Twilight does not exist in the tropics. In Scotland or Canada, the sun falls gently out of the sky and the land shines in golden half-light for an hour or more. But on the equator, there is no such patience. One moment there is light:
And then it collapses.
We’re headed out into the jungle by torchlight. It is the only way to glimpse Bako’s most mysterious creatures. You tread softly, on boardwalks overshadowed by darkening trees, and illuminated by beings of magical beauty.
Keeled pit vipers hunt birds and rodents high in the trees.
Other predators try their luck on the ground. There are fewer spiders here than I remember from the dry tropical forests of Mexico, but they still make for an impressive sight.
Some spiders surprise you with their girth. Others, with their colours – this is a long-jawed orb weaver.
Not everything is fully awake. Swiftlets rest on the rock face.
A stick insect of implausible proportions watch us pass.
High above, a whistle sounds – the branches shake, and a palm civet leaps from tree to tree with the agility of a lemur, far too fast to photograph.
The night continues, and the snakes continue their hunt.