Rebak Marina, Langkawi, Malaysia

We Live at the Zoo!  Well, not really.  But if you wanted to see the same birds and animals we see, you would have to go to a zoo.  It’s all quite interesting.

Monkeys and hornbills and otters, oh my!

I don’t think I’ll ever stop being amazed at seeing monkeys walking along the path ahead of me or jumping around in the trees. Maybe it’s because it’s not something you would ever see growing up in New England; or maybe it’s because they are so human-like so you never quite know exactly what they might do.  I know we all think cats and dogs are part of the family and can behave in ways that amaze us; but they don’t “look like us.”



This monkey knew I wasn’t going to feed it or hurt it, so what was he wondering about?  The Red Sox maybe?


Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.


It is tempting to feed the monkeys but even I know not to do that.

Monkeys can be aggressive so you don’t want to train them to try to get food from humans. I walked this same path 30 minutes after this photo and there were about a dozen monkeys all across the path. I stamped my feet as I walked; swung my water bottle around in the air, clapped my hands; but they wouldn’t move out of the path. I had to walk down the embankment, past the group of monkeys, and then walk back up to the path. I don’t know what they would have done if I’d just kept walking along the path, but I didn’t want to take a chance of getting bitten.  Come to think of it, why should they be the ones to move out of the path?  Maybe I should have been the one to "give way" to be polite, rather than because I had no choice. 

Then there are the hornbills….


They are so different looking and their call is very distinct and easy to identify.

This is an Oriental Pied Hornbill or Anthracoceros albirostris. “Call a clattering laugh,” according to my bird book. They make a racket like seagulls but individuals remind me of a crying kitten or a sad mewing. These hornbills average about 68 cm, a little over 2 feet from the tip of its bill to the tip of its tail.  When they fly, they stick their head out way in front and it looks like their head is pulling them through the air rather than their wings pushing them. I find them very hard to ignore.


Sometimes they act as if they want to communicate and will wait patiently while I get my camera ready for a photo.


I kept hearing big splashes near our boat but never seeing actually what made them. I thought it might be a large monitor lizard. Our prior boat neighbor, a French speaking Swiss, tried to explain the splashes, but mentioned whiskers so I said, “catfish?” “No, not a fish!” “Comment s’appelle?” he asked his friend. “Otter,” was her answer and I was really surprised because I think of otters as cold water mammals (though I don’t know why, maybe their fur.) Finally, late one afternoon, I heard what sounded like a hornbill in distress. I went outside to see and our new boat neighbor said that the sound was “barking” otters!

There were about 5 of them swimming around the boats snacking on fish! They really were so cute. I eventually ran back inside to get my camera but never got any really good photos.


I think these are “hairy-nosed” otters.


You can sort of see the whiskers. And they do seem to stick out their tongue quite a bit.

Julia and Jim on Papillon are closest to the rock border around the marina where the otters retreat to (and disappear from) so get to see them the most. Julia saw an otter enjoying a fish breakfast. The otter was floating on its back holding the fish with its front paws while resting the fish on its stomach.

According to the Nature Guide to Langkawi that I borrowed from Kathy and Peter on Wave Runner, there are also Small Clawed Otters. I think I might have seen one the other morning. A splashing noise made me go outside and I saw something floating in the water off the bow of our boat. It was light brown, square shaped and hairy. I wasn’t even sure it was an animal, maybe a piece of wood or something? But then it totally changed directions and kind of disappeared so I think it might have been the back end of a small clawed otter

I also have no photos of the sea eagles or kites (similar to eagles) that soar over the water in the marina hunting for fish and are amazing to watch. And I haven’t seen the large monitor lizard either. Julia went out walking one morning and it was blocking her path. Either it didn’t hear her or just ignored her so she backed up, turned around and went the other way. There were lots of monitor lizards at Sebana Cove, so if I don’t see one here, I won’t feel deprived. There are tiny sunbirds, woodpeckers and the funny myna. There are birds that look like small herons or egrets but I’m just guessing because there are lots of other thing it could be. I wish the marina would compile a book about the wildlife of the island.

And there are lots of plants, too, though not so many as I saw at Sebana Cove. Walking around Sebana Cove was like walking through the Botanical Garden in Singapore.

There are butterflies and snakes. I have seen lots of butterflies, but no snakes and hope to keep it that way.

"But no elephants" though there are water buffalo on the mainland and someplace where you can possibly ride one. If our friend Carol were here I’d go do it. We’ll see.



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Ruth and Randal

Boston Red Sox hat travels the world.