Burma, or Myanmar, is one of the biggest countries in South East Asia. Its slow economic growth and insular, military rule have kept much of its natural environment pretty darned pristine. Logging and other horrors are now creeping up on the country as it slowly opens its doors under new democratic rule.
The flora and fauna of the region are amazing, and now that explorers and other animal lovers are allowed in with a little less restriction, many once undescribed animals are being found. The discovery of new species is hoped to be the impetus the new Burmese government needs to put the brakes on logging; and perhaps pay a bit more attention to the splendour of the beasts they share their country with.
Almost half of Burma is still forested, let’s hope that percentage doesn’t drop any further. Among the throngs of animals Burma boasts the following: tigers and leopards, rhinoceros, wild buffalo, wild boars, deer, antelope, elephants, gibbons, monkeys, flying foxes and tapirs. The abundance of birds is notable with over 800 species, including parrots, peafowl, pheasants, crows, herons, and paddybirds. Among the many reptile species in Burma you can find crocodiles, geckos, cobras, Burmese pythons, and turtles.
Here’s a few that I am a particular fan of:
Blue Eared Kingfisher
The Burmese python is one of the world’s top 5 snakes as far as size goes. They can stretch up to 12ft in length.
These mimics don’t sting or bite, they just rely on their copycat paint job to scare off would-be snackers.
Elephants have been known to roam Burma, but their numbers are hard to estimate. In the savannas of Africa you can see an elephant a literal mile off. But these jungle dwellers are a lot trickier to spot, despite their size.
The fishing cat is one of the rarest species of extant cat and are about twice the size of your domesticated version. Unlike many species of cat, they love a swim and are adept fishermen. Fishing cats are solitary and mostly nocturnal, so there’s little known about these luxurious moggies and they are very rarely seen by humans.
Green Billed Malkoha
These wonderful birds are a non-parasitic type of Asian cuckoo.
Green Tailed Sunbird
Gurney’s Pitta bird
Gurney’s pitta bird is one of the rarest birds in the world, but recent discoveries of populations in Burma give the perky little blighter a bit more hope.
Some Type of Hornbill
The shiny nature of jewel beetles isn’t down to any kind of pigmentation, it’s actually due to microscopic textures in their cuticle which selectively reflect specific frequencies of light in particular directions. In the same way CDs do.
Rufous Neck Hornbill
At well over a metre in length an adult Rufous Neck Hornbill is an impressive sight indeed. Due to loss of habitat they aren’t doing as well as they used to.
Sneezing Snub Nosed Monkey
The animal in the picture below isn’t actually the type that’s found in Burma, but it is a close cousin. The Burmese snub nosed monkey has not yet been photographed. The locals report that when it rains these monkeys huddle in groups with their heads between their knees sneezing. It seems that their inappropriately short nose is a bit of an evolutionary faux pas in such a warm wet country.
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