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 Post subject: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China 2011
PostPosted: January 4th, 2012, 6:37 pm 
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Joined: February 6th, 2011, 9:09 pm
Posts: 464
Location: Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China
For my massive 2005-2009 Report see the link: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4352

Well, as some of you know, I am a self-confessed hoarder (of photos, nothing else!). In truth I haven't posted any of these yet because I wasn't able to find much this year. I mean, I found 23 species of snakes in total and untold numbers of frogs and several lizards species, but most of the serpents were DORs and their more fortunate counterparts were eluding me..

Until I met Kevin I would never have thought to photograph a dead animal, but he soon convinced me and I have been systematically mapping out what snakes I have in my region and where they are located to gain an overal better understanding of what I am searching for ever since. This has lead to some very exciting potential finds for the future.

The main goal of our short expedition in the summer was Ophiophagus hannah, which we failed to find. We were doomed from the start, as this snake is rare in most of its range, especially in China, and the region proved more remote and inaccessible than I had thought. We were also limited on time and supplies, so this will have to wait until a future expedition. Some qualified and known herpetologists from Hongkong found them on a survey of Huaping National Nature Reserve (the edge of which we herped until heavy rains forced us to turn back) ten years prior and the area is still the largest patch of primary rainforest in this part of China.

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The bulk of my time was spent in and around the collection of green (provincial level) and red (national level) nature reserves in the north-east of the autonomous region.

Well, enough of my mindless blabbering.. on to what I did find and all of the landscape and cultural shots to give you a glimpse of what my world looks like:

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My wife and I arrived in Guilin in early July and headed back to her hometown, about eight hours travel from there, almost immediately after. We were excited to be back, although the air quality had dropped significantly. Many areas of the city had been fixed up, though, as there was a lot of construction going on when we left two and a half years prior. It was already late when we arrived in Suiyi Village, Xincheng County, Laibin Prefecture, a Zhuang minority area.

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The next day my wife's parents got us out working early. "O, we haven't seen you for several years.. to the fields!" I didn't mind, though, as it was a good opportunity to survey the lands. The day before I had found a large shed snake skin, but hadn't thought to photograph or take it with me and show Kevin.

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My wife was content to work closer to home.

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Almost immediately after I left the house I spotted a tree full of these genus Nephila spiders. They get BIG. I have seen a variety of species here in the humid subtropics.

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These Fejervarya limnocharis were everywhere amongst the rice paddies and elsewhere. I didn't take too many photos of frogs because my camera had trouble focusing on the small ones.

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In the evening I borrowed her mum's electric scooter and somehow made it 30km and back over this large range of mountains with battery left to spare. The technology has improved. This small lake was quite serene. I should have stayed after dark, but until Kevin came I was more of a diurnal herper.

Upon our return to Guilin we found an apartment and moved in some of our old things and then it was time to buy a motorbike! I had sold my old one *cry* and decided to buy a used one, as I still don't have a drivers license and may try for a car in the future. I only had several days to get our apartment ready, find a job, and buy a motorcycle until Kevin arrived.

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As soon as I bought a motorcycle my Australian friend John and I were off on a short trip. To get out of the city we had to cross this long, narrow third world bridge (which I know you can't see too clearly in this photo), complete with a troll (old woman charging per vehicle and person). Several days later I decided to cross it with Kevin and with the added weight almost broke through the bridge and flew into the large river that runs through the city.

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We made our way to a large reservoir that was created by damming two rivers in a nature reserve and spotted this fisherman preparing his nets.

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After a short trek up one of the random roadside trails we decided to have a dip in a small stream where John almost stepped on a Pseudoxenodon bambusicola in 2008 (in February!). Then John was off and my wife and I got settled in and had internet installed just a day before Kevin's arrival. I was really looking forward to it, as no one had ever come to visit me in China - especially not a fellow enthusiast with a lot of experience.

Our photos of these five days may parallel, as I can't see 90% of the photos on Flickr and don't know what he has posted.

Almost immediately after he arrived and a quick lunch we set out. I asked him "Do you need a shower or a rest?" "No, where snake is?!" (or some approximation) was his answer, although he was interested in my wife's cooking.

I decided to take him past the reservoir into Qingshitan Provincial Nature Reserve, a mountainous area (as opposed to the famous Guilin karst peaks) with patches of subtropical broadleaf rainforest at higher elevations and semi-wild plantations of bamboo and banana plants and raging rivers and streams all around.

We decided to randomly turn into a small village and explore one of several trails leading away from it, up into the mountains, and found this gem:
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We soon dubbed it the paradise trail for its spectacular scenery, wildlife, and accessibility. At one point we thought that we had trekked several kilometres and were planning to head back to the motorbike I parked near the beginning of the trail and it turned out we were only twenty metres from it! We had been so busy photographing all the spiders, frogs, mantids, waterfalls, etc. that we had assumed a great distance had been traveled.

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Kevin, doing his thing.

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Me, looking serious..?? Note the huge tree cricket on my hook.

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These genus Rubus berries grew at higher elevations and were delicious. We found a large webbed hole near this particular patch, but it looked old. I have yet to find the larger Theraphosid spiders here in China, but plenty of other large carnivorous invertebrates.

The next morning we headed out to Huaping National Nature Reserve to start our main quest for the King Cobra. Kevin has already covered this bit well, so I'll just post my photos.

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It was handy to have Kevin's GPS to see how close we were to the reserve and what our elevation was. We stopped at about 1200 metres elevation and immediately found these:
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Amphiesma craspedogaster
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Bufo gargarizans

Then it started to pour and wee took shelter under this:
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We soon moved on after an interesting encounter with a local and headed down the other side of the mountain we had been navigating.

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This trail proved fruitful and we found these:
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Brachytarsophrys platyparietus

By now it was almost nightfall and after a niiice dinner we started to road cruise on the way back home and found some interesting DORs and Opisthotropis latouchii, perhaps the strangest snake I've seen.

After that whole motorcycle ordeal we started our next day and quickly found a nice-sized, bitey Sinonatrix percarinata, many juvenile Sphenomorphus indicus, and one larger, adult skink that Kevin was dissappointed we lost (Eumeces elegans or chinensis??):
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The last two days went by really quick and Kevin continued his journey south.
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Dinodon rufozonatum
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Near my home in Guilin city.


Last edited by MaartenSFS on April 30th, 2012, 3:01 am, edited 7 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China 2011
PostPosted: January 4th, 2012, 6:50 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 2:00 pm
Posts: 473
Location: Huntsville, AL
I really LOVE that first shot, but you should post some of the DORs you found and emailed - like the Sinomicrurus, Xenochrophis, Macropisthodon, Oligodon - you've had some cool DORs.

Oh, and the "Bufo melanostictus" - though the photo is of scenery, I think the photo you are thinking of is actually Bufo gargarizans. The one we found up in the mtns? Near the Amphiesma? That was gargarizans.

Post some of the DORs, or the Pseudoxenodon bambusicola. All of those pics are still valid


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 Post subject: Re: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China 2011
PostPosted: January 4th, 2012, 7:11 pm 
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Joined: February 6th, 2011, 9:09 pm
Posts: 464
Location: Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China
My journey was far from over, though. I live here!
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According to John I look like a "F*cking ninja"!
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Dinodon flavozonatum

More images of "the paradise trail":
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After bamboo had been harvested it looked less appealing, though bamboo grows quick enough to torture people with.

Often, we stop at villages and just relax and walk around for a bit. This particular one had some nice architecture and the children loved us:
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Especially the roofs can be ornate.
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The Pied Panner at work (inside joke)
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On the way back home we were treated to an amazing sunset and this dried missed opportunity:
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Sinomicrurus macclellandi
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Damn that rock! I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes and didn't notice it! Arghh!

After a month of unseasonally cold and rainy weather (during the best herping month =S ) I had several months of great daytime herping weather until the last week of November.

I spent a lot of time up in the mountains in October, but didn't find much:
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I lost my mini snake hook around here *cry*.

Perhaps the most exciting new trail was this one:
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The trail starts after you cross a small river on foot and pass this waterfall. Unfortunately I had to leave my bike in an obvious place. When I returned the front wheel lock was broken and I was lucky to not be stranded out there (had two more locks).
I had also taken an unintentional dip into this waterfall:
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With the front wheel lock broken it was difficult (and dangerous) to drive back and I had to drive slowly. Night fell and with my wet clothes on it was VERY cold.

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Mao'ershan, in the distance - the tallest mountain in South China (not including Yunnan).
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Protobothrops mucrosquamatus
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More roofs.
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Oligodon chinensis
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Interesting fruit. However, if you don't know what it is, don't eat it!
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Macropisthodon rudis! Was REALLY surprised this was not a viper - though it is venomous.


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My wife in Yangshuo. Try not to go there too often, but my wife doesn't like to rough it like I do.
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Did find this Xenochrophis piscator on the way back, though.

The last trip of the year was decided when we went on a night trip in search of mammals in Huaping nature reserve in late November and the weather forecast was completely wrong. The temperature plummetted when a heavy mist rolled in soon after dark and we were forced to abandon our destination and seek shelter on a roadside trail. It took us an hour to start a fire in the wet conditions and I didn't get a minute of sleep, as I was constantly searching for fire wood and was awoken twice by a MASSIVE stinging ant in my clothes and a football-sized toad in my face before reaching the minute mark.

After surviving the night we were treated to this AMAZING plant:
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We found it after passing a hunter with a homemade musket that did NOT want his photo taken. According to my wild edible plants professor it is the seed-bearing fruit of a ginger family plant.
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Tried to find out what was inside these things, but couldn't get it open without destroying it.
EDIT: My wife says that these are used to store the bones after the flesh and other tissues of a body have decomposed, so I am happy that I did not open it!
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One final look over the edge signalled the end of the year for herping. I was ill for three days after that cold, wet night. That decided it.

I hope that you have enjoyed this post. I had a great time getting it to you. Here's to an eventful 2012!


Last edited by MaartenSFS on January 5th, 2012, 8:52 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China 2011
PostPosted: January 4th, 2012, 7:17 pm 
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Joined: June 9th, 2010, 6:17 am
Posts: 350
Nice work Maarten! Thanks for posting.


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 Post subject: Re: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China 2011
PostPosted: January 4th, 2012, 7:17 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 2:00 pm
Posts: 473
Location: Huntsville, AL
wow, dude, some of those scenery shots in the 2nd post were amazing! gorgeous shots. Especially that one shot with the rock in it!! Granted it would be better without the rock, but still, a really AWESOME shot. Love it


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 Post subject: Re: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China 2011
PostPosted: January 4th, 2012, 7:18 pm 
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Joined: February 6th, 2011, 9:09 pm
Posts: 464
Location: Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China
Kevin Messenger wrote:
I really LOVE that first shot, but you should post some of the DORs you found and emailed - like the Sinomicrurus, Xenochrophis, Macropisthodon, Oligodon - you've had some cool DORs.

Oh, and the "Bufo melanostictus" - though the photo is of scenery, I think the photo you are thinking of is actually Bufo gargarizans. The one we found up in the mtns? Near the Amphiesma? That was gargarizans.

Post some of the DORs, or the Pseudoxenodon bambusicola. All of those pics are still valid


Damn, you are quick. I didn't get the second half up yet. Yes, you were right about the toad (that I meant to post the photo of!)

Alright, I'll add the photos of the snakes from 2008/2009.


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 Post subject: Re: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China 2011
PostPosted: January 4th, 2012, 7:24 pm 
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Joined: February 6th, 2011, 9:09 pm
Posts: 464
Location: Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China
Kevin Messenger wrote:
wow, dude, some of those scenery shots in the 2nd post were amazing! gorgeous shots. Especially that one shot with the rock in it!! Granted it would be better without the rock, but still, a really AWESOME shot. Love it


Thank you! Have I mentioned.. "Damn that rock!!!"???


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 Post subject: Re: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China 2011
PostPosted: January 4th, 2012, 7:40 pm 
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Joined: February 6th, 2011, 9:09 pm
Posts: 464
Location: Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China
See my first China post for the other herps. Can't find the direct links on Photobucket for some reason. Here is the link:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4352

Here is the complete snake list:

*Amphiesma craspedogaster
*Amphiesma optata
*Amphiesma stolata
*Cyclophiops major
*Dinodon flavozonatum
*Dinodon rufozonatum
*Elaphe carinata
*Elaphe porphyracea
*Elaphe taeniura
*Macropisthodon rudis
*Oligodon sp.
*Opisthotropis latouchii
*Pseudoxenodon bambusicola
*Sibynophis chinensis
*Sinonatrix percarinata
*Xenochrophis piscator
*Zaocys dhumnades

*Bungarus multicinctus
*Naja atra
*Sinomicrurus macclellandi

*Deinagkistrodon acutus
*Protobothrops mucrosquamatus
*Trimeresurus albolabris


Last edited by MaartenSFS on April 7th, 2012, 7:45 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China 2011
PostPosted: January 4th, 2012, 9:03 pm 
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Joined: February 6th, 2011, 9:09 pm
Posts: 464
Location: Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China
Warren wrote:
Nice work Maarten! Thanks for posting.


Thank you and you're welcome. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China 2011
PostPosted: January 5th, 2012, 7:03 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:37 pm
Posts: 1207
Location: Ft. Smith, Arkansas
Very nice, man.


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 Post subject: Re: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China 2011
PostPosted: January 5th, 2012, 7:53 am 
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Joined: February 6th, 2011, 9:09 pm
Posts: 464
Location: Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China
Thanks, mate. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China 2011
PostPosted: January 5th, 2012, 6:59 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 2815
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Wowzers. Just the way I like my posts: plants, animals, food, habitat, and the stories that connect them all. Very nice, Maarten, color me deeply impressed. You're sure living the dream ...

- That M. rudis is HUGE!!!!

- <obligatory nag 1>It's Prothobothrops mucrosquamatUS</obligatory nag 1>

- Whence the harsh contrast on some of the pix?

PS: Your wife is very pretty. You should tell her that more often :-)


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 Post subject: Re: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China 2011
PostPosted: January 5th, 2012, 8:59 pm 
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Joined: February 6th, 2011, 9:09 pm
Posts: 464
Location: Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China
I'm glad we are of the same mind in regards to posting. I'm living a day, but the reality is that I have no heating in my apartment and it's hovering just above zero degrees, I don't have a car and a motorcycle, while fun, can be a pain in the arse, I struggle to save money, and China is doing a fine job of destroying its environment. Still a lot to see, for sure. Looking back, It's been a ride. ;)

The M. rudis was huge!

Ah, yes. The ending has been ammended. Won't happen again. :crazyeyes:

The heavy contrast is due to the harsh light when I took the photos, me using a compact camera, and I need the full version of photoshoppe one of these days. :mrgreen: Some of the photos I've turned into "paintings" because they were so poor. :(

O, and I don't need to tell my wife that she's pretty. She reminds me herself all the time. :P


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 Post subject: Re: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China 2011
PostPosted: January 5th, 2012, 9:03 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
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Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
MaartenSFS wrote:
Looking back, It's been a ride. ;)

That's all that counts in the long run :-)

Quote:
O, and I don't need to tell my wife that she's pretty. She reminds me herself all the time. :P

Lucky you!


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 Post subject: Re: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China 2011
PostPosted: January 7th, 2012, 5:19 pm 
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Joined: February 6th, 2011, 9:09 pm
Posts: 464
Location: Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China
That is all that counts. In some ways I am blessed, definitely.. I'm still young, so I have time to work out the kinks in my life.

I finally got around to creating a record of all lizard species in South China and here are the ones I've found so far:

Eumeces chinensis
Eumeces elegans
Hemidactylus frenatus
Sphenomorphus indicus
Takydromus sexlineatus

Lizards are extremely difficult to find, it seems. There are at least 32 species in this province..

With my snakes and lizards lists now completed I have only to complete Anurans and I will be ready for what this year brings. I found heaps of frogs and toads last year - almost a different species each time. Guangxi has about 100 species. Snakes, 97. I have my work cut out.. Why do I have this feeling that I must catch them all??? :cry:


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 Post subject: Re: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China 2011
PostPosted: January 12th, 2012, 10:19 am 
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Joined: June 15th, 2010, 4:15 am
Posts: 48
Hey, Maarten! Nice photos!! Perhaps I'll find some time to head south and do some herping with you this year. You're welcome to visit me in Beijing to try my spots as well!
Scott


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 Post subject: Re: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China 2011
PostPosted: January 12th, 2012, 9:51 pm 
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Joined: February 6th, 2011, 9:09 pm
Posts: 464
Location: Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China
With my pregnant wife, I'll be lucky if I can get to Hainan this year. ;) Looks like a mostly local 12 months for me, but I'll make the most of it.

I also had someone ask me to go up to Shandong for some professional fights. I'd get paid, but I'm nowhere near professional level and need my arms and legs for other things (like herping). Martial arts was my original reason for coming, but now my off-season hobby since I discovered the amazing wildlife all around. I'm a naturalist first, then a martial artist.

I'm also afraid to go back to Beijing since last time (in late February 2009) I couldn't see more than several metres in front of me because of the pollution. :o Is it worth a trip? I'd of course be coming to visit you as well.

Either way, you are welcome here anytime. The guaranteed herping season starts around the first week of May and ends somewhere in October, though, if weather permits, it is possible to find something all year round, as I found that rather sluggish Pseudoxenodon in February 2009. It usually doesn't get below freezing.


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 Post subject: Re: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China 2011
PostPosted: January 14th, 2012, 5:32 pm 
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Joined: June 22nd, 2010, 9:48 pm
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Very cool post, love the scenery.

Although Hans has already said this...I'm a big fan of redundancy so....wow, that was a HUGE M. rudis!


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 Post subject: Re: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China 2011
PostPosted: January 15th, 2012, 7:00 am 
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Joined: June 11th, 2010, 5:06 am
Posts: 108
I really enjoyed this and the other China posts. Looking forward to more.

If you have any more photos of that Bufo gargarizans, I'd love to see them.


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 Post subject: Re: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China 2011
PostPosted: January 17th, 2012, 9:38 pm 
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Joined: February 6th, 2011, 9:09 pm
Posts: 464
Location: Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China
TNWJackson wrote:
Very cool post, love the scenery.

Although Hans has already said this...I'm a big fan of redundancy so....wow, that was a HUGE M. rudis!


Thank you. The most amazing thing about it was that I assumed that it was a good-sized Protobothrops mucrosquamatus untill Kevin corrected me. Look at the head on it - must have had huge fangs. Next time I will take a shot of the fangs. It certainly fooled me.


mfb wrote:
I really enjoyed this and the other China posts. Looking forward to more.

If you have any more photos of that Bufo gargarizans, I'd love to see them.


I'm glad you and others are enjoying the posts. China really is a fascinating country to explore. This year should be very interesting, so expect more.

Unfortunately I don't have any more photos of the toad, but I do have a story. One night at the end of November I was camping out near Huaping National Nature Reserve, when I was awoken by a large crash between me and the fire. I opened my eyes without moving and watched a rabbit-sized gargarizans hopping past my face. Hell, it could probably eat a rabbit. =P

The intersting thing is that gargarizans is not supposed to occur here. I've only got Bufo andrewsi, Bufo cryptotympanicus, and Bufo melanostictus on my list, though I have yet to compare the first two with gargarizans.


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