Coolest wild animals I've seen here

A big green/black snake, about a meter long. (Today!)

A big earthworm, about 1/3 meter long. (Also today!)

Hawks or something. What are those things, birdwatchers?

White cranes along the river

Crabs in the mud along the river

Butterflies–lots of them lately

Black squirrels

Salamanders (is that what they are? Like snakes, but with legs? Green with black stripes? Kinda shiny-looking?)–lots of these lately too

Big spiders (half the size of my hand, yellow-black) hanging on webs

Uh, was this in your apartment?

My apartment is in the middle of the city and I have had:
Termites (infested the whole house so all wood had to be replaced)
Rats, mosquitoes, ants, cockroaches
Giant Spiders (All the time)
pigeons and tons of other birds
a feral cat
tons of geckos
I thought about just doing nothing and waiting until the ecosystem evolved until I had the chance to see a genuine Formosan Bear while drinking my coffee on the porch. Based on my apartment’s tendency to entropy, it probably would have only taken a couple of months or so.

I’d like to see those salamanders, snakes & worms. I haven’t seen a single snake here yet. My mate saw one the other day but by the time I looked, I only saw the undergrowth moving.

On the other hand, it’s fairly common to see spiders fully two hands or more across (including legs) in big webs strung out between the trees in the hills in Daken.

There’s some pretty crazy insect life. Every now & again I’ll see a new type of bizarre creature that Taiwanese people don’t remark on because they’re used to it.

One of my 1st-grade students is going glow-worm watching in Miaoli with her parents tomorrow. Despite strong hints from my boss & I, she refused to ask her Mum & Dad if I could go with them. Don’t blame her for not wanting teacher along.
Does anyone know where the prime glow-worm viewing areas are? I’m probably going up that way tomorrow anyway.

Those are lizards, skinks!

lots of weird insects. those red bugs that cluster together in clumps for one. stick bugs. leaf butterflies.

Screaming Jesus,

Glad to hear that you enjoy seeing the local wildlife. There are no green/black snakes in Taiwan. Give me a more accurate description and I will tell you what you saw.
Regarding “hawks,” there are several species of Sparrow Hawks. Despite having a guide book for birds, I have trouble identifying the bastards in the field because of distance and backlighting.

This site has some good links to information on snakes in Taiwan: … _links.htm

The “salamanders” were not ordinary lizards, they move like snakes with a wiggling “S” shape to their bodies. Their bodies are shiny–green with black stripes, and a snake-like head. Most are small–say, six or eight centimeters–but I saw a big fat one once that was about 1/4 meter long. If you want to see them, go to Nanshihjiao and walk in the hills WEST of the big statue. (Get off the MRT station, look at the highway. The big statue is on the other side of the highway. The highway cuts through hills to your left and the right. Aim for the hills to the right, then climb up them and go over the highway. Keep going for a couple of hours, and you should see lots of these things.)

Now the snake. I saw it around noon, sunning itself on the steps to Er Ken Shan (Second “Clod” Mountain, behind Monkey Mountain). It was at least a meter long, and thick too. Its body was all one color–probably black, but my color vision isn’t very reliable. I said “green/black” because it might have been tinted greenish black. It slithered away (down another flight of steps) very quickly. I ran to watch it, and caught a couple moment’s glimpse of it as it waited to figure out how to climb up off the sidewalk. Its head was rather thin compared to its body.

I went hiking with a friend near Daxi. We saw a fully grown Taiwan Beauty - AKA rat snake last Saturday. They are yellow with black diamonds and 2.5 meter long. The specimen in question blocked the road, but moved slowly away when finding out about the two foreigners looking at it.

I have seen green snakes, Russel’s Viper etc a few times while hiking.

Screaming Jesus,
The snake you saw was an Oriental rat snake.

We used to get giant whip scorpions walking along the floor of our living room many moons ago. (aka vinegaroons.)

Apparently they make fine ‘pets.’

Today in the mountains up at JiuFen, I saw the biggest “Daddy Long Legs” I’ve ever seen. We’ve got them in Oz, but this had a coloured body about as big as a $1 coin and enormously long legs. Overall I’d say 'twas as big as my hand.

Also heard some frogs this morning; had to explain to the girlfriend exactly what it was (said something like: “that sounded like a fart, but it wasn’t from me… must have been a frog”).

I’ve also seen squirrels at the little park on YongKang St in DaAn, but there were always plenty of cats prowling the area, too. Sadly, I haven’t seen any of the former for at least 6 months…


The Big Babou

Screaming Jesus, the “hawks” that you saw were probably “Crested Serpent Eagles”. Click on this linkto see a nice picture and hear the sound of them.

Here’s a picture of what they look like when looking up at them:

Thanks for the nice pic, Mark. I can’t really tell whether its the same kind. The ones I see all the time are brown. I once saw one REALLY close–I rounded a corner and there he was, sitting in a tree. Spread his wings and flew away, of course. I didn’t notice any special markings, but then, I was pretty caught up in the immediacy of the moment.

Hey Almas John, on another thread, somebody said you had tried to hike across Taiwan. Is that right? I’ve been fantasizing about doing that myself. Can you tell me how it’s done? Route, time, etc.

Screaming Jesus,
It stares out at you from any good map; Taiwan’s mountainous spine is the topographical equivalent of cleavage. From the first time I saw a decent map I had the idea of a long trek from north to south along Taiwan’s central ranges.
After a few years I finally got the finger out and started planning.
Come late summer I had all the equipment and maps, was in great shape, and had two months’ leave from work; basically I’d done everything except ween myself off the grog.
Unfortunately, the first day off was Sept 21, the year 1999. Just in case you weren’t here then, that was the day of the Big One. The earthquake screwed my plans for hiking.
I still think it would be a great trip but haven’t got any plans to do it in the near future.

Ive seen packs of wild monkeys while hiking in Yang-Min Shan before.

Hey Almas John, sorry you didn’t get to go.

I don’t have as good maps as you. For instance, from Taipei going south, which direction would you go? Which trails? (I’m assuming this part would be a trail.)

I read on another thread that there is a trail from Hsinchu county to Yushan/Alishan area (the old “Police Road”). Was this the route you were going to take? And then another route continues from there further south.

La New (the shoe store) sent a group of people to hike across Taiwan via the central ranges. I remember the contest (foreigners weren’t allowed to compete) but never heard what happened.


The problem with trails is that are generally west-east or just to and from a summit. My planned route (unfortunately, I no longer have the maps with me) was a combination of scores of hiking trails through national parks and forest reserves, sections of road, and some bushwhacking.

I saw most of the previously mentioned big and little buggers in my travels around my neighborhood/house here in Tainan, but the strangest wild animal I have seen was … wait for it … an older Taiwanese fellow transporting 5 children plus a supply of bagged cabbages and two poodles on a 50 cc scooter and actually being able to move at a good clip without anyone or anything falling off … does that count? Looked pretty wild to me, and given the amount of accidents on the roads, those cute poodles have got to be endangered … not to mention the people!


Can you remember any names at all? For instance, where would you have started from?

I may have to do this slowly–like, a few days at a time, over a period of several years–before I finally understand how this would work.