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Night at Hengchun Peninsula

2021/04/22
Like the scenes in the movie “Night at the Museum,” shadows come from nowhere after people have left the place and the night deepens. The nocturnal animals and night-blooming plants of the Hengchun Peninsula become active at night. It’s a scene worth watching; it’s suggested that you put down your wine glass and explore the wonders (as long as you’re not scared of bugs!). We recommend three nocturnal wildlife-watching trails led by community guides. You can feel safe in the dark and keep your five senses sharp to participate in this party full of surprises. Also, it's possible for the tourists to return with great satisfaction after enjoying the spectacular sight of the stars in the clear sky.

nocturnal wildlife-watching trails led by community guides

The nocturnal wildlife-watching tour starts as the community guides leads the group to a deeper knowledge of the unique ecosystem and culture of the Hengchun Peninsula. Please get your gear ready, including a flashlight, hat, long pants, and shoes or boots that completely cover your feet; you’re reminded to carry drinking water. The aforementioned items are to ensure your safety. Please keep in mind that many things beyond your expectations can occur at night.

The first nocturnal wildlife-watching trail is in the Sheding Nature Park, and the experienced guides are from the Sheding Village; they’re volunteers who patrol this area to protect the ecosystem with its diversity of species. The local elders can not only introduce the names of species, but also lead you to observe unique animal behaviors. The nocturnal wildlife-watching tour is a discovery of surprises. This tour features the observation of insects, frogs, and butterflies. You’ll have the chance to observe the species endemic to Taiwan, such as Megacrania tsudai Shiraki and the golden pupa of the Heng-chun birdwing butterfly. In summer after the rainy season, you have the chance to see bioluminescent fungi, which usually hide under the ground in the bamboo forest. Before accumulating a great deal of knowledge about the fungi, the residents thought it was a kind of “ghost fire of the forest.”

nocturnal wildlife-watching trails led by community guides   nocturnal wildlife-watching trails led by community guides
 
The second nocturnal wildlife-watching trail is within Kenting National Forest Recreation Area. The tour led by guides from Shedin Village starts after the area is closed. The abundance of tropical plants, the diversity of the uplifted coral reefs, and a special flat land in the area make the place an isolated paradise at night without the impact of any human activity. The nocturnal animals, waiting for the proper moment for action, will come out from nowhere, one after another. You will have the chance to see a herd of Formosan Sika Deer searching for food, and find Spotted Cave Crickets or spiders inhabiting the uplifted coral reef. There’s a chance to see the insect transformation at night, such as the butterfly transformation or the deshell cicada, feeling the power of newborns in nature. On summer nights, you have the chance to see the firework-shaped aerial roots of Indian barringtonia and the blooming Small-leaved Barringtonia, making beautiful scenes and unforgettable memories.

nocturnal wildlife-watching trails led by community guides   nocturnal wildlife-watching trails led by community guides

The third nocturnal wildlife-watching trail is at the Gangkou River estuary. There are up to 50 species of Coenbita (land hermit crab) at the Hengchun Peninsula. Every year from June to October is the season they lay eggs on the seashore. People of the Gangkuo Community have been observing and protecting the habitats of crabs over many years; they collect shells to help the hermit crabs with a proper shell. Under the guidance of the commentators, you can observe nocturnal land crabs, such as Red flower crab, Cardisoma crissum, Horn-eyed Ghost Crab, and other land crab species. You will also have the chance to see how a hermit crab changes shells or how female crabs carry the mass of fertilized eggs to the seashore.

 

Sheding Village Ecotourism
Community telephone: 886-8-886-2720
Contact email: shirding1@yahoo.com.tw
Official website: https://shirding.uukt.com.tw/

Gangkou Community Ecotourism
Community telephone: 886-963-522-868
Contact email: gangkou0815@gmail.com
Official website: https://kko.uukt.com.tw/