the rest of the day enjoying pineapples:
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Cheap beer:
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(one of the major benefits to China, the price of beer is extremely cheap. These are 600 mls/20 oz each. The two combined cost me $1…)

And then of course doing laundry in the sink, followed by drying it with the only dryer I knew of:
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21 July 2012
Dr. Liang came to visit me at my hotel today. I asked him about the details on why we had been kicked out of LiMuShan during the previous trip. He told me that now, local villages and towns are afraid of having foreigners in their towns – afraid of having something bad happen to them. Dr. Liang told me about the same story (with more clarity) that the police officer said, about the Taiwanese entomologists getting killed. It seems ever since then the local authorities would rather just not take the risk and so therefore they don’t want foreigners doing research. Obviously this is a very bad way to approach the situation, but that is the reasoning right now – liability. All of the hardships and troubles I have come across in Hainan have been non-existent in my three prior trips to China. Additionally, the herping here is nowhere near as productive as I was hoping. It has certainly been an experience, but I do not think I will be longing to return to Hainan (like I still long to return to Shennongjia).

Tonight the two girls from the 2nd trip to LiMuShan wanted to invite me out to dinner because they had a present for me:
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The present they made since I last saw them:
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(one made the pillow itself, the other did the design)

That is about it for the Hainan stuff. I head to Hong Kong the day after tomorrow, then Beijing to wrap up business with the EAPSI program, then I will head to Shennongjia for about 10 days – just to say hello and hopefully mention my intentions on doing work there all next summer (since Yang Jin is there and her English is excellent – I think with her help, some useful dialogue will take place).

A link to the next post, #46, HONG KONG (aka “the best herp trip ever”): http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=13833

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Re: China post #45, DaLi village

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » October 10th, 2012, 3:58 am

Amazingly awesome as always, Kevin. Red Taiwan Kukris? Pink Dinos? Red(dish) X. piscator? Very interesting indeed. I know all those (and others) from Taiwan, but it's amazing to see the different morphs on China's "other tropical island". X. piscator has a reputation for being bitey (although I once had one at home that I could safely take to my school talks), and is rumored to have an anticoagulant or two in its saliva. Did you bleed for long?

Also interesting to see the abundance of snakes. Guess Hainan is still light years away from Taiwan's developmental level....
A link to the next post, #46, HONG KONG (aka “the best herp trip ever”):
Huh? And do you have a link list of all your China posts somwhere?

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Kevin Messenger
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Re: China post #45, DaLi village

Post by Kevin Messenger » October 10th, 2012, 4:53 am

wow, a tame Xenochrophis?!? I would have been blown away. Yeah, Hainan was alright. I mean overall it was decent, just not for my target genus, Rhabdophis. I suppose if I only cared about frogs, I would have been pretty happy, and there was definitely a lot of diversity to be had, just all the problems were not much fun.
Hans wrote:Huh? And do you have a link list of all your China posts somwhere?
Each post is linked to the one previous to it (and to the next one after it, once it is created). So, once I make post #46 and put it up, I will then go back into this post and add the link. So, in essence, if you click on post #1:
http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... ?f=2&t=228
at the end of the writing, you will see a link that takes you to post #2. At the end of post #2, you will see a link that takes you to post #3, and so forth all the way to post #45.

I don't really have a website, so I don't have a collection of all of the links, if that is what you were talking about?

Hainan is a ways away from Taiwan both in development and in its snake numbers!! Aside from HK, Taiwan has some of the highest quantity herping I've ever experienced in Asia, and I was there during a slow spell apparently...

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Re: China post #45, DaLi village

Post by [email protected] » October 14th, 2012, 8:41 pm

You have an unbelievable eye, and talent, Kevin. Thanks for such awesome pics.

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Kevin Messenger
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Re: China post #45, DaLi village

Post by Kevin Messenger » October 16th, 2012, 5:05 am

thanks Robyn, the best is yet to come. The remaining posts include the king cobra, a trip to Taiwan, a trip to Thailand, a month and a half in HK, and then another trip to Shennongjia.... so much to do....

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