Into the rainforests of Palawan
Rat-eating plants, a butterfly with the wings of a bird, a bat with the size of an eagle, squirrels and lizards that do fly… It seems that nothing is as it should be in Palawan forests.
Evolution created over time the most amazing creatures in the World’s oldest rainforests. It is not yet fully understood why, for example, animals as different as squirrels, lizards, frogs or snakes came up to develop the same ability to glide here and only here, while not in other rainforests of the planet. Nature seems to have just being mimicking herself once and again, by whimsically endowing the most humble creatures with such a wonderful gift. But the list of marvels is also comprised of some of the classic flying animals. Palawan is home to one of the largest bats on Earth, the Palawan Fruit Bat (Acerodon leucotis), and to more than 300 species of birds, many of which are endemic to the island. Invertebrates inhabiting these forests tend to be gigantic, favoured by moisture and the oxygen-rich atmosphere. There are giant millipedes, giant bees, giant beetles, giant cicadas, and giant stick and leaf insects, the latest exhibiting the most incredible camouflage adaptations.
One of the first things the naturalist may notice when venturing into Palawan is the lack of large mammals. The only ungulate native to the island is the endemic Palawan bearded pig (Sus ahoenobarbus) and the largest carnivore, more vegetarian than predator, the Bearcat or Binturong (Arctitis binturong). Bearcats are sometimes spotted during the day while resting in the canopy, in the domains of Palawan Hornbills (Anthracoceros marchei). Down in the forest floor dwell the Philippine Pangolin (Manis culionensis), Palawan Stink Badger (Mydaus marchei), and Philippine Porcupine (Hystrix pumila), all the three endemic to Palawan and the Calamian archipelago.