Getting Buggy in Borneo

Are there bugs in Borneo? You bet!

They’re not really the scariest looking bugs though, in fact many of them are kind of cool looking, practically cute even. Well, except for the leeches, they’re pretty far from cute or cool…perhaps why I never bothered to get a picture of one.

I sense you’re doubting that some of the bugs of Borneo can be cute. Well, I already posted about visiting the Sepilok Orangutan Rehab Centre, which included an encounter with a very cute, but highly poisonous caterpillar. Then there was that strange, tree canopy bug that I posted about from my Treetop Skywalk post. Maybe that one isn’t so cute, but it’s definitely cool looking.

A Borneo bug

A red and black bug seen on the Silau Trail in Kanbalu Park in Bornoe


My favourite bug from Borneo has to be this red and black thing. The way it moved it had a friendly almost hypnotic motion to it, but you often hear that bright colours in nature mean danger, so I dared not touch this little guy, as cool as he looked.

Then there was the bad ass beetle that decided to hang out with us while we slept on the floor in a Iban Longhouse in Borneo. That so-close-to-bugs kind of creeped out a few people, but really, how much harm could a beetle do to you in your sleep? Just because it’s huge and has crazy looking pincher things…

Iban Longhouse Beetle

A badass beetle hanging out in my Iban Longhouse


I actually didn’t realize how many different bugs I came across in Borneo until after I came home. It wasn’t like they were everywhere, you did actually have to look for most of them, or when you did see them it was for a short time before they would fly away. So, don’t start thinking that Borneo is a buggy horror movie or something. It’s not like that, but it is a tropical island with plenty of forest, so – ya, there are bugs.

Some bugs in Borneo were similar to ones from home too. Like stick bugs! I saw so many stick bugs in Borneo, especially at Mulu National Park. Now I think it’s almost impossible to be scared of these, I mean they just look like sticks. It’s great camouflage and was a fun game to play walking along in the forest – try to spot the stick bug.

This one was one of the few I came across that was a bit out in the open instead of hiding under a tree leaf or blending into it’s stick and branch surroundings.

Stick bug

A stick bug in Gunung Mulu National Park


As for unknown, odd bugs, you see them in Borneo, often fleeting experiences as they fly by or zip away when you get too close. This odd red bug stood still long enough for a picture though. I’m not sure why so many bugs in Borneo seemed to have some kind of red colour to them, but it definitely makes them look cool…and this one has a bit of cuteness to it, right?

Little red bug

A little red bug in Borneo, seen in Mulu National Park


Now there was also a giant flying locust or something in our dorm room at the Mulu Park headquarters. For some time it was living on the wall near my bed and was about the size of a gecko, but with wings. You could hear it’s wings flap when it took off and landed -bzzzzzt. It was a bit on the creepy side, but still cool as I’d never seen a grasshopper-y, locust-y thing that big before even in the Caribbean or Africa.

Speaking of creepy, any bug post wouldn’t be complete without at least one kind of creepy bug photo right?

So, how about a millipede? But not a big black one or ugly brown one. No, how about a cool, skinny, long millipede that comes with awesome orange legs and a red/black stripey body? Oh ya, this one looks cool for sure, but I didn’t touch it either. Although, you do have to watch where you put your hands when walking around in the forests as the bugs and insects of Borneo do like to hang out on railings and board walks!

Millipede in Borneo

A millipede-like creepy bug in Borneo



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About Red Hunt

A former journalist and business analyst that now works in the world of travel marketing. Based in Toronto, Red Hunt has travelled to more than 40 countries over the past 10 years. You can follow Red on Twitter @redhunttravel.