Swaggering around as one of the world’s 17 ‘megadiverse’ countries (we’re the ‘forever home’ of 20% of all species), Malaysia practically twerks with life. Our endemic and exotic menagerie of slithering, swinging and swooping residents include politicians, tapirs, binturongs, proboscis monkeys, hornbills, pangolins and orangutans. Sending all these fauna – and us humans – scrambling for the hills in terror are members of the family we’d rather be estranged from (they’re not exactly ready for Malaysia’s family album close-up) and they include the following natural atrocities:
Kinabalu Giant Red Leech
First screamed at after being spotted in 2014 by horrified researchers (who initially sprinted in the opposite direction while peeing their pants), Mimobdella Buettikoferi is a Godzilla-sized carnivorous leech gallivanting in and around Mount Kinabalu Park at an elevation of between 8,000 and 10,000 feet. Little researched and yet to be properly classified by scientists (they’re too chicken s**t!), this Malaysian mutation can grow up to 1.5 feet long and feeds exclusively on the equally-traumatizing Kinabalu Giant Earthworm, which exceeds the Kinabalu Giant Red Leech in length by half a foot (portion control isn’t big on its list of priorities).
Also cheerfully greeting unsuspecting human visitors to Mount Kinabalu Park is the cuddly, fuzzy and eminently huggable Phobaeticus Chani – the world’s longest insect (something the world could probably have lived without). Going by the glamorous stage name ‘Chan’s Megastick’, the well-endowed (but clearly overcompensating) arthropod was discovered in 2008, and only 6 specimens have ever been found (one struck it big when it was whisked away to London for a life of luxury at the Natural History Museum, where it’s still living large). Because of its chronic stage fright, little is known about Chan’s Megastick’s ecology and biology.
Malaysian Cherry Red Centipede
Ensuring your feet never touch the floor again is Scolopendra Subspinipes, which, happily, prances over every inch of Malaysian soil (we can’t single-out Sabah/Sarawak for this L’Oreal beauty). It isn’t enough that the Cherry Red Centipede is among the largest of its kind in the world (growing to 20cm and beyond) – nature also made it exceptionally aggressive and active, and it preys on anything it can overwhelm (‘damn, nature, you scary’!). Before you start making plans to flee to Canada, though, take heart in the fact that the Cherry Red Centipede’s venom is only moderately toxic to healthy adults – its playful love bite will simply lead to severe swelling, weakness and fever.
And now, the antidote…
Canine-didates for forever homes:
Adorableness is now up for adoption, hoomans. Leaving paw prints all over your heart is this doggie duo – all that remains of a litter almost wiped out in a traffic accident. Ready to smother you with ‘ruff’ and affection, these 12 week-olds are loving, playful and brimming with tail-wagging energy. The black one is female and instantly approachable; while her beige brother is a tad more reserved, but loves to romp around, once you get him going. Give them a ‘woof’ over their heads, and you’ll fill their days – and yours – with a lifetime of love.
Contact KL Pooch Rescue at 016 251 1468 for more information.