Monday, August 19, 2013

Jumping Caterpillars

It has been a long time since we made any installments on this blog.  Ben went to Nepal so all work stopped out at the Forest.  It was a very unfortunate time to go as it was a lovely dry July and the rice farmers did not have enough rain to start planting.  Naturally as soon as he returned, the rains started and all his potential helpers were no longer available.  So instead he got to stay home with us which we all enjoyed.  Last week he went to the mountain and camped for two nights.  The river and mud hole outside the village were too much of an obstacle to traverse with a loaded pickup so he parked that in the village and hiked out.

With no tools and only one man he couldn’t do much work so he traipsed around the forest and had a fun time.  The forest is beautiful this time of year, everything so green and pretty.  I want him to write about it but who knows if he’ll get to it but he spotted two troops (??) of leaf monkeys – silver langurs.  He was able to watch them in the trees for quite a time.  The male and leader was most alarmed and annoyed.  Making loud grunting sounds.  They were way up in the trees and photo attempts were not successful.  He does have a recording of the males agitated scolding.  He also came across a herd (now that is the wrong word) of wild pigs.  They were running away luckily and there must not have been a very angry one there otherwise Ben would have had to run up a tree. 

Well, finally the weather cleared up properly and on Monday, he was able to actually drive the pickup out there loaded with all sorts of equipment and materials.  Today I believe he got another post up on the building.  The most interesting thing however was the spotting of these giant caterpillars.   He has about five workers out there with him.  He noticed them jumping away in fright at something.  On investigation, they had found a large caterpillar, about seven inches long the fatness of a thumb (maybe Ben’s thumb which is pretty large as thumbs go).  The workers were terrified of them.  Ben was told that they jump on you and that they can jump about a metre!   But when they tried to make them jump, they refused to perform.  They are the furry kind that usually sting so it wouldn’t be nice to have one jump on you out of the blue!  Being so big as a caterpillar, they must turn into a pretty big butterfly!  They found about three of four of them and they eat leaves from the Chleat tree so maybe he can keep them till they become chrysalises and see what they grow into.  They might just escape in the meantime. 

And that is the story of the jumping caterpillars.

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