Khao Sok National Park kayaking trip report

Again, Khao Sok proves to be an area with amazing amounts of wildlife. We arrived on a hot afternoon and almost immediately set out to see what was stirring. At 3 PM, you're not supposed to see much animal movement. Well, a few gibbons didn't know that. Some Stump-tailed Macaques didn't realize that. Even hornbills weren't aware of it. In fact, we saw a record 4 species of hornbills in about a 15 minute period... no kiddin'! We saw a Great Hornbill, a pair of Wreathed Hornbills, a Helmeted Hornbill, and a small flock of Bushy-crested Hornbills. We were in heaven.

Elephant Ear plants.Dave's encounter with a baby wild pig

Wild pigs. Click to enlarge.We were doing kayak technique training in the cove in front of the bungalows when we noticed something swimming toward the bungalows. What's that? It looked a little like a monitor lizard's head, but it wasn't quite the same.

We paddled closer. It's a baby pig! I couldn't believe it. It must have gotten separated from its mother and in a panic decided to swim across the cove. Heading toward the bungalows, it would have rendezvoused with the bamboo that makes it all float. I doubt it would have been able to climb on the bamboo. Plus, there are two cats at the bungalows. I don't think the baby pig would fare too well with them.

So, I paddled beside it and picked it up. It let fly a blood-curdling scream that got the attention of everyone in the area. It soon calmed down.

It laid on my sprayskirt (the waterproof connection between the paddler and the boat) without moving. I kept one hand on it, not knowing what it would do if I didn't maintain contact with it. I gently stroked it furry little head. Its hair was very course. (furry and coarse are opposites but seemed to work in this instance).

Paddling with one hand, I finally reached the shore from where the pig started. As soon as it got in the water I could hear scurrying in the brush. Mom pig was waiting! They both dashed off into the brush.

In retrospect, it would have been nice to get a photo. None of us had our cameras as we were doing rescue training. The boats would be upside down during that time. Anyway, priority one was getting the baby pig back to its mom.

Ever wonder what a wild pig eats?

One of our guests (Christina) and I were stopped in a cove, just listening. There was something walking around in the vegetation back a little from the shoreline. Normally when we hear monkeys, they are rustling around in the trees. These were footsteps, slow and irregular like the animal was feeding as it moved along. After some time, Christina moved on to the next cove. I continued listening, figuring it to be a pig. We have seen them near the water's edge, eating small banana trees. Soon the pig, a big one, emerged. He put his forelegs on a medium sized banana tree and knocked it down. Then he began eating the pulp of the tree, ripping it apart. I watched from about 20 meters through my binoculars, then reached for the camera. I was just getting into position when the pig looked over at me. I raised the camera, he moved away. Sometimes we can photograph; sometimes we just watch.

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